Friday, January 06, 2012

Grand Arc 95-270

Time to rectify the social injustice of pushing the traffic burden disproportionately through SE, and that previously of the railway burden, to finally deliver Washington D.C.'s missing freeway linkage AND a new Northern Mall

JFK's Administration first proposed it as part of a "Y" route, along with the Committee of 100 on the Federal City - a tightly routed I-95 and I-70S along the B&O Metropolitan Branch RR -- Washington, D.C.'s sole above ground grade separated transportation corridor.

It was botched afterwards, politically sabotaged by the initial North Central Freeway engineering study which excluded it while considering instead an upwards of 37 routes all over the map, with a recommended route partially following the RR but with serious deviations in Brookland and especially Takoma Park. Though decently re-scribed in 1966, the B&O NCF was nonetheless demonified politically as a "white mans road through black mans homes" -- with infinitely greater protest hype upon the 34 houses in Brookland closet to the RR than the 600+ for the final North Leg East segment to link with the existing Center Leg (3rd Street Tunnel) -- never-mind it was relatively uncontroversial while the U.S. President who proposed it was still alive- JFK.

Politics of the past asides, the need and the logic of the still missing I-95 link inside the Beltway and into Washington D.C. is clear, along with the feasibility of the basic corridor proposed by the JFK Administration, augmented with routing its Northeastern Freeway into Maryland via the PEPCO power line right of way (replacing the Northwest Branch Park routing to Prince Georges Plaza Plaza shopping center).

Within the Beltway I-95 is clearly feasible with no residential takings in Maryland, and 13 retail strip properties, including a gasoline station, in an area alongside New Hampshire Avenue where I-95 would be depressed and could be covered with new development. Once within the District, it would displace about 27* houses north of New Hampshire Avenue and along a segment of Eastern and Rittenhouse (*considerably more if the tragically misplaced Comstock Homes "The Hampshires" project is built upon the now open space of the Masonic Eastern Star Home property) and then only 34 for the entire segment along the RR at the western edge of Brookland- 59 total- according to 1973 figures all the way down to interchange "B" within the railyards. This figure of 59 compares with that of 330 and 57 displaced in Virginia respectively for the Wilson Bridge and Springfield interchange widenings of the Beltway that became "I-95" with the cancellation of the real one for Washington D.C. With a re-design of the North Leg East link to the existing Center Leg/3rd Street Tunnel via a tunnel beneath O Street and arcing beneath the recreation field of Dunbar HS reduces the 600+ figure to as few as about 33.

But lets strive to go further to make this project truly knit the area together, with this highway project embracing a comprehensive redefining of this RR corridor,as the Grand Arc Project, building out the walls of Washington D.C.'s Union Station northward, covering over the railroads and the new highway built as encased tunnelways, all as the basis of a new Grand northern mall. The RR was built in one of two interior places with in Washington DC topographically suitable, the other being the Archibald Glover Park, which has no roads. Since the RR buried the creek, have the new buried highway UN-bury the creek, and reconnect the city by so decking over the rail junction trisecting the area Rhode Island and New York Avenues, in a fashion extending the legacy of monumental Washington, D.C.! Have it do this as well to the south by likewise addressing the existing built freeway segments, particularly the I-395 Center Leg and SW (and SE) Freeway and 14th Street Bridges, with parallel tunnelways beneath 2nd, 3rd and G Streets as part of a project building NCPC's 2008 proposal concept for a Washington Chanel Tunnel and replacement 14th Street Bridge[s].

Accommodate and reconcile greater human activity within a given footprint.

Madrid Spain's $5 billion M-30 project shows this is feasible.

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