Greater Greater Washington

VDOT ignores own data, pushes widening I-66

When VDOT began their "multimodal" study of I-66 inside the Beltway, many assumed that this was just a formality and, regardless of what the models showed, VDOT would recommend widening the road. Turns out, that seems to be exactly what's happening.


Photo by JoeInSouthernCA on Flickr.

When the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) wanted to widen I-66 in a few places, local leaders argued that they hadn't studied the corridor thoroughly enough. Under pressure, VDOT agreed to do a study, and the results are now coming out.

According to VDOT's own data, an option that doesn't require widening I-66 would do more for mobility than widening it. Despite this, VDOT officials told a group of citizen and government stakeholders on Tuesday that they plan to recommend the widening option. Was this just a foregone conclusion from the start?

VDOT showed 4 "packages" of changes at 2 public meetings, along with stats for how each would likely affect travel times, traffic volumes, and more.

Package 1, which would make the existing lanes of I-66 into HOT lanes, free for vehicles with 3 or more people and tolled for 1 and 2, brings almost as much benefit as Package 2, which would add a 3rd lane on top of that. But package 1 costs about $350-650 million less.

Package 1 (convert existing lanes to HOT lanes):

Package 2 (add 3rd lane, convert all to HOT lanes):

Allen Muchnick of the Arlington Coalition for Sensible Transportation was one of the stakeholders in Tuesday's meeting, and got to see the draft final report. It lists the following metrics for packages 1 and 2, plus another option called a "sensitivity test," which tried only applying tolls during the peak period where I-66 is HOV-only today.

Here are the key metrics. The "Pkg 1 + ST" column reflects this new option from the sensitivity test.

MetricPkg 1Pkg 1 + STPkg 2
Daily Person Miles Traveled+40,490 (0.8%)+318,388 (5.4%)+267,509 (4.6%)
Person Throughput Measure+5,632 (1.2%)+27,669 (6.1%)+24,098 (5.3%)
Peak Period Congested VMT+10,726 (2.8%)+11,230 (2.9%)-65,164 (-16.9%)
Transit Ridership+1,423 (1.1%)+2,568 (1.9%)+2,124 (1.6%)
Added Capital Cost$33M$33M$345-695M
Added Operating Cost$23M$23M$25M

This new option, tolling at peak times, appears to move more people by both car and transit than the widening, yet saves hundreds of millions of dollars. Even without this option, it's likely that widening the road at such cost, and with all the disruption it will cause, is not worth gaining only a few percentage points of extra movement.

The metric of "peak period congested VMT" measures the wrong thing. This is the amount of vehicle miles traveled that happen in an uncongested road. But congetion, per se, is not the problem; a short drive in traffic is better than a long drive without it. The goal is to move people, or more accurately, get people where they need to be.

There were plenty of flaws with this study from the start. This assumes, as the "baseline," that Virginia has implemented every change in the regional Constrained Long-Range Plan (CLRP). That includes adding the 3 "spot improvements," which would already widen I-66 in several places; and changing I-66 to HOV-3 and assuming that nobody cheats the HOV restrictions.

The CLRP also includes some projects which will help in the I-66 corridor but have no funding today, like lengthening all Metro trains to 8 cars and adding new bus service in the area. Hopefully these will happen, but there's no guarantee.

A better study would have used today as the baseline, and looked at the CLRP changes like the "spot improvements" as some of the options. After all, if another change helps more, it's far from too late to build that instead. We would also then be able to better see the effects of this phantom bus service, though I'm told the full report does provide more detail on the effects of these proposals.

BeyondDC reminded me yesterday about a flowchart I made back in 2009. I've updated it slightly:

Is the urge to widen I-66 coming from engineers who can't shake the paving habit, or political pressure from above? If a transportation agency is unwilling to actually recommend anything other than widening, regardless of what a study shows, then that study really is the sham as people accused, and I feared, at the time, and VDOT might as well change its name to Virginia Department Of Paving Your Community.

David Alpert is the founder and editor-in-chief of Greater Greater Washington. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and daughter in Dupont Circle. 

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Moreover, I don't see how widening 66 will make any difference if your options still end up on either constitution ave. or E Street. Billions of dollars meant to speed you up so you can maybe stop at the red light one cycle earlier.

Meanwhile we'd clearly have express tracks to dulles and all of Loudoun county would be a new urbanist paradise if weren't for them danged unions sabotaging the governor.

by X on May 17, 2012 10:22 am • linkreport

What is there to "study"? Traffic is a mess an alternatives to driving are alreasdy, like the Metro Orange Line are already in place and fully utilized.

The idea of the only interstate highway between points west and the nation's capital being restricted to a privileged few at the times of day when it's most needed is ludicrous. As is the fact that the highway actually narrowss, thereby losing capacity, as it gets closer to the heavily-developed areas near the District.

Widen the road already. We've been pandering to the NIMBYs and road-haters long enough.

by ceefer66 on May 17, 2012 10:29 am • linkreport

I want to say first that I'm glad that we acknowledge that the initial study is flawed. I think the urge to widen I-66 is partially due to confirmation bias or a conclusion already being drawn at the beginning of the study, along with with some political forces.

When people first engage in negotiations, they're not even close as far as a consensus is concerned, but that changes iteratively. So, I think we can all compromise and I-66 is far from a superhighway in an undeveloped stretch of land as it is. I think a third lane on I-66 from the beltway in, along with some congestion pricing, high-occupancy incentives, and transit improvements is a reasonable compromise. It's hard to argue against the cost estimates for the most restrictive option with little new construction, but that's the most politically unfeasible option.

by Vik on May 17, 2012 10:29 am • linkreport

My state transportation board is run by idiots.

So once again we stand at the argument of eminent domain and the powers of VDOT over local jurisdictions. Arlington gets absolutely NOTHING from allowing this. In fact 8% of the public funds that go towards this project are coming directly out of Arlington County. Thats around 50 million dollars that specifically ArCo says they don't want to spend on this.

On top of that, this project directly and negatively impacts ArCo's economy by helping to push people further and further out, causing economic hardship on businesses, retail, and residents along the corridor, and causing more air quality detriment.

Why should ArCo support this? Honestly what is VDOT doing to concede to Arlington that this isn't a project that they want and that frankly is shown in a study is a project that won't even do anything. Just like the Charlottesville bypass, VDOT is telling jurisdictions to shut up and do what they tell them.

I say, make the government makes its case for eminent domain that this project is absolutely needed for emergency evacuation, which their own study is saying will not be mitigated enough. Or if VDOT really wants this, then play ball. Pay for the Light Rail system in Arlington that costs 1/6th of this project as a concession that they recognize Arlington is detrimentally affected.

As a virginia tax payer I am pissed off, and as a Fairfax resident I know that Arlingtons battle today is our battle against these same dumb politics in 10 years (heck it already is with Route 123 and 7).

by Tysons Engineer on May 17, 2012 10:43 am • linkreport

What happened to the original deal when I-66 was built, that it was to be a limited parkway, and HOV-4? That was eroded to HOV-2. The short terms solution is to reintegrate the original conditions. Everyone else out in Fairfax and Loudon knew the deal when the bought their houses. Widening the road solves almost nothing and is a complete and total wast of money.

Of course, I am not a Virginia resident, so other than the Federal portion, it isn't my money. But if I lived there, I would not be happy about this at all.

by Andrew on May 17, 2012 10:43 am • linkreport

I think a third lane on I-66 from the beltway in, along with some congestion pricing, high-occupancy incentives, and transit improvements is a reasonable compromise.

But it's not, really.

Toll the lanes, see if your problem goes away. If not, then we can talk about adding capacity.

Remember the Iron Law of Congestion:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis%E2%80%93Mogridge_Position

http://www.planningreport.com/2004/06/25/brookings-anthony-downs-concludes-traffic-congestion-our-inevitable-future

by Alex B. on May 17, 2012 10:43 am • linkreport

I thought the spot improvements were completed already.

by MDE on May 17, 2012 10:44 am • linkreport

It seems like this is just another attack on people who drive. Of course you can make driving more and more unpalatable and less and less people will drive. Why not make it HOV+5 and everyone else pays $30 each way. That would probably cut drive times down to nothing for the few people who could afford to drive the road or have 5 people in their car. Realize that suggestion is sarcastic but the logical conclusion of this kind of argument. If you simply advocate forcing more people off the road, without making the alternatives any better, then really what you are doing is robbing peter to pay paul. I-66 will look great and every other side road will be a disaster for residents.

by Dan Clark on May 17, 2012 10:49 am • linkreport

Oh and for anyone who keeps saying NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY, clearly uneducated. NIMBY is when a select group of a specific neighborhood blockade a project due to its direct impact on a small percentage of landowners.

In this case, Arlington has the rights to its own roads. Federal roads are out of their jurisdiction, but the land around them is their local right. If the feds want the land they have to actually make a case for it as to how it 1) Benefits those affected and 2) Why it is necessary for emergency procedure and national security.

The national highways were not set up so that everyones lazy and cheap butts can live miles away and commute to work, they were made so the army could reposition itself whenever needed and so that evacuation routes from major cities were preserved.

In this case, the study shows that this will not assist in either of those criteria so its a moot point. The government will never be able to acquire the land to do this.

If VDOT was smart, they would recognize they are on the losing side of this battle, and if they really want it then they should help mitigate the impact by assisting Arlington with its own transportation project desires. Otherwise, this is all just a political move by Richmond to paint arlington as being objectionist again.

Regardless, this isn't NIMBY, this is an entire jurisdiction with autonomous control of its own transportation network saying, prove it or go pound sand. They haven't proved it, they proved against it. So therefore go pound sand.

Own up to your own decisions of living out in the boondocks, its not Arlingtons responsibility to make YOUR life easier.

by Tysons Engineer on May 17, 2012 10:52 am • linkreport

Well done on the flowchart. I think it is funny even though I'm not sure I agree with the analysis.

by movement on May 17, 2012 10:54 am • linkreport

Tolling 66...heheh let me guess, so the toll money can be used for funding more metro expansions?

Really, the transit set has to come up with a new strategy because promoting enormous taxpayer and driver subsidies to fund their ride to work, while simultaneously promoting taxing the living heck out of drivers and making their lives miserable just isn't getting them very far, and it isn't palatable to the majority.

by DTR on May 17, 2012 11:02 am • linkreport

Bottom Line: Republican Richmond wants to stick it to Democratic Arlington.

by Vicente Fox on May 17, 2012 11:07 am • linkreport

@DTR

Really, the transit set has to come up with a new strategy because promoting enormous taxpayer and driver subsidies to fund their ride to work, while simultaneously promoting taxing the living heck out of drivers and making their lives miserable just isn't getting them very far, and it isn't palatable to the majority.

Please note: the tolling should be congestion pricing, and it would make the drivers lives better, not make them miserable. Allocate the scarce resource of limited road space via price instead of queueing, and your commute via car will be more expensive but congestion-free.

The revenues should then get put into transit, which is higher capacity and also relieves demand on that originally-congested segment.

Again, remember the Iron Law of Congestion: traffic expands to meet the available road space.

by Alex B. on May 17, 2012 11:08 am • linkreport

@Alex B.

I'm actually in favor of tolling the lanes first, but I think in the long-term, with a lot more people living in this area, we're going to be adding lanes at least 3 lanes wide in each direction at some point and it already is 3 lanes wide at various points.

I'm in favor of a number of transit and congestion pricing options on I-66, but there's politics involved in this development so if the third lanes already present are extended along with other congestion pricing and transit improvements being completed, that's a solution everyone in the region could benefit from.

by Vik on May 17, 2012 11:09 am • linkreport

It is worth to point out here that during rush hour, the orange line already moves more people along I-66 than I-66 itself.

[don't have the source, but it was a GGW article]

by Jasper on May 17, 2012 11:10 am • linkreport

Alex,

How exactly does it make anyones lives better.

Fine, you set the congestion pricing high enough (as someone above said) that only a few people a day can afford it, and they have great drives to work.

Where do the rest go? Where do the other tens of thousands of drivers who still live in Centreville and who still work downtown go? They go to the sidestreets, turning every minor road and sidestreet in between into a parking lot.

by DTR on May 17, 2012 11:12 am • linkreport

@Vik
I want to see someone demonstrate true congestion pricing before approving it as a panacea. The DTR is a perfect place for it. I would say the Greenway, but their tolls have two rates, "high" and "higher". It is all about revenue generation.

by movement on May 17, 2012 11:16 am • linkreport

Keep at this, David!

The hysteria over the Silver Line funding is making more and more sense (no, I am not knocking all of the criticisms). It is not just downstate roads that will benefit from the cancellation of Phase II, but the widening of I-66 as well.

by watcher on May 17, 2012 11:17 am • linkreport

On I66, the traffic is worse for the anti-commuters. That is for example, outbound in the morning, when there are no HOV restrictions, and vice-versa.

by goldfish on May 17, 2012 11:21 am • linkreport

@DTR

Fine, you set the congestion pricing high enough (as someone above said) that only a few people a day can afford it, and they have great drives to work.

No, you set the price high enough so that the traffic moves. The lanes will still be full, they'll just be flowing. More than 'a few' people will afford it.

Where do the rest go? Where do the other tens of thousands of drivers who still live in Centreville and who still work downtown go? They go to the sidestreets, turning every minor road and sidestreet in between into a parking lot.

Or they shift to transit. Or they change their habits. Or they don't have to change anything - some other guy who was making a non-commute trip at that time decides it wasn't worth it, so he shifts his trip and that opens up more space for your Centerville commuter. Or more slugging happens.

Expand VRE to Centerville, give those folks an express transit option into DC.

The larger point is this: expanding 66 will not solve the problem. Again, remember the Iron Law of Congestion.

by Alex B. on May 17, 2012 11:22 am • linkreport

@DTR

If you live in Centreville or beyond, the VRE is the best option to get downtown during rush hour. I still can figure out why people would ever drive downtown from that distance.

by mcs on May 17, 2012 11:23 am • linkreport

Well for people who live in Centreville and work downtown.

They could move closer to work.
They could move jobs
They could take transit
They could pay a toll and save time
They could sit in traffic and save money (probably not actually)

People expect to have a reasonable commute but if you're moving out 25 miles and beyond and expect to somehow magically keep your commute under a hour then I don't see why the state should sink billions into an extra lane that will fill up. Moreover, we're in no way in a political climate where we could expand 66 and significantly improve transit. The fiscal situation does make this a zero sum game.

by X on May 17, 2012 11:24 am • linkreport

495 HOT is going to be a disaster. Can we please finish that, view that unmitigated mess, before building another one?

495 HOT will be dumping people into a left turn signal. I dont care if it maintains 55 mph for 10 miles, if the last 2 miles queue for 30 minutes at a light. Solution? Build more ramps like the springfield interchange, killing the economic viability of Tysons Corners most profitable corridor by using in wasteful VDOT ROW.

So that will never happen. End result;

1)A bunch of people paying 10 dollars (yes in this area people will pay 10 dollars) to go around the beltway then wait 20 minutes at a congested light, all the while normal 495 users get there in basically same time. Net congestion relief (basically none)
2) Everyone notices that it gets congested at the end, the road goes underutilized and the money is never recouped, also making it a disaster and providing no traffic assistance.

One failure in this concept is that market rate in this area will be VERY high. Some people with a silver spoon will be just fine paying 10, 20, hell a story came out 5 years ago about HOV violators who were ok paying 250 dollars fines every month when they were caught (before the fine structure was revised). So only a select few will take it or even if a lot of people do take it and it goes utilized the end tie in connections to regular roads will be so congested because of full traffic that it will be a mess anyways.

Same can be said when this 66 corridor dumbs onto constitution, the end condition will cause a 3 mile queue no matter how you dice it up, the only way to address it is reduction in demand, not increase in capacity for portions.

Anti-NIMBY retort: Damn that DC! How dare they obstruct virginias right at a highway that runs clean into their city. They just want to protect their stupid national mall, pft, how does that help Virginia!? Our tax dollars pay for your salaries!!

by Tysons Engineer on May 17, 2012 11:26 am • linkreport

DTR - the way a HOT lane works is you toll till the traffic is free flowing not more than that. Thats hardly "a few" (if it were highways would be a much poorer investment than they in fact are)

diversion to sidestreets happens, but is modeled in the study discussed. To some extent their lower speed limits and lights make them an unattractive alternative for long distance commuters - the commuters will either pay the toll, carpool, turn to transit, or move closer.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 17, 2012 11:26 am • linkreport

@Tysons Engineer

The I-495 HOT Lanes will be a success. Just it will take a few years to fill up six complete lanes (compared to four crappy lanes).

If they are smart they will keep prices low until the demand fills up the lanes. The major payoff will be 10-20 years from now.

I do agree the Route 7 left turn will be interesting.
Maryland PM commuters are the ones getting screwed.

by mcs on May 17, 2012 11:44 am • linkreport

If you simply advocate forcing more people off the road, without making the alternatives any better, then really what you are doing is robbing peter to pay paul. I-66 will look great and every other side road will be a disaster for residents.

Close to 100% of what this blog does is advocate for making better transit alternatives. Pull up a chair, relax a while and do some reading. :)

by Scoot on May 17, 2012 11:55 am • linkreport

I-66 dumps into city streets in the District. The only place inside the beltway where an extra lane will work is between the Fairfax Drive exit in Ballston and the Dulles Toll Road. They already have most of the outbound third lane completed in that stretch. Just continue that to the DTR and do the same in the other direction and the worst chokepoints will be dealt with. Anything beyond that is wasted money.

by NikolasM on May 17, 2012 11:57 am • linkreport

MCS,

quick queue math

55mph ensures 30 cars per minute (1 car per 2 seconds) per lane

Left turns even when fully green operate a 1 car per 6 seconds per lane (10 cars per minute)

The Tysons WestPark Bridge will be the most used ramp exit in the system (at nearly 8000 users daily, 50% of whom will come during peak of peak hours, so 4000 users in 1 hour, 2000 per lane of HOT, and that is just above 30 cars per hour per lane ramping at 55mph, which is the capacity at that speed.

The stacking for the ramp is only 2000' (which can hold 100 cars per lane)

0 minute = no queue (obviously)
5 minute = 50 cars processed, 100 cars queue (full ramp is at cap.)
10 minute = 100 cars processed, 200 cars queue (full ramp is at cap., 2000' of overflow into HOT)
15 minute = etc trend continues.

Now obviously this wont happen, because no one in their right mind after this happened once would keep coming back to sit at a traffic light queue directly off of a highway. Net effect, in order to keep this ramp from overflowing, traffic will find equilibrium keeping HOT lane processing 1/3 of its actual freeflow velocity. In otherwords, 8000 vehicles coming from HOT will actually only be 2700 vehicles (otherwise the queue will build up as depicted above).

2700 vehicles completely throws off the economic recovery of the rate, because it was designed for 3 times that capacity, therefore the toll rate will be adjusted to be significantly higher to keep 2/3rds of the drivers that the model said could drive on the road off of the lanes.

PS even if it were operating at 8000, the rate would still be 3 or 4 times more than the DTR rate which evidently virginians dont want to pay (and yet no one has brought up this point)

by Tysons Engineer on May 17, 2012 12:05 pm • linkreport

I'd vowed never to comment here again but ...

Give me a *viable* alternative. I currently live in a place where the cost of housing + transit is less than 40 percent of my monthly income.

Spending 60-65 percent of my monthly income on housing by moving closer is not a viable alternative. Or I could spend less and take a chance with personal safety, which is not a viable alternative. And heaven forbid the neighborhood improves - then people will howl about "gentrification".

If I move to a place which is closer to half my monthly income, I still have to take Metro - which can get me to work in a two-hour window that starts at 8am and ends at 10am, which is not a viable alternative, because my employer will not accept it.

I'd happily take an express bus downtown - except there isn't one. If I want to take any bus, it's three different seats to get close enough to downtown to walk. Possibly two with a re-routing I've recently seen.

I've looked biking 14 miles to work, and I've actually done the route, except I can't do it in the summer heat nor the winter freeze.

I could walk 14 miles, if I had three hours to spend each way on commuting.

I've tried telecommuting, and it doesn't work when more than half of my time is spent on meeting with people. Even if the majority of them are able to deal with me joining on Skype, any meeting with a director-level or higher requires my presence in the office, which means I'm going in three days a week anyway.

So again, give me a *viable* alternative. I'm seriously open to it because I don't like driving any more than the next person, but I don't have a viable alternative.

If you're serious about increasing use of transit, it's time to hold the transit authority accountable. Metro's motto is "Making the life of transit advocates miserable" and it shows.

I don't want to drive; I just do not have a viable alternative.

by Alternatives on May 17, 2012 12:19 pm • linkreport

@Alternatives---thanks for speaking out!

Dealing with your concerns one-by-one (and being honest when they cannot be addressed) could be a great GGWash article series.

by xmal on May 17, 2012 12:28 pm • linkreport

I used to think it was funny that the trip comparison calculator that was on the Metro website nearly two years ago told me it was cheaper for me to drive although I lived near the Metro. Likewise, I couldn't adjust my hours and life to use the bus and my hours didn't even work well with slugging.

by selxic on May 17, 2012 12:28 pm • linkreport

@davidalpert said, "But congetion, per se, is not the problem; a short drive in traffic is better than a long drive without it. The goal is to move people, or more accurately, get people where they need to be."

From an air quality standpoint... No... automotive engines are at their least efficient level in stop/go traffic. There is breakpoint between short distance stop/go traffic and free flow long distance trips, but it is a long way. The vehicle fleet has not changed enough yet to higher MPG cars and trucks to help.

by Some Ideas on May 17, 2012 12:32 pm • linkreport

Alternatives,

I want to really help you out figure out options. The real question is, do you need the space you currently have?

I could have afforded to live out further in a house also like many of my friends. For exact same price I live in a 1br with my girlfriend. It is 900 sf, and it might not be big enough for kids, but it is perfectly fine even up to the point of a young family (baby), which easily gives me 3 or 4 years before I might outgrow it.

The problem is, people want everything all at once. I dont know your situation, but so many people I talk to say, I cant live closer its expensive, then I show them a townhouse for cheaper than their house, and they say, yea but its downsizing.

Well yea, its called accountability. If you choose to live further, you take on the consequences of it, but if you choose to live closer you lose space but you gain ease of life. It is everyones right to live where they want, but it is not their right to demand that life is both cheaper and easier exactly where they have chosen to live.

Now I have no idea about your specific housing situation, but I do a lot of assistance in finding people affordable options closer in, in my free time. If you want to send me your info I can research some options that are equal or less in cost to where you live now and will save you in transpo cost.

Another cost you dont factor in, is your productivity. I dont know about you but my time is worth money. If wasted 2 hours a day in commute, I would want that factored in the cost of living further. Even at 10 dollars an hour, that comes out to 4000 bucks a year in your time/money.

email me

by Tysons Engineer on May 17, 2012 12:34 pm • linkreport

I clipped the second sentence into my quote from David by mistake. On that point he is correct. The point is to allow people to move from the place they are to the place the want to be reliably.

by Some Ideas on May 17, 2012 12:39 pm • linkreport

"From an air quality standpoint... No... automotive engines are at their least efficient level in stop/go traffic. There is breakpoint between short distance stop/go traffic and free flow long distance trips, but it is a long way. The vehicle fleet has not changed enough yet to higher MPG cars and trucks to help."

Stop and go is bad, by about 30% but when you are talking about 5 times a longer distance (400-500% more exhaust created) then its not even close. A 20 mile commute free flow is just so much worse for air quality than a 4 mile commute in stop and go by basically an order of magnitude.

by Tysons Engineer on May 17, 2012 12:40 pm • linkreport

TE

IIUC there will be 5 exits from the NB hot lanes - one at Gallows (traffic to Inova, exxon Mobil, and potentially Mosaic and beyond) At I66 EB (to falls church and Ballston). Then 3 exits in Tysons itself.

"55mph ensures 30 cars per minute (1 car per 2 seconds) per lane

Left turns even when fully green operate a 1 car per 6 seconds per lane (10 cars per minute)"

so if say 1/4 of traffic exits there, the thing functions, I would think. If that one exit is particularly backed up, I would guess drivers would tend to prefer the other exits.

if 1/4 of total traffic exits

by Confused on May 17, 2012 12:47 pm • linkreport

I'm kinda new to the debate, except for noting years ago how bad I-66 was and staying away.

As I see it, there are those arguing that putting in tolls will limit traffic on the road, thus curing the problem. That really doesn't solve anything, really. There are still gonna be lots of people needing to get to work. So, either they bite the bullet and pay the tolls, or they have to find alternative transportation. How is that supposed to work, without just sweeping the problem under the proverbial rug -- shifting it to other areas?

Take Metro? First, they have to get there. Is bus service a reasonable solution for most people? Is there a bus stop in easy walking distance? Is there regular service that would mean no long waits? If not, you will be burdening local roads with drivers to the Metro, assuming there is adequate parking there. What about light rail, or more extensive subways, like they have in Europe? That would be great. Please hand over your paychecks.

The question it seems to me is which problem are you trying to address? If you're trying to address the congestion -- which is a great idea -- widening the road is a start. However, it's not the solution to moving more commuters into the District.

Widening the road isn't enough, but the road does need additional capacity to relieve bottlenecks. Once that's done, the road-builders will no longer be able to pull out that card as the solution to all problems. At that point, Virginia will have to confront the need to modernize with much more mass transit. It's fine to have a Metro system that moves people down a line into the District. It's possible even to increase the capacity with more trains and longer trains. The problem is how to get more people to and from the Metro. That's the next step.

Both steps need to be taken, though. I-66 shouldn't be left as it is -- the bottlenecks are bad for quality of life, bad for the economy and bad for the environment. However, planners need to acknowledge that's not a solution to getting more commuters into the District. That's gonna require a more integrated mass transit system that makes it possible for more people to sue Metro and VRE. Virginia's gonna have to embrace light rail or more bus service that includes dedicated lanes.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on May 17, 2012 12:54 pm • linkreport

If Arlington was smart they would designate adjacent neighborhoods as historic districts. Then any federally funded highway project has to go through a Section 106 process and mitigation of adverse effects. That's good for a couple more years of study and fighting and ultimately might get them to a different Governor or heard before the President's Advisory Council on Historic Preservation which could kill the whole mess.

But everyone hates historic districts, so forget I gave you the solution.

by crin on May 17, 2012 12:56 pm • linkreport

Widening 66 or not comes down to transportation and land use policy and philosophy. On one side are the advocates for transit oriented development. On the other side are advocates for car oriented development. The two conflict and you really can't have both so a choice has to be made.

Arlington chose transit oriented development. That means restricting the number of cars coming into and driving around Arlington which is worse for drivers but better for everyone else. It's a tradeoff and a risky strategy that could have turned out badly. Instead, the strategy has been a categorical success based on virtually any objective metric. The question now is whether we continue on the path of success or change course. What is the argument for changing course?

On the other hand, areas of NoVA outside of the beltway have chosen auto-oriented development. They seem to think this is the best way to develop and admittedly, they've seen some success with this strategy but certainly not to the extent of transit oriented Arlington/DC. Why would it make any sense to impose outside the beltway NOVA's strategy on everyone else when its track record is not nearly as good?

While I wholeheartedly agree with Arlington's TOD strategy I don't agree with tolling 66 unless that money is recycled back to the areas where drivers who pay them live. The most likely situation is those tolls will be used to fund downstate priorities, so I oppose them as yet another wealth transfer from the successful areas of the state to the less successful parts.

I thought the spot improvements were completed already.

Only Phase I (of three) spot improvement are complete. It's worth noting that phase I caused ridiculous traffic backups that typically added 30 mins to a drive since 66 had to be taken down from 2 lanes to 1.

by Falls Church on May 17, 2012 12:57 pm • linkreport

Spending 60-65 percent of my monthly income on housing by moving closer is not a viable alternative

@Alternatives. It's a very interesting post you've made. You've carefully drawn out a long list of reasons you can't take transit (you've clearly tried to use it, or at least thought about it more than most people, which is admirable), yet haven't really elaborated on how or why living closer to your job is unaffordable. It would be interesting to know how you arrived at this conclusion -- whether you've taken into account ALL your transportation costs, the various neighborhood options, the prospect of downsizing a bit, and so forth.

There are a lot of people who have arrived at the foregone conclusion that they must/should/want to drive, and then rationalized that decision by superficially ruling out transit options that they had no real desire to take in the first place for fear that doing so might require some sort of lifestyle change for them. I can't say for sure that you're one of those people, but I can't rule it out either.

by Scoot on May 17, 2012 1:01 pm • linkreport

@Confused

The numbers I used are the anticipated volumes specific to the the Westpark Bridge exit. Other exits btw are 2 miles outside of Tysons and most tysons commuters would not see any benefit on getting off even at Route 7 if they work at Capital One, NG, Mitre, or Greensboro Drive (a large amount of the corporate workforce) (all of which would be 15 minutes from the route 7 exit).

So that 8000 is what is needed to help mitigate the 495 traffic as shown in the HOT lane models originally specific to that portion of Tysons (which has about 35,000 total commuters per day).

The problem becomes two fold

1) People will not use that exit because the left turn is a disaster, so either 5000ish additional people flood onto Route 7 daily which will muck up that exit, or 5000 users will remain on the regular 495 system all the way to Route 123 exit. Its 5000 because equilibrium will end up keeping the Westpark bridge at about 1/3 capacity(Likely scenario)
Net result, really only mitigation of 3000 users out of 35,000

2) Everyone still wants to use the westpark bridge exit, so they keep on HOT lane all the way, even though the last part is an extra 15 minutes. The queue backs up out of the ramp and into the HOT lanes themselves. Well but this is the end of the system who cares? The problem is in traffic the impact of the congestion is often amplified well back before the actual point of congestion. This is why we rarely see the phantom accidents or incidents. So even though the queue is only 3000-4000' of back up at peak hour, the impact of this queue will be felt miles back up the system which will effect peoples ability to also exit at Route 7.

Its just a dumb idea in the first place, no matter how big you make an entry pipe, if your point of constraint is unchangeable then your flow rate is basically unchanged. You are speeding up for 50% of the time, but then the last bit is just a serious drag that eliminates the benefit of all that speeding up.

by Tysons Engineer on May 17, 2012 1:05 pm • linkreport

I guess I have problems with the assumption that road usage will inevitably increase until it bogs down to a standstill. I think there's a reason why new highways fill up and it isn't because people move farther out putting more people on the road. While that happens, it's mostly because there's just more people and there aren't enough convenient alternatives.

Yes, we can put much more emphasis on smart growth, and we should. That would take out a lot of the incentive/need to get on the highways. However, there will always be limits on that. It's not enough to just increase density around transit. We must also invest to increase transit options. People will live outside of walking distance to a Metro station. We shouldn't just pave some roads and think that's all they're going to need. It's not. Moreover, if they have convenient alternatives, they will use them. That would keep the highways moving for those who need to drive for one reason or another.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on May 17, 2012 1:06 pm • linkreport

"Take Metro? First, they have to get there. Is bus service a reasonable solution for most people? Is there a bus stop in easy walking distance? Is there regular service that would mean no long waits? If not, you will be burdening local roads with drivers to the Metro, assuming there is adequate parking there."

the terminal station on the orange line is Vienna, which has off massive parking garages, and, IIRC off ramps from I66 almost right into the station. Certainly additional parking and improved access could be built for far less than I66 widening.

thats not even looking at the buses to Vienna metro from Centreville and Fair Oaks (yes, there are plenty) or the VRE from Manassas.

Is it incrementally costlier in time and money to the driver than a drive down the I66? Well sure, thats why people are driving now. Is it unfeasible? No, cause so many people are doing it.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 17, 2012 1:09 pm • linkreport

@Tysons Engineer -- Bottlenecks at exits are a problem, too, but isn't that a function of bad engineering? If real exit lanes were added to take cars out of traffic flow, well ahead of the exit, much of the backup could be avoided, no? Maybe widening in the entry pipe isn't enough, but that doesn't mean it's not part of a solution. What about improving the exits? Is that impossible?

by Fischy (Ed F.) on May 17, 2012 1:12 pm • linkreport

@TE

With two left turn lanes, 1800 cars per hour should be able to get through the light (30 cars per minute). I don't see backups occurring unless there is an accident.

It is in the toll road operators best interest to avoid backups and maximize revenue. VDOT needs to insure they are getting the most throughput for the revenue generated.

Since this is a PPP all the numbers should be available to the VDOT/public.

by mcs on May 17, 2012 1:14 pm • linkreport

"Spending 60-65 percent of my monthly income on housing by moving closer is not a viable alternative. Or I could spend less and take a chance with personal safety, which is not a viable alternative. And heaven forbid the neighborhood improves - then people will howl about "gentrification"."

We should spend a half billion on widening I66 in order to keep somebody in DC from complaining about gentrification? Im not sure how this makes sense as transportation planning.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 17, 2012 1:15 pm • linkreport

Actually, to be honest

Vienna metro is pretty much at full capacity. We are actually reaching a point in which the orange line is losing its ability to care people during peak hour also. This is going to be the next big project, and hopefully piggybacked on a orange line extension over the next 15 years. Point is, trains can't be crammed much closer together, and the trains are full during true peak. So if another 20,000 users are trying to get on, then people in Falls Church and Arlington are going to detrimentally be affected without a separation.

Instead of wasting 600 million on I-66 widening, we could be adding an independent parallel track to orange line to increase capacity, or we could take that 600 million and get part of the way to a new river crossing on metro. Hell they could put a new bridge if they wanted for road traffic too.

The point isnt to say NO to all roads, its to analyzed cost benefit, which is what VDOT did, and they themselves said that this project doesnt make cost benefit sense. If VDOT, WMATA, Arlington got together and said, these are the things that all of us together want, shared the structural costs of piers across the potomac, we could have a new road bridge crossing, a parallel system for orange line for double the capacity, and a new metro bridge from Arlington helping to relieve the future congestion of Silver/Blue/Orange all for 5 billion dollars. WHOA THATS A LOT OF MONEY, yea but you are addressing 3 really needed elements and sharing the cost between the 3 parties who benefit.

by Tysons Engineer on May 17, 2012 1:20 pm • linkreport

@Fischy, engineering cant fix it, when the solution is destroy property currently valued at 20 million dollars per acre and accruing 30 million dollars per year in tax revenue as a whole.

You can't build a springfield interchange in tysons, because by doing so you would have destroy the businesses that are the reason people are going there. Tear down Citibank, Tysons 1, Tysons 2, and Mitre and sure you can have an interchange... you would also be forcing those companies to relocate elsewhere and losing out on HUGE amounts of tax revenue.

by Tysons Engineer on May 17, 2012 1:22 pm • linkreport

Can anyone tell me why the heck the hybrid exemption was passed indefinitely? Take those cars off of 66 and most of the problems evaporate. Speaking as an HOV driver, there is no problem westbound on 66 in the evening, other than maybe a little congestion at Sycamore. In the morning it is all 267/DTR traffic making a mess. If they can redesign the Westmoreland/Lee Hwy exit and do a spot improvement to send a third lane to Ballston, traffic would be ok.

by Fred on May 17, 2012 1:24 pm • linkreport

MCS

That would mean cars are moving 4 seconds through the left turn light. Even when green cars go at 6 seconds through a left, add in the fact that this bridge is heavily traverse in current traffic patterns and therefore the light would not be infinitely green and this actually becomes closer to 2-3 seconds per car.

I did the math per lane which is why it comes out to 10 cars processed per minute (20 total) but the total users also wouldnt 2000 per lane, it would be 4000 total. Math comes out the same, I just did it on a per lane basis.

by Tysons Engineer on May 17, 2012 1:25 pm • linkreport

The hybrid exemption is no indefinite. Its already expiring.

And speaking as someone who watches the road traffic routinely, of course there is a HUGE mess on 66 westbound, it happens between Nutley and Route 50 and is a disaster and it has nothing to do with how wide the road is.

by Tysons Engineer on May 17, 2012 1:27 pm • linkreport

@TysonsEngineer

You have missed my point... A lot of this is strongly dependent on travel demand elasticity of VMT and host of other factors.

It is no where near as simple as David's statement.

by Some Ideas on May 17, 2012 1:28 pm • linkreport

The I66 hybrid exemption was not renewed last year nor this year. Only hybrids that had the exemption prior to last year still have it as they were grandfathered in.

by Falls Church on May 17, 2012 1:53 pm • linkreport

Even those grandfathered in only have until 2014 I believe correct? Then HOV-3 will eliminate that?

by Tysons Engineer on May 17, 2012 1:55 pm • linkreport

@ Alternatives - "If I move to a place which is closer to half my monthly income, I still have to take Metro - which can get me to work in a two-hour window that starts at 8am and ends at 10am, which is not a viable alternative, because my employer will not accept it."

What does that mean? Is your issue that your work starts at a time not served by metro, or are you saying that metro delays can regularly create a two-hour swing in commute time? As frustrating as metro can be in the morning, especially on the orange and red lines, I think a 2-hour "who knows!!!" window is hyperbolic, particularly when traffic accidents can have just as drastic an effect on commutes.

Most of your concerns resonate with me, but I just don't follow this one.

by worthing on May 17, 2012 1:56 pm • linkreport

My apologies for the use of the incorrect terminology, but there is no reason for hybrids to be able to use HOV lanes as SOV, whether they were previously allowed to or not.

by Fred on May 17, 2012 2:01 pm • linkreport

@Fred got this exactly right. I share his questions about the Clean Special Use exemption. I gave up on I-66 carpooling, because the road is choked with 28 MPG Toyota Highlander Hybrids with solo drivers.

This is much less of an issue in the evening commute now, because the "spot improvement" did work at untangling the merge from the Glebe Road ramp, so traffic at least flows freely during the p.m. HOV hours. A similar eastbound spot improvement from Falls Church to Fairfax Drive would probably untangle the morning HOV hours.

That's probably only a short-term solution, but phasing out the hybrid exemption would buy more time yet.

Happily for me, an Orange Line commute is a viable option. Sure Metro has bad days, but it's better than coordinating my schedule with carpool buddy, only to sit in stop & go traffic anyway.

As others have noted, though, the Orange Line is already pretty much at capacity, so that's not a solution for everyone. And as soon as the Silver Line trains start running, fewer trains will originate at Vienna, making those trains crowded, indeed.

by c5karl on May 17, 2012 2:05 pm • linkreport

Kill the silver line (unneeded boondoggle), and put the money into widening 66 from DC to Gainesville.

by sheeful76 on May 17, 2012 2:07 pm • linkreport

Spending 60-65 percent of my monthly income on housing by moving closer is not a viable alternative

A 2 bedroom apartment in South Arlington can easily be had for $1500/month. A dual-income family would need to make $25K per person to be spending 35% of their income on rent.

Here's an example of a 975 sq ft 2 bedroom apt in Arlington. It would take 32 mins to get to Farragut Square via transit from here:

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/apa/3019112669.html

by Falls Church on May 17, 2012 2:07 pm • linkreport

I agree, this was really a incentive to get people to trade in their old SUVs and get hybrids. After everyone and their mom got one, it sorta defeated the point of the HOV in the first place. Now 35% of households have a hybrid vehicle... so they are ending that exemption because it serves no purpose anymore. They can't drop it all together all at once, because they kind of said it would be around for a while and people made purchases based on that availability.

Soon to be gone

by Tysons Engineer on May 17, 2012 2:07 pm • linkreport

I do not believe a reduction of trains is occurring at vienna. Trains will be paced at the junction point without requiring any fewer trains for the orange line.

Still, orange line is at capacity for peak hours, and the orange/blue/silver tunnel will be at capacity the day silver line opens (no more trains could possible get through that tunnel).

Lets build a bridge, get a metro down the center of it or hung below it, incorporate shared bridge piers to share the cost, and get a solution that helps both road and metro users. Unfortunately if you say the words metro or mass transit to officials in Richmond they cringe and call you a commie.

by Tysons Engineer on May 17, 2012 2:11 pm • linkreport

I do not believe a reduction of trains is occurring at vienna. Trains will be paced at the junction point without requiring any fewer trains for the orange line.

Actually, there will be a reduction on the orange line between Vienna and EFC. The Rosslyn tunnel is at its max capacity of 26 trains per hour (orange + blue). Every new Silver train means one less orange or blue train through the Rosslyn tunnel.

The only solution to the Rosslyn bottleneck is an additional Potomac metro crossing.

by Falls Church on May 17, 2012 2:19 pm • linkreport

is the orange line at capacity west of EFC? I thought it was more crowded further in.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 17, 2012 2:24 pm • linkreport

is the orange line at capacity west of EFC? I thought it was more crowded further in.

It's not but if you take away several trains between Vienna and WFC, it will be at capacity. The Silver Line planners are counting on a lot of the people who come into WFC by long distance bus to start going to Silver Line stations instead (probably the Reston one is the only station in Phase I that will have sufficient space to create a large bus dock similar to the north side of WFC). There will also hopefully be good bus service to the 4 Tysons stations which will also reduce the number of folks entering the system at WFC.

by Falls Church on May 17, 2012 2:30 pm • linkreport

@Tysons Engineer
Instead of wasting 600 million on I-66 widening, we could be adding an independent parallel track to orange line to increase capacity, or we could take that 600 million and get part of the way to a new river crossing on metro. Hell they could put a new bridge if they wanted for road traffic too.

Unfortunately 600 million is at least an order of magnitude away from enough to address any of the ideas you mention. As a civil engineer, what would you do with that money if it dropped in your lap tomorrow? Widening 66 might not be the right answer, but building 1/10th of a huge project is definitely not the right answer.

by movement on May 17, 2012 2:31 pm • linkreport

"Actually, there will be a reduction on the orange line between Vienna and EFC. The Rosslyn tunnel is at its max capacity of 26 trains per hour (orange + blue). Every new Silver train means one less orange or blue train through the Rosslyn tunnel."

Well there you go, dang i feel bad for the people of the orange line who have basically kept metro fiscally solvent, without orange line riders metro would be in really bad shape financially.

Then let me begin my tirade right now, WE NEED ANOTHER CROSSING of the potomac.

A road crossing? Yes!
A metro crossing? Yes!!
Can they be combined, YES FOR GODS SAKE THEY CAN COEXIST IN THE SAME BRIDGE CROSSING!!!

The Royal Scotsman Crossing
http://www.flickr.com/photos/brizo_the_scot/4552275882/

Ignore the industrial architecture, it can be done with modern design (or insitu to match existing DC bridges architecturally).

The reason it hasnt been done is because the design/budget groups don't get along, hurting all of us actual residents. VDOT doesnt even talk to Department of Rail and Public Transit in Virginia (because its a tiny little agency), let alone WMATA, Maryland DOT, and DC DOT about the possibility of a joint venture.

If each jurisdiction takes on a portion of the funding, +private investment from developers along this corridor, and maybe an agreement that the bridge will be tolled until the DOTs have been paid back for the capital investment then this could become a reality within a decade. Unfortunately this world is full of politicians who could care less if it CAN be done, and care more about painting certain groups as villains an themselves as heroes.

by Tysons Engineer on May 17, 2012 2:33 pm • linkreport

@movement

Seeing as the state is only funding 150 million of the phase 2 project, then of course 600 million can go a long way. People over estimate how much of the funding for mass transit HAS to come from the public. If I had 600 million, I would provide it as the states share towards a RAIL/BRIDGE combined crossing of the potomac. Talk to other partners in the region including MDOT/Maryland planners who would want a road bridge crossing if it came with a train crossing also and would also contribute towards this, as well as to WMATA who obviously would want the new train crossing. Bring the feds into this as it will provide relief to the evacuation route in a real manner (by a new bridge) etc.

Yes 600 million by itself won't build much. But seeing as its 4 times more than silver line phase 2 has, we can get creative with it to make it stretch alot further and do a lot more good for the network as a whole.

by Tysons Engineer on May 17, 2012 2:37 pm • linkreport

David Alpert wrote:

"The CLRP also includes some projects which will help in the I-66 corridor but have no funding today, like lengthening all Metro trains to 8 cars and adding new bus service in the area. Hopefully these will happen, but there's no guarantee."

This statement is factually incorrect; the CLRP is financially constrained, and these I-66 corridor transit improvements are not in the CLRP because they have no currently identified funding. Running all 8-car trains during peak periods on the Orange and Silver lines and additional express bus service and TDM measures for the I-66 corridor, however, were recommended in an earlier VDRPT Bus Transit and TDM study for the I-66 corridor, so the current I-66 study included all of these unfunded recommendations in its baseline for 2040, even though they are not in the CLRP. Thus, the baseline for the current study is called "CLRP+", to distinguish it from the CLRP proper.

By fabricating a 2040 baseline with 1) HOV3+ on I-66, 2) the completion of all CLRP-funded projects (including all three I-66 "spot" improvements and both phases of Dulles Rail), AND 3) a host of additional transit service and TDM measures with no currently identified funding, this study has compared every alternative to a corridor roadway network that is much less congested than today.

Furthermore, the traffic model used assumed no cheating on the HOV3+ requirement, so I-66 in the baseline is unrealistically uncongested, and conversion to HOT "adds" considerable SOV and HOV-2 traffic to I-66. In reality, however, the change from HOV3+ to HOT would generate much less traffic and would likely increase ridesharing and transit use.

by Allen Muchnick on May 17, 2012 3:43 pm • linkreport

Another correction to the article: The meeting this past Tuesday was for "participating agencies" only and not for "citizen stakeholders". As best as I can determine, I was the only ordinary citizen present.

by Allen Muchnick on May 17, 2012 3:53 pm • linkreport

@Tysons Engineer
I see no reason to believe the feds are itching to get involved in these kinds of projects. Federal money for big transportation projects is only going to decrease, not increase.

Maryland wanting a Potomac crossing? You've got to be kidding. I've seen no indication that they would support anything of the sort. The fat cats don't want anyone messing with their neighborhoods.

by movement on May 17, 2012 4:12 pm • linkreport

"The national highways were not set up so that everyones lazy and cheap butts can live miles away and commute to work, they were made so the army could reposition itself whenever needed and so that evacuation routes from major cities were preserved."
------
Which the roads in this region would fail miserably at - thanks in large part to NIMBY's.

Thanks for reminding us.

by ceefer66 on May 17, 2012 4:15 pm • linkreport

"It is worth to point out here that during rush hour, the orange line already moves more people along I-66 than I-66 itself. "
---

That's because MOST people can't use I-66 during rush hour.

What else would you expect?

by ceefer66 on May 17, 2012 4:22 pm • linkreport

@movement

I believe that any new rail crossing would go Rosslyn-DC, most likely a split Blue Line that would run along M or P St, a la the "Metro Fantasy Map" that GGW published a while back, so it would not include Maryland.

I would assume this would be the Three Sisters, with the Blue Line attached, and having the highway connect to the Whitehurst - as originally planned - and sending the Blue Line into a tunnel that starts underneath Georgetown University.

I have no idea what the feasibility is of convincing the Olds in Gtown that tunnels won't collapse their $2 million 800 sq townhomes, but from what I can glean, this would be the ultimate plan

PS DOWN WITH THE TECHWAY/OUTER BELTWAY

by Matthew B on May 17, 2012 4:25 pm • linkreport

There could be a connection done to separate silver and an express orange line north near Chain Bridge to connect to the red line. This would be the best location for a shared road and metro crossing.

Maryland has opposed road bridge crossings (mostly because of our db's in Richmond strong arming the issue), a metro crossing that would connect them to Arlington and Tysons without needing to go into Downtown DC would likely be something they would be interested in, and could be connected with purple line if this crossing went along the Chain Bridge crossing. We receive an additional way across the river, would help turn Bethesda into a secondary hub to Metro Center (which would likely interest maryland enough to contribute an equal share as VA).

I have no idea if the parties would agree to any of this, but we do need another bridge crossing, and a lot of people think we need another bridge crossing. If we eventually are going to do both, lets fricken do them at the same time and save everyone a lot of money and annoyance by getting bipartisan consensus.

by Tysons Engineer on May 17, 2012 6:08 pm • linkreport

The above would not be the best for a metro only crossing, and it wouldn't be the optimal location for the ghost project outer beltway crossing. But I think if people looked at the mitigated traffic of this location it could be the most efficient combined system. Silver line would be separated along with some of orange, Arlington would be able to send alot more of their own orange line through to DC for its own residence and with half of the orange line diverted the blue line can also cross better with that Arlington orange.

by Tysons Engineer on May 17, 2012 6:10 pm • linkreport

@ceefer66: sorry, they are most certainly capabile of using 66 during rush hour: there is nothing stopping those drivers from joining a carpool. They simply choose not to.

by Froggie on May 17, 2012 8:04 pm • linkreport

@X: Most people on 66 east get off in Ballston and the road opens up greatly between there and the District. A 3rd lane between the Toll Road and Fairfax Drive makes sense to avoid 4 lanes merging into 2 over a relatively short period of time. Likewise, it would help in the other direction. The additional lane they just added westbound does little to help traffic because they have it painted as an exit and does little to help through traffic since it goes right back to two lanes. Because they have it painted as an exit, people are reluctant to let others merge at the end, so only the dicks use it.

3 LANES from the TOLL ROAD to FAIRFAX DRIVE...leave the rest alone.

by xtr657 on May 18, 2012 7:51 am • linkreport

Maryland has opposed road bridge crossings (mostly because of our db's in Richmond strong arming the issue)

I think the opposition to a road bridge crossing has more to do with MoCo open space policy than culture war issues. Building a high-throughput commuter route anywhere between Cabin John and Point of Rocks would effectively put an end to the Agricultural Preserve.

http://g.co/maps/at2mj

Most Marylanders oppose it because the idea of turning that area into the Hellscape that is the Leesburg-Tysons corridor fills them with revulsion.

by oboe on May 18, 2012 9:27 am • linkreport

"Most Marylanders oppose it because the idea of turning that area into the Hellscape that is the Leesburg-Tysons corridor fills them with revulsion."
----

"Most Marylanders"? Really?

As someone who actually does live in Maryland and follow Maryland issues, I can tell you that the opposition to a Potomac crossing between ther American Legion Bridge and Point of Rocks is limited strictly to those relative few who suffer from the acute paranioa that the Agricultural Preserve would somehow be "forever destroyed" if an express highway was put anywhere near their large weekend country homes - as if they never heard of zoning restrictions.

The vast majority in Maryland are sick of the traffic - and the forces that keep us from fixing it. That's why the ICC eventually got built in spite of the efforts to block its construction and that's why they want an additional Potomac crossing.

As for Point of Rocks, the State has long supported an improved crossing at that location.

by ceefer66 on May 18, 2012 9:45 am • linkreport

@froggie:

" sorry, they are most certainly capabile of using 66 during rush hour: there is nothing stopping those drivers from joining a carpool. They simply choose not to."
-----

You assume they all have have a choice.

Carpooling is for people who are travelling to/from the same place at the same time. Thanks to flexible work hours and varying locations, it doesn't work for everyone.

Duhhhh.

by ceefer66 on May 18, 2012 9:51 am • linkreport

Most Marylanders oppose it because the idea of turning that area into the Hellscape that is the Leesburg-Tysons corridor fills them with revulsion.

I would think the solution to that concern would be to run it from the bridge to 270 or Germantown or where ever without any exits and leave the Agricultural Preserve land-use restrictions in place. The huge number of Marylanders commuting to/from Virginia would still reap significant benefits and the effects of the highway would be limited to a narrow corridor within earshot.

Not to mention that making whatever transitway is built as part of the route nonstop for a significant chunk of the route would make the travel times even more attractive as a car alternative.

by Arl Fan on May 18, 2012 9:56 am • linkreport

@Arl Fan,

Good point. It could connect to the existing ICC.

by ceefer66 on May 18, 2012 10:43 am • linkreport

1. even with no exits, the highway to connect from the bridge to the ICC would impact the ag reserve

2. The temptation to politicians to add exits, under pressure from developers, would be huge. IIUC there are other examples of highways that were supposed to have limited exits, but the pols caved.

3. If there is a groundswell of opinion on Md in support of this bridge, I'd like to see the links.

4. The greatest congestion between NoVa and MoCo is on the beltway, and leads to Tysons, NOT to the upper techway. Adding capacity at the American Legion bridge, such as extension of the HOT lanes, seems like the best and most likely way to add vehicle capacity accross the river. Add to that a Purple line connection into NoVa (probably upriver of Chain Bridge though, I think)

5. More important than that is an additional metrorail connection from Arlington to DC

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 18, 2012 10:55 am • linkreport

@worthing:
I'm saying there's a two-hour window in which I might arrive. For the four years I was taking the Metro there was indeed a large window I could arrive in, and the window widened slowly from 35 minutes to nearly 90 minutes at the end of my Orange Line tenure. I agree that accidents are bad (or worse), but there are often parallel routes that I could take. There's no redundancy or ability to get off a train that's broken somewhere between the Falls Churches, for instance.

@Tyson Engineer
We downsized from about 1700 sqft to 1100 about five years ago and continue to look for a smaller place. We're dematerializing very rapidly - we're digitizing and recycling photos, magazine clippings, movies, audio discs and replacing physical books with digital copies before donating at the rate of about 100 lbs a week, and we're coming up to our second full year of doing this. But we did spend about six months a year ago looking for a place (we were looking at places that ran $3200 for 900 sqft in Adams Morgan) and if it wasn't the landlord being a complete ass, it was the piss-poor design of the place. We looked at a place that had six diagonal walls where you couldn't put furniture against that nominally was marked as 980 sqft, but in reality had about 750 sqft of usable space.

Ultimately, what the exercise revealed to us was that we were not unhappy about the place (a low-rise community in walking distance of the Dunn Loring Metro Station), but the commute. It was making us miserable to be in a vomit-inducing start-stop ride which was unpredictable and ridiculously expensive, especially compared to our experience living in Chicago, and visiting Singapore, New York, Toronto and a host of other places. The straw that broke the camel's back was the peak-of-the-peak fares: I had no ability to change my working hours and this was just a further screwing in our opinion. Post work-subsidy, the two of us were paying $350 for a ride that was making us miserable. We started driving more and buying larger and larger carbon credits, and while I loathe traffic, unless there is something truly horrific on I-66, our commute is predictably between 25-35 minutes, door-to-door. To address Worthing's point above, if there is a problem, Google Maps and VDOT's cameras can show us and we re-route ourselves on to 29 or 50 or the GW Parkway, adding a few minutes, but not an hour+.

The long term solution is indeed more housing closer in (affordable housing, mind you) and perhaps considering additional core capacity by extending stations. A medium term solution would be 100% 8-car trains being run on a tight schedule (though sadly this should be a short-term solution) and BRT in a dedicated median lane. And short-term fixes include letting the CSF exemption to HOV-2 expire and strict daily enforcement of HOV-2 instead of BS show of force crackdowns every six months, with a clear definition of what "using the airport" means.

You do those two short-term things, and it'll substantially clear up I-66, without needing expansion.

PS - Hilarious captcha: occasionally affordable

by Alternatives on May 18, 2012 11:27 am • linkreport

@ceefer: I never said it would work for everybody, but even with flex schedules, you're drastically understimating the number of people who could carpool. Again, they simply choose not to.

by Froggie on May 18, 2012 11:49 am • linkreport

The assumption that the road expansion is driven by commuters is wrong. Check out I66 during any rush: it pretty uncongested in the HOV direction. But in the anti-commuting direction, it is backed up. That means it is other, incidental trips that is what is causing the problem.

by goldfish on May 18, 2012 12:05 pm • linkreport

That means it is other, incidental trips that is what is causing the problem.

How did you reach this conclusion?

Knowing the large number of folks that reverse-commute from their homes in Arlington or DC to jobs in burbs, I think the commuter is still a huge part of that congestion.

by Alex B. on May 18, 2012 12:10 pm • linkreport

@Alex B: not all trips are commuting. The only reason I am on I66 is to see my physician (I was on it just today, btw). And seeing that morning outbound traffic is worse than the inbound traffic, you will quickly understand that HOV debate has little to do with what is causing the congestion.

by goldfish on May 18, 2012 12:17 pm • linkreport

Of course not all trips are commute trips, but that still doesn't provide any logic to your statement that AM outbound congestion must be from incidental trips.

by Alex B. on May 18, 2012 12:28 pm • linkreport

@Alex B, My only point is that traditionally assumed commuting patterns are not what is causing the congestion, and all of the arguments about the parallel Metro capacity (ie., "instead of widening I-66 we should expand metro!") are irrelevant to what is causing the congestion. My observation that congestion in the anti-commuting direction is worse, proves this. Got anything to add?

by goldfish on May 18, 2012 12:36 pm • linkreport

and all of the arguments about the parallel Metro capacity (ie., "instead of widening I-66 we should expand metro!") are irrelevant to what is causing the congestion.

Again, I don't think this conclusion is supported by evidence. "Prooves" is a pretty strong word. You've got an interesting hypothesis, perhaps. I still don't know that the evidence supports it, however.

Will Metro help you reverse commute to a job in a Chantilly office park? No. But it will help you reverse commute to Tysons. It will provide the infrastructure so that land use can change and develop around stations such that reverse commutes would be possible in the future.

by Alex B. on May 18, 2012 12:48 pm • linkreport

@Alex, Clearly you are not on this road very much. I66 is congested most of the time, such as on Saturdays and Sundays, when people are NOT commuting. Put "commuting" out of your mind -- the congestion is caused by other transportation needs.

by goldfish on May 18, 2012 12:53 pm • linkreport

I'm on that road from time to time, and its often free flowing on weekends. Lately its often not due to construction, which is often done on weekends or at night.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 18, 2012 12:59 pm • linkreport

Clearly you are not on this road very much. I66 is congested most of the time, such as on Saturdays and Sundays, when people are NOT commuting.

I am on 66 plenty and I can tell you the morning and afternoon congestion in the direction opposite the traditional commuting pattern is likely commuters from DC/Arlington going to jobs in Tysons/Reston. I used to be one of those people and the evidence is that the "anti-commute" direction congestion on weekdays coincides perfectly with morning and afternoon commuting times.

These days I often use WFC metro station to go in traditional commuting direction. Based on my observation, there are very significant numbers of people getting off at WFC coming from Arlington/DC in the morning, further reinforcing the notion of a popular reverse commute pattern.

Yes, 66 is backed up on the weekends too. I'd agree those are not commuting trips.

The bottom line is that adding road capacity/cars to Arlington/DC would be counter to their strategy of limiting the number of cars in those areas, making them more friendly to non-car locomotion. Their strategy has worked very well for them and it would be dumb to force them to change something that works so well. Also, it's not possible to have a place be simultaneously friendly to car and non-car transportation. They are in direct conflict, so a choice has to be made.

Also, what I don't understand, why is it that people from the car-oriented parts of the area are so desperate to travel to the pinko-commie places they despise so much? If you think transit-oriented places are giving you a big middle finger because they're not friendly to your car-oriented ways...don't go there!

Get a different job or move someplace else. But, if you go to Rome, act like a Roman. Assimilate to the culture. In Arlington/DC, that usually means leaving your car at the border and using other means for transportation.

by Falls Church on May 18, 2012 1:57 pm • linkreport

Alternatives, thanks for the response.

"I'm saying there's a two-hour window in which I might arrive. For the four years I was taking the Metro there was indeed a large window I could arrive in, and the window widened slowly from 35 minutes to nearly 90 minutes at the end of my Orange Line tenure."

I guess I just never experienced this, despite leaving from Ballston to various office locations in DC for about 5 years, before I finally moved into the city. In 5 years, I think I had one day where my commute to work took about 40 minutes extra. It was in June 2007, it was about 90 degrees out, and the AC on the car was broken. To paraphrase Sir Charles Barkley, it was turrrrrible. Other than that though, I never experienced conditions that included that degree of variability.

Coming home from work was a different, often more frustrating story. But getting in...even the 35-minute deviation that you suggest as normal is baffling to me.

by worthing on May 18, 2012 2:08 pm • linkreport

I only perused the comments, but some people seem to be worried about where the traffic goes if you add in congestion pricing. One great thing about CP is that it raises revenue. So, you use that revenue to provide transit options. Set up places along I-66 where drivers can park and catch a bus into the city. Make the parking cheap and the bus free. The money for the subsidy comes from the people who choose to drive. Everybody wins.

by David C on May 18, 2012 2:31 pm • linkreport

Assimilate to the culture. In Arlington/DC, that usually means leaving your car at the border and using other means for transportation.

Most people in DC drive places, at least some of the time.

by goldfish on May 18, 2012 2:34 pm • linkreport

Whether bias or not -- it is the voters and taxpayers who desire the widening. Remember, it is not wider now because of some of the early environmental radicals in the Federal government back in the 1970's. The 2-lanes were a compromise...and a bad one. I-66 made what Ballston to Courthouse have become..there was no other access to north Arlington is those days but narrow secondary roads. As a user of I-66 one time per day...let me say it needs to be widened. Other suggestions are pie-in-the-sky theory of urban planners who have college degrees but little common sense...and virtually no appreciation for taxpayers.

by Pelham1861 on May 18, 2012 3:43 pm • linkreport

Seriously...anyone who has the temerity to argue with "
Just move or get another job" has already lost the argument. I mean...the temerity of such a statement makes me roll my eyes.

It also is a clear indicator that the so called urbanist transit sect are generally young folks with unimportant jobs one can quit and replace on a whim, living the single life without attachments. Not exactly the folks qualified to be making regional, or even ultra local decisions on anything fundamental.

I am sorry, but I bought my house in a location that offered access to quality schools and that was an even compromise between the jobs my wife and myself have. Unlike your 35K a job year running the copy machine at Living Social, my 210K a year job, or my wifes 170K /yr jobs aren't ones you can just "quit" so I can move 15 miles closer.

I also prefer not to pretend like I am some urban pioneer, moving into a quasi ghetto thats close to transit and run down bars charging 8 bucks a pint, then spending every waking moment blogging about the crime and trash you have to endure on a daily basis.

Personally, I could afford to move pretty much were I want but most of the world can't afford to simply buy and sell their homes 20 miles from the last every time they get a job somewhere.

Over the years, my office has moved locations that have added to my commute, but again dealing with such things are generally what adults do. I am not going to sell my house and move my kids schools every time I want to shave 10 miles off my commute.

Frankly, the ROW already exists for a 3rd lane on 66 inside hte beltway to the Potomac, for most of the way and the rest isn't exactly hard to come by, We are talking about a 10 lane, not rebuilding Rome. The parking lot and the prodigious pollution caused by the thousands of waiting or stop and go cars does far more damage to Arlington's quality of life than adding a lane in the existing ROW.

Folks here want to toll drivers to pay for transit improvements. Assuming that was a good idea with utility for a second, realists among us realize that any improvements whether than be dedicated bus lanes or addition metro lines would all be a minimum of a 10-15 years away from actual implementation (we are 16 years into the Silverline and that ROW already existing and the plan to extend it to Dulles has been on paper for 35 years), so these solutions do nothing to address the problems that exist now.

"Move closer or get another job"...what a crock.

by thenerve on May 18, 2012 3:51 pm • linkreport

@DavidC,

Pray tell where inside the beltway would you recommend building massive parking lots for these supposed future transit users?

And I find it hard to believe that the same folks here recommending these options to 66, are the same ones who would be on board with using such valuable land inside said betway for such pedantic and low density use as a parking lot.

by parking on May 18, 2012 4:03 pm • linkreport

@thenerve

Your situation describes the exact sort of price we as a society are paying for the shitty land use decisions of the past 50 years. Your company moves further away because it's "cheaper" - it's really not if you consider total costs; they save in land prices and take those savings directly out of their employees pockets by making them pay more in dollars and time to commute.

MORE LANES may solve your problem right now for a few years, but wait 5 years and those same lanes will be filled with the traffic created by people drawn to outer areas by the easy commute. Alternatively we could try to build an environment that encourages employers to cluster in transit accessible places so people can have better commutes. It actually isn't about people buying and selling their homes every time they get a new job - it's about getting employers and people located in places so that when you change jobs you can easily get pretty much anywhere.

If we continue to build the way we have been for the last 50 years - more lanes, more highways, more spread out everything, with everyone sitting alone in their car taking up unnecessary amounts of space, just wait. Wait until your kids are your age, or their kids are your age. They'll be looking down the barrel of some even worse problems. Because instead of investing in moving people efficiently, we'll have invested in a model that moves people as inefficiently as possible.

by MLD on May 18, 2012 4:33 pm • linkreport

@Parking

why INSIDE the beltway? most of those cars are coming from OUTSIDE the beltway. Park and rides in Vienna, Fair Oaks, Centreville, Chantilly, etc would do the job.

@The nerve

People are trying to come up with choices. It may not be rebuilding Rome, but its a half billion bucks (and no, that wont transform things right NOW either). Suggesting that, among other things, people's job and location choices have to respond, seems reasonable. Now that's easier for some people than for others, but that's okay because the auto capacity that's there will be allocated (by price) to those who need it most.

"I also prefer not to pretend like I am some urban pioneer, moving into a quasi ghetto thats close to transit and run down bars charging 8 bucks a pint, then spending every waking moment blogging about the crime and trash you have to endure on a daily basis."

You can prefer whatever you want. The question is, does it make sense to spend a half billion bucks to respond to that preference? Sometimes it does, and sometimes it does not. An emotional rant really doesn't make the case though.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 18, 2012 4:37 pm • linkreport

I didn't say my offices moved further out. By urbanist conventions my company has done the more responsible thing and moved closer and closer in, hence my drive downtown now. Doesn't change my situation now.

Peoples jobs move. There are probably 100K government consultants in the region (I am not one), and many if not most go from contract to contract every few years and are required to be embedded in their agencies offices. How does this scenario which affects an enormous chunk of the working population in town fit into the urbanists preferred model?

You say the lanes will be just as choked? In 5 years. That would remain to be seen, but it is better than sitting back for decades trying to fiddle with unproven urbanist fantasys like congestion pricing that only serve to punish people in the short term for unproven long term "promises".

You can't change 40 years of what you perceive to be poor planning in a couple of years. Tinking you can only ignores the stark reality that there are tens of thousands of people who waste millions of man hours a year, totaling the equivalent of billions of dollars stuck in the parking lot that is 66. Adding a lane to most of 66 inside the beltway is childs play and could be done in a year.

Your solutions, even if they were agreed upon today would be 15 years before implementation (if they worked at all).

by thenerve on May 18, 2012 4:43 pm • linkreport

The Nerve,

Please tell me what the max allowable commute is (in time or in mileage)so I know when its time to suggest for someone to move. To me it seems kind of incredible that people move 30-40 miles because they feel they can get more for their money and expect that their life style will remain the same. Especially when that savings will be spent on transportation.

I don't think its good policy for the state to spend millions and billions that would basically subsidize high mileage commutes.

People move because of jobs all the time. It's pretty much the overarching reason people move.

I'm sorry your company has moved you around a lot but that doesn't help make the case for spending half billion dollars on a few miles of road that could be better spent on a plethora of other things.

by X on May 18, 2012 4:52 pm • linkreport

@Awalkerinthecity,

"does it make sense to spend a half billion bucks to respond to that preference?"

I dunno, does it make sens to spend 7 billion dollars, half of which is paid for directly by drivers on your preferred preference (Silverline)?

And you are being blind if you think it has anything to do with "preference". Everyone I know would love to live in a nice big home on a big lot in Kalorama DC and walk to work in Dupont while sending their kids to Sidwell Friends for school, but this is the real world where people have to deal with pesky things like budgets and compromise.

by thenerve on May 18, 2012 4:52 pm • linkreport

"That would remain to be seen, but it is better than sitting back for decades trying to fiddle with unproven urbanist fantasys like congestion pricing that only serve to punish people in the short term for unproven long term "promises"."

actually congestion pricing is an economists idea, not particularly an urbanists one. And its been adopted less because officials are wowed by economists, than because they dont have the funds for all the highways folks want. And its been used on highways in several parts of the country, its not unproven (though how it works in very given case will vary)

As for people who change jobs - what do you think happens to someone who loses a professional job in say Cleveland, and the only place they can get a new one is Chicago, or Pittsburgh. Does the govt pay for their daily airplane flights? NO. They move. thats life in a capitalist economy. Folks in certain fields in DC are fortunate to have many jobs in their professions in the same metro area. However if they are going to change jobs from working in Reston say, to downtown, or Reston to Gaithersburg, yes, theres a possibility they will have to move. Its not economical to build a transportation system that accommodates them 100%

However doing the spot improvements on I66, adding CP, and adding transit on rte 50, will go a considerable way to accommodating people, as has been discussed.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 18, 2012 4:55 pm • linkreport

And are we seriously questioning if mass transit works in a city/region with the second high passenger volume on its rail system? One of the more extensive rail systems in the country? And that the people who are driving on 66 are the absolutely last hold outs and won't take transit even if it becomes a more viable option to them?

Again, there's a cost to whatever decision both the state and you or I make. If you choose to live further out (and its not like someone promised an expansion and the reneged) then thats fine. But if you try to convince me that it is in the state's interest to invest money then you're going to have a larger burden of proof than "why should I have to move?".

by X on May 18, 2012 4:56 pm • linkreport

"I dunno, does it make sens to spend 7 billion dollars, half of which is paid for directly by drivers on your preferred preference (Silverline)?"

given the numbers transported, plus the impact on development patterns, I would say so. I'm not going to rehash the Silver line cost benefit issues, that would be better on a Silver Line thread. However those are things that its reasonable to discuss. I can certainly see cases against particular transit lines. I don't take technical disagreements about the extent of benefits as personal affronts.

as for the financing, I think it would have been appropriate for the COmmonwealth to kick in far more. But thats not how its happened. Which has nothing to do with the cost benefit - it does make me wonder if you are someone who posts about that a lot under a different handle.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 18, 2012 5:01 pm • linkreport

@thenerve,

You nailed it with the "move closer" response!

by ceefer66 on May 18, 2012 5:07 pm • linkreport

I thought that the agreement to build I-66 in the first place -- which was hammered out by Congress -- limited the road to being a parkway. And when it opened, it was indeed a beautifully landscaped road. But look at it now! It's an overgrown mess. If the road were somebody's front yard, the county would slap a clean-it-or-lein-it order on it.

by Arnold Berke on May 18, 2012 5:35 pm • linkreport

Arnold, you're absolutely right, but like preservation laws,gentlemen agreements require gentlemen, a rare breed in today's Virginia politics. Can Arlington seccede away from Virginia and back to the loving embrace from the city from which it originated and now draws much of it's culture?

by Thayer-D on May 18, 2012 7:23 pm • linkreport

Tolls, of course, force an economic diversion of existing traffic to non-toll roads like Route 7 & Routes 29 & 50, actually creating more vehicle miles driven by diverting drivers. The result may even be quicker travel times on I-66, but increased congestion everywhere else.

by Nighthawk222204 on May 18, 2012 10:05 pm • linkreport

I-66 inside the beltway need to be improved without expanding its footprint. It took generations to partly heal the neighborhoods from the creation I-66 inside the beltway and it is still a crude gash through one of the nations’ most prime living and working cities, Arlington. Neither DC or Arlington need a larger footprint for I-66 from the beltway to Constitution Avenue. Such a brutal and damaging change to the area will be much more expensive and damaging than can possibly be predicted by the traffic quants. On the other hand, in both directions this short spur needs as many lanes as is physically possible, more visual screening between the tracks and the cars, better metering of the ramps in both directions, and more careful monitoring in real time with new reliable active signage. Making I-66 inside the beltway smarter and more perfect is the right thing to do as it will help eliminate jams of idling cars which are the most polluting and help eliminate accidents. Get smart(er) please.

by Alex on May 19, 2012 6:20 am • linkreport

@Alex,

Compare the areas of North Arlington with the "crude gash" of I-66 with the areas of NE that werre "saved" by canceling I-95 through DC. Use any factor you want - crime, life epectancy, property value, etc. Where would YOU rather live of have your sister's car break down?

BTW, North Arlington didn't take "generations" to "heal" from the "trauma" of I-66 construction. The road was completed in 1986. Within 3 years, one would have never known,considering the landscaping and the trail, that I-66 was a recently-constructed road.

Talk about a stretch!

by ceefer66 on May 21, 2012 7:45 am • linkreport

Compare the areas of North Arlington with the "crude gash" of I-66 with the areas of NE that werre "saved" by canceling I-95 through DC. Use any factor you want - crime, life epectancy, property value, etc. Where would YOU rather live of have your sister's car break down?

There might just be a few confounding variables in that equation. Maybe.

The road was completed in 1986. Within 3 years, one would have never known,considering the landscaping and the trail, that I-66 was a recently-constructed road.

Except for the fact that, you know, it's there.

by Alex B. on May 21, 2012 9:27 am • linkreport

"Except for the fact that, you know, it's there"
---
So THAT'S your problem.

Not that the road was built in a manner that mitigated damage and provided amenities (transit and a trail) - at considerable extra cost. It's that the road exists in the first place. What a narrow view.

I would dare say that in addition to Metro, the existence of I-66 which provides easy auto access to DC and to the west is largely responsible for North Arlington's desirability.

As I mentioned, much more so than the areas in DC that were "saved" by canceling I-95 (which, BTW, was planned to be configured in the same manner as I-66).

But who cares? To hear you tell it, if you had your way, no urban freeways would ever be built.

Good thing you don't have your way.

by ceefer66 on May 21, 2012 1:47 pm • linkreport

Not that the road was built in a manner that mitigated damage and provided amenities (transit and a trail) - at considerable extra cost. It's that the road exists in the first place. What a narrow view.

First, that was a different Alex who posted initially.

Second, no - it's not that the road exists, exactly. Your statement made it seem like the negative effects were solely from construction. My point is that the scar remains, and the road is that scar.

But who cares? To hear you tell it, if you had your way, no urban freeways would ever be built.

Yeah, pretty much. Urban freeways were really bad ideas all around. They were extraordinarily expensive and provided little benefit to the cities they ran through, all while imposing tremendous costs.

DC was lucky that they were able to translate a great deal of their federal interstate money into the Metro system. If every other city had been so lucky as to have stopped the freeways at a beltway-esque ring road and built a subway network instead, our American core cities would've been much better off.

by Alex B. on May 21, 2012 1:52 pm • linkreport

Highways provide no benefit to cities at all. all they do is give a reason those who hate them to whine about "irreperable damage".

And all those goods and services (and the commuters and tourists who provide BIG economic benefits)can come in on Metro - or mule train, or dogsled or by air. Or maybe up the Potomac by barge.

Yeah right.

I made a New Year's resolution not to waste my time arguing with close-minded people. People with a differing opinion and an open mind? Sure. Close-minded people with their minds already made up? Hell, no!

Have a happy landing.

by ceefer66 on May 21, 2012 2:59 pm • linkreport

And all those goods and services (and the commuters and tourists who provide BIG economic benefits)can come in on Metro - or mule train, or dogsled or by air. Or maybe up the Potomac by barge.

Or, they can use regular streets. Streets that can serve multiple purposes and don't require bulldozing their surroundings to get built.

by Alex B. on May 21, 2012 3:06 pm • linkreport

I think @thenerve hit on some interesting points that aren't always given consideration at GGW, especially in regards to the preferences of families.

Sometimes the luck of the draw puts you in tough choices as well when it comes to commuting. Right now my fiancee both have commutes that are over 20 miles each way. We could both take Metro (and a bus for me) but it's much more cost and time effective to drive from MD to VA. Due to certain other factors we can't move for at least a year and we don't know if circumstances will allow us to sell our condo (even though it's in a great location steps from the red line).

by Fitz on May 21, 2012 4:01 pm • linkreport

This is why they should have built it eight lanes in the first place.

And to those saying that you're still dumped into the congestion downtown anyway, would you have/did you protest the K Street tunnel and I-95 completions?

by Somebody on May 7, 2013 3:38 pm • linkreport

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