Monday, August 11, 2008

Washington Gateway Chock

New Demolition Special to Complicate I-395 Tunnel Extension; builds upon remaining sliver of land adjacent to New York Avenue, forcing tunnel directly beneath existing Avenue as it rises to overpass railroad

Number "17"

Project is in immediate need of cancellation, for blocking the remaining sliver of land allowing construction of the I-395 tunnel extension alongside New York Avenue - particularly along the highly useful O Street axis.

Project chocks the I-395 extension whether to the (eastern) New York Avenue corridor or the (northern) B&O corridor.

Project also conflicts with lowering the B&O railroad and the idea of covering said railroad as done via the Grand Arc.

Project testifies to the sheer incompetence of D.C. planning and the degree the authorities are beholden to medievalists that would chock publicly valuable evacuation route, disregarding civil defense (while nonetheless embracing 1984-esque domestic surveillance).

Is scheduled to start construction autumn 2008.

I-395 Tunnel Extension Superior Option

MRP Reality
MRP Reality- Washington 'Gateway' Project


Unknown said...

I understand your love of highways. However, this building will be a good thing. It will increase density, making walking more convenient.

If you build that highway (in addition to wasting many billions that could go to a new Blue Line) you will start to reverse what has now been a decade of increasing walkability and urbanism in our region. Washington had its choice back in '60s and '70s about whether they wanted to be denser and more urban or continue the descent into a traffic hell with an abandoned center city. They made that choice and rejected the freeways and built the Metro.

The beast was built. It's time to make it bigger. Also, that gasoline isn't getting any cheaper. We need more infrastructure that moves people around and does not involve gasoline. That land isn't getting any more plentiful. we need more infrastructure that does not require parking on scarce land.

Thankfully, it's also just a much nicer place when people can walk rather than getting killed walking on the shoulder of a road that's too wide and has nowhere to walk. (referring to this article in today's Post:

Douglas Andrew Willinger said...

There is no direct conflict.

Place the buildings on a platform.

Why do you insist upon cramming more density without parallel road capacity to make the existing road more pedestrian friendly?

Why do you make generalized anti highway statement with zero thought to routing/design etc. Perhaps it's because any anti highway ideologue employs zero thought!

BTW- DC was to have BOTH Metro and highways.

But idiots were led to believe that we could only have one or the other- as a great distraction from the bloat of the pentagon/pentagram.

Douglas Andrew Willinger said...

My remarks pertain to New Hampshire Avenue.

That new thing next to New York Avenue is a total boondoggle. It chocks the NY Avenue corridor forcing the I-395 directly beneath NY Avenue (inferior- less safe geometry and more disruptive to traffic to build), whether for a NY Avenue or a B&O route highway (unless the foolishly placed Fed Ex building is demolished).

Crap development as this arguable deserves 10 cent on the dollar compensation under eminent domain as their placement is contempt.

Amazing that such crap gets approved with all of the lip service about 911 and the need for evacuation routes- with the idiot government acting only upon the behalf of medievalists.

Douglas Andrew Willinger said...

Also understand that highways save lots of time for lots of people.

Please pull your new medievalist head out of your ass!

Unknown said...

I suppose I'll accept the label of anti-highway idealogue.

I've only gotten this recently though, trust me. I admit I'm biased and love the Metro and love walking in an urban environment. I grew up as an only child in a subdivision and just felt really stuck and lonely and bored. Consequently, I have a large bias against auto-dependent conditions.

How I got into posting anti-highway comments on a highway blog... I still can't figure that one out. I'll stop commenting. I don't want to be a troll and I'm sorry if my posts have come off that way.

Douglas Andrew Willinger said...

You are welcome to post on my blog.

BTW I happen to share your other likes.

I do not see how liking walking etc should make one anti highway, especially when the devils are with the details.

Speaking of which how is it pri walking friendly to place developments as Washington Gateway [Chock]at a junction of such major traffic arteries WITHOUT constructing a parallel facility for the heavy traffic?

Both the NY and NH Ave areas would be far more pedestrian friendly with paralleling below ground highways; being strictly anti highway means placing ALL of the vehicular traffic on the surface streets.

And being pro highway hardly means accepting any highway design/routing. Just look at that travesty of a 1963-64 North Central Freeway study which appears to have been designed to politically undermine support for JFK's still much needed B&O Route NCF.

As an example of my work at better design, please check out my "Alexandria Orb" at on this blog (see labels Alexandria Orb and helical interchange), and contemplate the behavior of the Alexandria City government and entities as the Sierra Club which says it supports rail (I do), but which said nothing about how the official design for the Beltway/Route 1 interchange precludes such.

Also, check out my superior option for the I-395 tunnel extension which the Washington Gateway Chocks- unless we tear down the Fed Ex building -- and which anyway blocks the Grand Arc.

By going with this simplistic anti highway ideology (regardless of design) one falls into the trap of having the surface streets as the "highways" and the rail as divisive elevated stuff as the red Line in NE- all of which undermines walk ability.

BTW- do you have a blog? Your profile is hidden.

retracsemaj said...


Unknown said...

no, I don't have a blog. I read all the urbanism/infrastructure blogs. I don't feel that I have any new news topics to add over and above what GreaterGreater, Beyond DC, Richard Layman, Ryan Avent, etc. have to blog about.

I am actually involved with ACT in Montgomery Co. because I think it's important to have transit and urbanism in a classic auto-dependend minded jurisdiction. I feel that we're going to need all the electrified rail we can get. Gas isn't ever getting cheaper and there are limits to what batteries can do. Biodiesel will not fill the gap ever. Therefore, in my opinion, we need to build infrastructure that moves people without cars and gasoline.

My feelings about no more highways are more a matter of believing that we already have plenty. They are great gifts from our 20th century forebears. They are also going to get more and more expensive to maintain. I think we need to make sure that we maintain what we've got before we build more. In my view of the future, cars will cease to be the primary mode of transportation simply because it will be prohibitively expensive to drive them all the time.

I also grew up in sprawl. I don't wish it on anyone else. In the past, when you built highways in cities, destroying century or more old neighborhoods, you destroyed something you don't get back in under a century. Those old urban neighborhoods are/were like old growth forests in that way.

I don't like the sociology of sprawl. I think (based on my anecdotal experience) the isolation of never having casual conversations/encounters changes one's worldview. It makes people more fearful of other people. It makes it so that people lose the skills required to have a civil discussion with someone they don't agree with. It causes them to see other people as just cars. They lose the empathy that is generated from contact on the sidewalk or other public space. The public square does not exist in auto-dependent sprawl. What's the point of having the First Amendment right to freedom of assembly if there is no public square? I also remember just being really bored growing up in an auto dependent subdivision. It was isolating. It was depressing. Maybe I'm just mixing my own "issues" that I had as an adolescent (that I've thankfully gotten past and now live a happy young adulthood) with the built environment.

I'm against urban freeways not just because of the road itself. It's the parking lots they generate in order to accomodate all the extra cars. If you make it easier to drive, you get more cars. Those extra cars park in a parking lot, causing a dead zone and making the distance between stuff to get larger, making it less convenient to walk, and more convenient to drive. If you make it easier to walk, and provide convient, attractive non car-based transit to get there, you get people and places. The two are somewhat antithetical to each other, oddly. They don't complement each other well at all. It's almost a zero sum game, in that respect. The more space you give to cars, the less walking is possible, and vice versa.

I am somewhat idealogical, I suppose. I do try to have reasons, rather than just knee-jerk stuff.

I am glad that I am still welcome to comment. I also post on the other blogs under the same name.

Davemurphy said...

Interesting dialog. Both of you have commented on my page, and I share your fervent views on both the highway and transit systems of the region (though admittedly I wouldn't call for quite as many highways as Doug).

Highways in DC are important because they keep military and heavy industrial trucks off of the city streets. I think this is extremely important in a city that entertains so many foreign and domestic leaders, activists, and tourists. The value of the highways can't be overlooked. Right now those highways are very disconnected, which I believe contributes greatly to traffic congestion in the region. Expressways dead-ending in downtown are much worse than adding that extra mile or two to connect them.

However, I fail to understand why you think it is the most feasible answer to continue the 395 tunnel in such a manner, expensive, invasive, time consuming, and politically cumbersome. You've seen my suggestion for an additional bridge over the Anacostia, why not something like that, less invasive?

Douglas Andrew Willinger said...

A Barney Circle Bridge or a SE Freeway extension to the East Capitol Street Bridge establishes an *east west* corridor.

Extending the I-395 tunnel north would be instrumental in establishing a *north south* route that would continue via a buried multimodel linear park covered tunnel via the Metropolitan Branch/ Red Line corridor to a split to a New Hampshire Avenue corridor tunnel to the PEPCO corridor to I-95.

The Washington Gateway Chock establishes building upon the sole remaining piece of land next to New York Avenue allowing tunnel construction with reduced construction impacts.