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Dinner links: Many voices for transit over roads

The Times: A NYT editorial yesterday argues Obama must "give mass transit the priority it deserves and the full financial and technological help it needs and has long been denied" in the upcoming transportation bill. According to the Times, the current stimulus proposal floating around Congress would allocate $30 billion to "highways and bridges" and $12 billion to transit, a "far healthier mix." It's especially healthier if most or all of that $30 billion would repair roads and bridges rather than adding new ones to nowhere. Via Louise and The Overhead Wire.

Photo by by buba69 on Flickr.

The Post: The Washington Post endorses the light rail Purple Line. "Two decades of dithering is long enough," they say. "Community support is coalescing around light rail. The onus is on Montgomery officials and state leaders to support the route. The County Council, which will vote to recommend a route late this month, is expected to overwhelmingly support light rail."

The citizens of Greenbelt: At recent visioning sessions to collect input on the future of Greenbelt, residents favored "maximizing available transit resources to provide efficient services throughout the community, improving pedestrian and bicycle experiences throughout the community and improving overpasses," says the Gazette. Well, two out of three ain't bad.

Baltimore Sun letter writers: In a letter published Saturday, Greg Cantori of Pasadena, MD explains that it's not too late to cancel the ICC. Just look at "the nightmarish 1970s-era Interstate 70 bypass that was supposed to run through central Baltimore and would have bisected Leakin Park, Federal Hill, Fells Point and Highlandtown and, imagine this, involved a bridge across the Inner Harbor." Despite construction also having begun, activists managed to block that and save many precious Baltimore neighborhoods.

Plus other stuff: Rob Goodspeed discusses the pros and cons of brick sidewalks, a topic hotly debated recently in Dupont Circle; some Washingtonians are moonlighting as pedicab drivers to make more money amid bad economic times; and Parking Today has some choice words for a recently-revealed unpublicized NYC policy to reduce parking tickets by one-third for anyone who asks.

If we add bike lanes, the terrorists have won? During the 2005-2006 Maryland State Police surveillance of peaceful protest groups, writes the Post, "troopers monitored—and labeled as terrorists—activists devoted to such wide-ranging causes as promoting human rights and establishing bike lanes." Watch out, maybe those scary people will use Twitter to plan their bicycle route to commit the terrible act of promoting civil rights! The only solution is to violate their civil rights!

David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. 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 two children in Dupont Circle. 


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"The citizens of Greenbelt: ... Well, two out of three ain't bad."

David, what do you mean by "two out of three"?

by kenf on Jan 5, 2009 4:56 pm • linkreport

I take that as meaning David would prefer the overpasses not exist at all.

by Froggie on Jan 5, 2009 5:45 pm • linkreport

That's some 'urbanism', favor grade separation for about everything except vehicular roads which are all to be oin the same level.

by Douglas Willinger on Jan 5, 2009 8:06 pm • linkreport

In order to eliminate the overpasses you would have to eliminate the Baltimore Washington Parkway and the Beltway. As desirable as that might be it probably won't happen any time soon. So, to connect the three parts of Greenbelt for pedestrians and bikes you need the best overpasses that can be designed.

by kenf on Jan 5, 2009 8:29 pm • linkreport

i was at some of those visioning sessions in greenbelt. you will find that greenbelt fully supports the purple line and mass transit. many of us are working hard at getting better bus services (they are being cut). we love living near the metro station.

the gazette does not report much of what goes on in greenbelt, i'm afraid to say, their reports have been pretty shallow sometimes.

by kenshin on Jan 5, 2009 11:03 pm • linkreport

Fighting brick sidewalks is akin to telling kids that Santa doesn't exist... Equally tragic.

by SG on Jan 5, 2009 11:08 pm • linkreport

kenf: I have no problem with overpasses over the BW Parkway and Beltway. If that's what they were talking about, then hooray for overpasses.

kenshin: Any interest in writing about what's going on in Greenbelt for GGW? I agree that I read very little about it in the Gazette, and would love to have more coverage here. Email if you're interested.

by David Alpert on Jan 6, 2009 8:16 am • linkreport

When I lived in B'more I always wondered why 70 had that weird useless spur. Now I guess I know :) As a follow up to some of the old timers around here, does anyone know if was 70 supposed to connect to that wired section of Rt 40 that runs parallel to Franklin St?

by Local on Jan 6, 2009 9:43 am • linkreport

I'm not an old-timer, but I have read that that section of U.S. 40 was originally supposed to be a part of I-70. It was being built from the inside out before it was cancelled.

There were also plans to build an I-170 that would have looped down through Cherry Hill approx and then through Camden Yards. There were also plans to run I-83 down through Fells Point and then out through Canton and then ending at I-95 east of Canton.

Isn't it ironic that so many of the neighborhoods that were originally slated to be demolished are now some of our most cherished?

by Cavan on Jan 6, 2009 9:59 am • linkreport

The original 1964-era proposal for Baltimore freeways did have I-70 connecting to that segment on US 40 west of MLK Blvd. By the time construction began (sometime in the 1970s), however, much of that 1964 plan was dropped and the plan for I-70 was to have it continue east through Gwynns Falls Park (about half of it via a tunnel), then turn southward and meet I-95 between Caton Ave and Washington Blvd. If you look closely along that stretch of I-95, there's some ghost ramps and remnants of what was to be the connection between I-95 and I-70.

Under that plan, the short freeway along Franklin St would have been part of an I-170 spur connecting to downtown (and as I understand it, it was even signed as I-170 at one point).

After I-70 through Gwynns Falls was cancelled (ca. 1981), the next proposal was for a connector from I-95 (using those ghost ramps originally intended for I-70) running northward along the stream to near the NEC, then turning east and tying into the Franklin St freeway spur. This would have been designated I-595. But this too, was short lived and was cancelled ca. 1983.

Hope that explains things...

by Froggie on Jan 6, 2009 10:04 am • linkreport

For some more info, see Scott Kozel's excellent site 'Roads to the Future", particularly the section on Baltimore's freeway planning:

by Douglas Willinger on Jan 6, 2009 11:21 am • linkreport

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