Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Congress for 'New' Urbanism Seeks Eliminating SE Freeway and 11th Street Bridge

Advocates Removing Evacuation Route, if not increase vehicular - pedestrian conflict!

10. 11th Street Bridges and the Southeast Freeway, Washington D.C.

The Southeast Freeway is a 1.39-mile stretch of freeway running through Washington D.C. built in the late 1960s. It connects Interstate 395 to Interstate 295 at the 11th Street Bridges and was prevented from continuing west due to local opposition at the time. To address congestion and traffic routing problems at the interchange connecting the Southeast/Southwest Freeway and the Anacostia Freeway (I-295) over the Anacostia River, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) began investigating how to reconstruct and reconfigure the interchange at the 11th Street Bridges.

The Concerned Citizens of Eastern Washington, the Capitol Hill Restoration Society, some of whom were involved with the freeway revolt in the 1960s, began investigating the FHWA's preferred alternative in the Final Environmental Impact Assessment. Working with the transportation engineering firm Smart Mobility, Inc., the Capitol Hill Restoration Society discovered that, while the DC Department of Transportation states that there will not be an increase in capacity, the “preferred alternative … will result in a 50% increase of freeway capacity into central DC, even though this is contrary to the DC Comprehensive Plan.” This project has renewed discussions about improving surface-street and pedestrian connections in the near southeastern section of the district by removing the Southeast Freeway -- what the DC Office of Planning refers to as a “formidable psychological barrier.”

Actually the highway was not prevented from extending to the west, as that was built as the SW Freeway. Rather it was prevented from extending to the east and the north by canceling the East Leg, and afterwards via canceling the Barney Circle connector.