Friday, December 01, 2006

A Trip Within the Beltway

The situations at the two ends of the Pennsylvania Avenue Sousa Bridge reflect a policy of not completing a continuous Washington, D.C. grade separated highway system.

Traffic is diverted into less affluent areas to the east of the Anacostia River.

The direct connection between the SE and Anacostia Freeways was not included because the freeway system design anticipated this traffic using freeway segments that were planned but canceled with vague assurances that WMATA rail meant that highways were somehow not needed, but little consideration of the effects.

Maryland would add a major ramp near the truncation of the planned I-95 roadways to take I-95 onto the Capitol Beltway, and Virginia would take decades before replacing the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and the Springfield Interchange, with DC yet to add a set of ramps connecting the 11th Street Bridge with the antiquated and still unreconstructed Anacostia Freeway to and from the east, and of completing I-395 only as far north to dump all of its traffic on surface New York Avenue in a largely Afro-American neighborhood between New Jersey Avenue NW and North Capitol Street.

This situation also increases traffic on the northern portion of the Capital Beltway, with its inferior geometry resulting from its routing directly along Rock Creek to avoid houses in northern Bethesda.

This situation is further aggravated by the failure to provide a grade separated roadway along the Wisconsin Avenue corridor in Bethesda.

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