Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pin point the B&O RR in DC only AFTER more detailed investigation of a band of alignments

The Scuttling of JFK's B&O North Central Freeway
Started Prior to 11-22-63

Never-mind the key point made by the November 1, 1962 JFK Administration report:
Significance of Using B&O Route. Use of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad corridor to bring Routes 70-S and 95 into the city is the key to meeting the need for additional highway capacity in northern Washington, Montgomery County and northwestern Prince Georges Counties and at the same time avoiding the substantial relocation of persons, loss of taxable property and disruption of neighborhoods that would result from construction of the Northeast, North Central and Northwest Freeway proposed in the 1959 plan.- JFK Administration Report Nov 1, 1962
The engineering study for the North Central- Northeastern "Y" Route I-95/70S Freeway ordered in 1962 or early 1963 and its report supposed to take about 6 months, yet delayed until October 1964 stated:
During the preliminary line studies it became evident that the pin pointing the general corridor of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in the District of Columbia should only be accomplished only after more detailed investigation of a band of alignments in that area
Why?- considering that the idea of highway routes in such bands as the Georgia Avenue corridor were debated cir 1960-62, and abandoned in favor of the JFK administration's B&O 'Y' Route?!

Nonetheless, amongst its 37 some route options, the 1964 J.E. Greiner "North Central Freeway Engineering Report" includes a B&O Route option in its map, "Railroad West - Franklin".

But that is merely one of the 'preliminary' options that does not get a detailed look, rather then one of the 18 options studied in further detail.

Of the 18 routes studied in further detail, 5 are for a B&O Route to the south of New Hampshire Avenue, but with each paired to the swerve into Takoma Park, and then either rejoining the railroad near the Takoma Park-Silver Spring border, or continuing apart from the railroad through Silver Spring to the Capital Beltway and beyond via Sligo Park.
#11 Railroad East Sligo
#12 Railroad East Woodside Sligo
#13 Railroad East Woodside Ritchie Sligo
#14 Railroad East Woodside Ritchie Dale Sligo
#15 Railroad East Woodside Dale Sligo

Below are the 4 variants presented for the B&O portion of the route south of New Hampshire Avenue. Note that the text merely refers to these options as variants of a "railroad" route with no mention of the "Sligo" deviation through Takoma Park- even though all four have it clearly visible at top.

North Central Freeway [initial] Engineering Study October 1964, pp 19-21

District of Columbia

During the preliminary line studies it became evident that the pin pointing the general corridor of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in the District of Columbia should only be accomplished only after more detailed investigation of a band of alignments in that area. The band would be limited on the east by the heavy complex of housing and the established limits of the Freeway Study Corridor, and on the west by the Catholic University properties. Accordingly, four alternative locations were established and analyzed in detail in this band, which extends generally from the vicinity of Rhode Island Avenue on the south to the vicinity of New Hampshire Avenue on the north. These locations are shown on Plate VIII, and are identified as the Railroad-East Study Location, Railroad-East Modified, Railroad Under Alternate and Railroad-West Alternate.

The Railroad-East Study Location has a low profile line, generally depressed, and for the most part, is situated east of the railroad and the industrial properties adjoining the railroad. Railroad-East Modified represents a slight westward shift of the Railroad-East alignment between the vicinity of Franklin Street and the vicinity of Taylor Street, which places the Freeway immediately contiguous to the eastern side of the railroad. It also has a low profile line, generally depressed. The Railroad Under Alternate, with a high profile alignment, generally spans the railroad right of way and is elevated over both the railroad and the cross streets which overpass it. The Railroad-West Alternative is a variation of the Railroad –West Alternate between the vicinity of Taylor Street and the vicinity of Riggs Road, and is also an elevated design. In the area of the interchange with Interstate 95, both the Railroad Under and the Railroad-West Alternates are located to the west of the railroad and then pass under New Hampshire Avenue and the railroad to rejoin the Railroad-East Study Location.

South of Michigan Avenue, the several alternates are narrowly separated and, in general affect the same properties, although the elevated profile of the Railroad Under alternate will permit some of the industrial properties to remain in place.

North of Michigan Avenue the Railroad-East Study Location will affect some housing, chiefly the rental units just south of Taylor Street, but in doing so would avoid much of the industry in the immediate area.

The Railroad-East Modified alignment, north of Michigan, avoids the housing stock south of Taylor Street, which is largely tenant occupied, but as a consequence will require the taking of the adjoining new industrial buildings which are mostly serviced by the railroad and which the Railroad-East alignment would not require.

Otherwise, property damages are similar for both the Railroad-East Modified Study Location. In the vicinity of the interchange with Interstate Route 95 and along the railroad between Riggs Road and New Hampshire Avenue, some industry is unavoidably affected. The latter industrial property is largely of recent construction, but consists of relatively small units, such as distribution facilities, which are not serviced by the railroad. Since both alignments would be for the most part depressed, air rights over the Freeway could be utilized for either housing or industry.

The Railroad Under Alternate was designed such that the freeway would utilize aerial rights over the railroad and any adjoining land which is necessary. South of the interchange with Interstate Route 95, industry along the railroad would generally remain in place Brookland Avenue, which parallels the railroad on the west, would remain open. In the interchange area, the industrial damage east of the railroad, which is encountered on the Railroad-Eats and Railroad East Modified Locations would be reduced. However displacement would result to industry west of the railroad which is not affected by those alternates. As on the lines east of the removal of the refining company’s petroleum products storage and distribution facilities south of Gallatin Street would be necessary. The Railroad West Alternate deviates from the Railroad Under Alternate in that area, and utilizes a large section of Fort Totten Park to avoid the refining company facilities. Otherwise, its right of way requirements are similar.

The Railroad-East Study Location and Railroad-East Modified are both relatively low in cost in cost of construction due principally to the wide spacing o cross streets and the consequent low number of crossing structures. Of the two alternates, the combined construction and right of way costs of the Railroad East Study Location are slightly higher. The Railroad Under and Railroad West Alternates on the other hand would be situated for the most part on elevated structures which would be very expensive to construct. Their high construction costs would greatly outweigh savings in rights of way costs and consequently their overall project costs would be much higher than those for he Railroad Eats Alternates. The cost disadvantage would prevail south of as well as north of Michigan Avenue, since it would be necessary to construct the facility on an elevated structure southward to Rhode Island Avenue as well.

The two alternate lines east of the railroad would permit the development of Interstate Route 95 and also of Fort Drive, both east and west of the railroad, in accordance with present planning. However, the Railroad Under and Railroad West Alternates would occupy the corridor reserved for Fort Drive immediately west of the railroad and would require the acquisition of new rights of way for that artery.

Information regarding comparative and relative costs and effects on housing, industry and employment of the several alternate alignments in the railroad corridor are shown in the accompanying tabulation.


A review of the very high cost of construction and the comparatively low user benefit ratios for the Railroad Under and Railroad West alignments dictates the elimination of these alternate lines from further consideration. Their elevated locations would also be detrimental from the standpoint of winter maintenance when icing conditions and snow removal would present greater problems than for a ground level or depressed freeway. The visual features of the highly elevated facility, which would parallel the Catholic University property, would not enhance the appearance of the neighborhood and would consequently make these alignments less desirable.

Of the remaining alternates, the Railroad-East and Railroad Modified Study Locations are very similar in construction costs and users benefit ratios and the resolution of the choice between these alignments is based on the socio-economic advantages.

Economic studies made of the National Capital Region have shown that because of the Federal Government and related services, commercial and industrial operations account for a relatively small portion of the total regional employment. These studies indicated that in 1955 only about 15 per cent of the region’s industrial potential had been developed, but predicted that industrial production for the local market would become increasingly more practical as the population or mass market increases.

From an economic standpoint, it is essential to encourage and stimulate the
development of the industrial potential of a more secure and healthier share of industry in the overall economy of the area.

In weighing the advantages and disadvantages that result from alternate line studies, consideration must be given to the nature of damages with respect to time and possibility of eventual recovery. In the case of a choice of displacement of industry as opposed t o displacement of housing, it is obvious that many more factors would be involved in an industrial relocation and such factors would have to be evaluated for the specific area.

The industry in the area under construction north of Michigan Avenue, for the most part is tied to railroad operations and derived benefits from its contiguous location. Displacement of these industries would probably result in termination of operations in some cases or major relocations to areas affording comparable transportation facilities. Such industry loss or displacement is bound to result in job loses and decrease in employment opportunity in the area, together with the resultant losses to the general economy in this section of the District. Since the pattern for new industry is primarily to locate in the outer fringes of the region, the industrial employment loss in the district, due to displacement of industry would be a permanent one and create a greater imbalance in the proportion of industrial to other employment.

To avoid the industry in question the Railroad East alignment would take out housing units which border the industry. However, these are largely rental units, which in the Washington area undergo a normal turnover of tenancy every several years. The effect of displacement on these occupants while admit tingly unfortunate, is from our experience, less severe than would be the case for an area of owner-occupied dwellings. Although slightly reducing the number of residential properties, the Freeway in the Railroad-East Study Location would preserve the integrity of the neighborhood since it would pass along its edge and not through it, and would form a division between it and the industry along the railroad.

The normal housing inventory in the District of Columbia would probably have the capability of handling the displacement due to loss of housing, but if not readily solutions are available through construction of high rise dwellings or other types. This subject is discussed in more detail elsewhere in this Report under the section “Displacement and Relocation on the District of Columbia”.

In consideration of the stated factors, the somewhat lower cost and the avoidance of the housing units effected on Railroad-East Modified by the immediate and long range effects on the area that would result from the loss of the industrial properties. Consequently the Railroad East Study Location is judged to be preferable to the modified alignment, the Railroad Under or Railroad West, and is so recommended.

Montgomery County, Maryland

The investigation in the District of Columbia of an elevated alignment, which would utilize air rights over the railroad right of way and adjoining land was continued beyond the District of Columbia Maryland line, into Montgomery County as far as the business district of Silver Spring, where it would merge with the Railroad-East Study Location.

Basically an elevated alignment was found to have the same disadvantages as the similar design produced in the District portion, and consequently a detailed study was not developed. A preliminary estimate showed that its construction cost would be so high as to far outweigh any reduction in property damage it might effect. The traffic service that it could provide would be poorer because of less favorable interchange locations and the reduction in the number of feasible ramps that could be built. Inasmuch as the railroad itself is an elevated facility throughout much of this area, the Freeway I position above the railroad would be much higher than the surrounding land. Its excessive height would not only accommodate the much greater width of the Freeway which would encroach on adjoining properties taking or damaging industry, residences, college property and one large apartment facility. It would likewise pass through part of Blair Park affecting some of the park facilities and jeopardizing the continued use of the property as a public recreation area.

In view of the stated factors, the Railroad East Study Location was judged to be more desirable.

Route #11 "Railroad East Sligo"

The report thus justifies the deviation in Brookland for the sake of preserving industrial space which is more scarce than that for housing- though blunders as this swerve would have displaced the historic Brooks Mansion.

It does not even attempt to justify the deviation through Takoma Park, Maryland, asides from the straw-man argument of apparently considering an elevated above the railroad version, with no mention of the space alongside for a set of roadways depressed, or better yet, as cut and cover tunnels.

A Crafted Controversy- the Scuttling of JFK's B&O North Central Freeway

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