Wednesday, September 30, 2015

New Urbanists Place Profits Over People at Large

Richard Layman presents some good ideas of tunnelfication,
yet seems incapable of protecting such regarding real word examples.

January 8, 2008

 . Tunnelize the Metropolitan Branch railroad line. This is a stretch. It would cost billions and would involve creating tunnels for both the railroad and the subway. But it would allow for adding capacity to that line, which is quickly moving to capacity, and given that the subway line is bracketed by CSX railroad tracks, it can't expand except by having double stacked trains, which we can't do because of the way the tunnels and bridges exist.... (Note that a railroad, maybe CSX, maybe Norfolk Southern, is making their line from Chicago to Richmond capable of carry double stacked containers the whole route. This means adjusting tunnels and bridges...)

Note that this isn't a priority for me, but I think it should be listed nonetheless.

Feb 25 2009

. Therefore, if you create a "deck" in Brookland you create another obstruction, one that creates another problem.

And the whole point of putting the Brookland station and tracks in that vicinity underground had to do with trying to knit the east and west parts of the neighborhood together (oddly, this is somewhat problematic because for the most part, the west parts of the neighborhood are made up of institutional campuses and don't lend themselves very well to connection).

Nov 15, 2011

The proposal for the North Central Freeway was supposed to follow the Metropolitan Branch Railroad line--north on the east side of the tracks and south on the west side of the tracks--but this would have destroyed the quality of life in the area (a very short portion of the route under Rhode Island Avenue was proposed to be tunneled).

Doug Willinger (various websites) has always said that a completely tunnelized freeway should have been considered.

While for many reasons, I don't favor big freeways, above- or below- ground, I am starting to think that the only way to address the Blair Road-Takoma conundrum would be to create a tunnel "freeway" for the through traffic focused mostly on getting from Montgomery County to DC's Central Business District.

2. New York Avenue/Route 50 tunnel

As I mentioned over the weekend, the New York Avenue Transportation Plan recognized that the big problem with traffic on New York Avenue is that because the road functions as a through freeway link from I-95 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway to I-395 in DC, connecting to Virginia, much of the traffic on the road is "through traffic" not intended to stop in DC.

This through traffic makes much of the road--from the DC-Maryland line to Downtown DC--traffic engorged, unsightly, and uncomfortable, with negative contributions to quality of life for residents.

They didn't go for broke and recommend a complete tunnelized solution from the DC-Maryland line to the I-395/New York Avenue junction, not because they didn't see the need, but because of the cost.

After all, the Central Artery Project ("Big Dig") in Boston cost over $14 billion for 3.5 miles. This length would be about 5 miles.

Still, one way to make it happen would be to charge tolls, just like the Carmel Tunnels project in Haifa.

3. Add a subway line on New York Avenue?

To make a New York Avenue tunnel project even more expensive, they could put a heavy rail subway line into it as well, from Bladensburg Road to Mount Vernon Triangle, although it could be conceived of, in part as a leg of the proposed separated blue line, which would continue west to Georgetown and then into Virginia.

4. General discussion on tolls

Since these tunnels would mostly be focused on serving nonresidents, except in how they would mitigate the negative impact of use of these roads on quality of life, tolling is a logical response, as a way to impose fees on the users for the costs that they normally impose on others without paying.

June 10, 2013

Condominiums abut Spring Place NW, on the west side of the railroad tracks on the Blair Road side of the Takoma DC neighborhood.

In Takoma, in the past few years three apartment or condo developments have been built abutting the Metro station.  Another development is under construction--a Busboys and Poets will be locating there (see "Busboys and Poets coming to Takoma, and may head to Brookland" from the Washington Post), another on Spring Place is working through the approval process, and another development is in the pipeline. 

With a couple of exceptions these developments will absorb most of the build out capacity of the neighborhood, and going forward beyond these developments there will be limited impact on the extant residential sections of the neighborhood. (The Walter Reed campus abuts part of Takoma and will be redeveloped over the next 20 years.  But this won't impact Takoma per se all that much, other than providing access to additional retail.)

The primary reason I favor denser development at Metro stations is that it allows, for the most part, preservation of the bulk of a neighborhood's residential character with minimal changes.  This is true for both Brookland and Takoma--although the community's unwillingness to make some hard choices in Brookland likely means that Brookland's traditional retail core, currently strung along 12th Street, will  re-center to Monroe Street by the transit station (functioning similarly to the Shoppes at ArtDistrict development in Hyattsville that I wrote about earlier).

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