Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast links: Transportation projects for the new year


Image from VDOT.
VA's Outer Beltway coming: Officials displayed plans to build Virginia's portion of the Outer Beltway, from Loudoun to Prince William. Nearby landowners are eager to build new sprawl subdivisions along its length. (Post)

What counties want: Both Montgomery and Prince George's want more transportation funding from the coming state legislative session, for the Purple Line, Corridor Cities Transitway, and roads at National Harbor. Rushern Baker also hopes to win right to levy a 5¢ bag fee. (Post)

More info on Jack's: The Park Service says they canceled Jack's boathouse lease
because the owner's name isn't even on it and they want to switch to a modern concession contract. The owner says NPS didn't return calls or letters about it over the past few months after first giving conflicting information. (Post, City Paper)

Arlington peaking?: Despite 3 decades of growth, and continuing development, a University of Virginia study projects Arlington's population will fall in each of the next 3 decades. What trends account for that prediction? (Sun Gazette)

Year's most annoying in development: The City Paper dubs the zoning rewrite "much ado about nothing" (lots of conflict for a tiny change), parking exceptions "most tedious" (they're almost always granted, but only after a very long process), and Howard Town Center's $11 million abatement the "least-necessary tax break."

Regulations make alley living pricey: Toronto tried to legalize alley dwellings that could be built for only $100,000 per unit, but laws and review boards added fees and restrictions that can add hundreds of thousands to the cost. (Toronto Star)

DC faces higher fiscal cliff: DC's concentration of federal government jobs mean that the area would be the hardest-hit in the event of a "fiscal cliff." According to Mayor Gray, DC tax revenue could fall by $50 million. (WAMU)

And...: Ike Leggett wants to start funding BRT studies. (Gazette) ... Richmond gives the Redskins training camp final approval. (WBJ) ... SoberRides will be available through New Year's Eve. (Examiner) ... One of Annapolis' "trolley" tour operators is shutting down to avoid having to give tours to same-sex married couples. (DCist)

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The Post article on Jack's Boat House indicates that the lease has not changed since 1982, and that the owner pays only $356 per month for prime waterfront property.

User comments (unsubstantiated) indicate that the NPS began to investigate the lease following complaints that Simkin lived on the site in an RV, and disposed of the sewage from in dumpsters on neighboring properties.

by Frank IBC on Dec 28, 2012 9:11 am • linkreport

Where to start on this outerbeltway.

A. The maps shown on the story show that it goes through a lot more parkland than just the manassas battlefield. In Ashburn it shows that there is a significantly sized stream valley that would be hugely impacted. Then you have the reservoir.

B. Trucks using this to get to Dulles would be using 50 rather than the Greenway to get to Dulles because its A. more direct and B. Free. This project basically writes off 50.

C. There hasn't been any attempt to explain why improving 234 and 15 wouldn't do most of the work that this is intended to do. There aren't any alternatives, just this. Meanwhile for a streetcar project (which costs much much less) has to argue at every step why a bus line wouldn't be better.

D. Much like the 460 corridor project this is meant for freight. Fixing freight issues doesn't help solve the commuter problem. Fixing the commuter problem does help the freight issue. Moreover since this hwy would come with lots of sprawl development (because that is who explicitly wants it) then the road is destined to become as useful (read: congested) as 495 is now.

E. Again, this helps an extremely limited set of people. It will take a lot of work to justify that price tag especially when one can name a bunch of smaller projects in inner-NOVA that could move as many people for a lower cost.

All that said, it would be nice to have a more direct connection to Dulles from 95 south however that ship sailed long long ago. I can see the benefit but I don't think it's worth the opportunity costs.

by drumz on Dec 28, 2012 9:32 am • linkreport

Also re: Toronto alley dwellings (or ADUs)there is this quote.

“It’s a gentler way of densifying the city without creating vertical buildings,”

Granted in DC the vertical buildings aren't much taller anyway but that really is the choice. It amazes me how many people think that by doing nothing that means nothing will change.

Also Toronto switched to a more regional style of governance similar to what we've talked about on here wrt to DC but what happened is that Rob Ford was elected who was awful for the urban residents of Toronto. He may have been a fluke but it is a good warning.

by drumz on Dec 28, 2012 9:43 am • linkreport

The Outer Beltway might, key word might, be somewhat useful if an agreement could be had with MD over a crossing between the Legion Bridge and Route 15 and a link to the ICC.

But MoCo doesn't want the Ag Reserve touched, and Western Loudoun is similarly sacrosanct. So 15 won't get improved, and VA-28 won't get extended into Maryland.

As of right now, it's basically a road to nowhere, and the billions here could be spent on (among other things):
* Metro to Fort Belvoir/Fair Lakes
* Improving the Metro Core
* Finishing making 28 a freeway between 7 and 66.
* Finishing making 7 a freeway between Leesburg and 28.
* Improvements on 286/7100
* Improving 50 in Loudoun County
* Links between 50 and 7 in Loudoun
* Extending VRE out to Haymarket or that new development in Caroline County.
* BRT from Purcellville to Reston (and then Ashburn when Phase II is done)

I just don't understand the rush to complete this Outer Beltway -- it's a dirty word in here in Loudoun and the money could be spent on any number of other outer suburban projects.

by Shawn Pickrell on Dec 28, 2012 9:50 am • linkreport

RE: VA Outer Beltway

Well I have to say that I'm a little surprised that even nutjob McDonnell would seriously pursue this ridiculous project, but now he's definitely exposed himself as the typical Southern pro-sprawl governor he is. To make it even worse this project is on top of the use $1.4 billion too road in Hampton Roads and the Charlottesville bypass.

The state and county officials are delusional if they think this idiotic road will provide any serious economic benefits. And they can forget about a new Potomac crossing because Maryland will never agree to it for a number of reasons:

1. MD doesn't have any money to pay for a new bridge/highway, and if it did there are a whole lot more sustainable and sensible transportation projects that could use the funding (Purple Line, Red Line, Corridor Cities Transitway, Southern MD Light Rail)

2. I can almost guarantee that the county/state would never allow hundreds of acres of forestland and farms to be torn up to build a highway through the agricultural reserve

3. Even without the ag reserve, the MD/MoCo isn't run by backwards-thinking wingnuts like PWC/LoCo and Richmond, and has an aversion to new highways.

4. There are virtually no benefits to MD/MoCo apart from some residents getting to Dulles slightly quicker (which isn't really a benefit since Dulles competes with BWI). To get to all the major job centers in NoVa (Tysons, Arlington, Alexandria) from MoCo the Beltway would still make the most sense, and now that the magical Lexus Lanes have opened there will never be any traffic ever again on the Beltway.

by King Terrapin on Dec 28, 2012 10:01 am • linkreport

Interesting that there is no mention of Marylands opposition to this plan. After the boondoggle that is the ICC, I can't even fathom how Maryland would begin to approve this thing.

There are so many other projects that Maryland and MoCo seem to genuinely want, that I just don't see how the limited funding becomes available for this thing.

by Kyle-W on Dec 28, 2012 10:01 am • linkreport

Well, King Terrapin (and enjoy life in the Big Ten) ...

1) The Charlottesville bypass and Hampton Roads toll road are at least in developed areas. Not like that one road which runs across the entire southern end of the state. I'm with you on McDonnell making this road such a high priority, it's like a Lich-lord in D&D.

2) From Frederick/upper MoCo an alternate crossing in the vicinity of Route 28 would make sense, especially for jobs in Tysons. Also Dullesland is becoming a fairly sizeable jobs center in its own right, a process that will only continue with the buildout of the Silver Line. But also well-noted that you guys don't want to improve access to Dulles. ;)

by Shawn Pickrell on Dec 28, 2012 10:13 am • linkreport

You all should be posting your comments on the Post site too I think. If at least to provide some reasoned commentary.

by thump on Dec 28, 2012 10:26 am • linkreport

"Nearby landowners are eager to build new sprawl subdivisions along its length"

Also know as affordable housing.

by Kolohe on Dec 28, 2012 10:35 am • linkreport

"Also know as affordable housing."

Also known as an environmentally unfriendly, unsustainable, traffic-inducing boondoggle for developers.

by Jason on Dec 28, 2012 10:45 am • linkreport

Affordable to whom? Certainly not the taxpayers responsible for multiple life-cycle costs. Those sprawl suburbs won't create nearly enough wealth to sustain the costs of that road.

by thump on Dec 28, 2012 10:51 am • linkreport

"Nearby landowners are eager to build new sprawl subdivisions along its length"

Also know as affordable housing.

The land is going to cost MORE not LESS after they build this highway. So, if you're looking for cheap housing, then you don't want them to build this highway.

The biggest issue with the outer beltway is cost. If it could be built like the Silver Line -- with only a 5% from the State and the rest coming from tolls, local government, and fed govt -- then I'd have little problem with it. However, this highway can't pay for itself the way the Silver Line can so it will require a giant subsidy from the state. That will mean higher taxes and less transpo money for projects that will actually have a positive return on investment.

by Falls Church on Dec 28, 2012 10:54 am • linkreport

The outer beltway connection into MD and hooking up with the ICC is inevitable. The new urban spine around the silver line guarantees it; plus a toll road will make the ICC profitable.

All the objections regarding the ag preserve will be overcome by the obvious improvement in the transportation network, plus the tremendous development opportunities. Any new connection to Dulles in MD will be an instant hit.

by goldfish on Dec 28, 2012 10:54 am • linkreport

"Nearby landowners are eager to build new sprawl subdivisions along its length"
Also know as affordable housing.

Only because its so hard to build housing in current areas. Plus are we so sure that being able to buy a big house for a lower price is the same as affordable housing?

by drumz on Dec 28, 2012 10:58 am • linkreport

The outer beltway connection into MD and hooking up with the ICC is inevitable.

Is there any evidence of people buying land speculatively to take advantage of this "inevitable" outcome? If no one is willing to put money on it, it's hardly inevitable or even somewhat likely.

by Falls Church on Dec 28, 2012 11:02 am • linkreport

@Falls chruch: the time line is quite long, 20 years at least, before the serious profits will be realized. Also there is the uncertainty of the route, which will make a big difference whether any particular site will be well placed and thus valuable, or not. OTOH, if I had that sort of money to invest, I would.

by goldfish on Dec 28, 2012 11:07 am • linkreport

I'd be very interested to see ridership projections, because I have no idea who is going to use this thing. When I lived in Lansdowne, I knew no one who worked in Prince William. Also, there aren't really any attractions down there that Loudouners would want.

Maryland will never agree to a crossing and the Lansdowne people will fight it tooth and nail like they did in Great Falls. This will just dump more traffic on route 7.

by M Riles on Dec 28, 2012 11:15 am • linkreport

@goldfish: OTOH, if I had that sort of money to invest, I would.

There are many people who have that sort of money to invest. Even when the timelines are long and the uncertainty is high. The fact that they are not investing there says a lot.

by Falls Church on Dec 28, 2012 11:18 am • linkreport

@Falls Church: The fact that they are not investing there says a lot.
Asserted without citation.

by goldfish on Dec 28, 2012 11:25 am • linkreport

Meanwhile there's this that says a new 301 one bridge is MD's top priority.

http://www.gazette.net/article/20121226/OPINION/712269721/0/SEARCH&template=gazette

Expand it. Toll both sides. Then toll the Legion and Wilson bridges as well and use the saved money on transportation projects that will move people and boom, you're beginning to see congestion problems be eased.

by drumz on Dec 28, 2012 11:28 am • linkreport

@goldfish

Since you appear to be the outer beltway's only proponent here, I will ask you. Who is actually going to use this road?

by M Riles on Dec 28, 2012 11:30 am • linkreport

And that article on Arlington growth doesn't actually do anything to suggest why Arlington's population will decline at all.

Is it price? More single people and less families? Less immigrants (who typically have larger families)?

by drumz on Dec 28, 2012 11:42 am • linkreport

@M Riles: This decision was cemented with the construction of the silver line. People here love subways because they directly lead to densification and urbanization. Look at the laments as to how little used the Metro stations are in PG county, how that represents a opportunity. When the silver line is completed, all these also arguments apply.

To use the silver line will require far better connections to it than what exist today. There will be years of road improvements to each station, which in turn will stress nearby roads. Better arteries are necessary to get the full benefit of the silver line; plus development along this route is clearly needed.

So if you look at the development patterns past the beltway, you see a branch extending past Dulles, one to Germantown, one up north along I95, and another south along I95. The build-up (I hate "sprawl" because it is pejorative) that currently exists along these routes extends at least 20 miles past the beltway. The outer beltway serves to connect these areas, and thus it is NOT sprawl but actually urban infill. Part of the problem here is a matter of semantics, and that many do not realize how far out this city has grown.

by goldfish on Dec 28, 2012 11:44 am • linkreport

@Drumz

I saw that as well. This thing totally depends on the methodology used. Are we just taking the last 50 years and extrapolating out 30 more years?

I would be shocked if Arlington loses population over the next 30 years. There is plenty of construction going on, and lots of multi-family units going up. Are these places just going to be empty?

by Kyle-W on Dec 28, 2012 11:45 am • linkreport

Those opposed to the so-called Outer Beltway should have seen it coming while you were rooting for the Silver Line to be extended all the way out to West Hell.

How did you expect goods, services - and people - to reach all that new "transit-oriented development"?

by ceefer66 on Dec 28, 2012 11:54 am • linkreport

"How did you expect goods, services - and people - to reach all that new "transit-oriented development"?"

Riiiiight... because these can't be delivered on existing roads.

by Jason on Dec 28, 2012 11:56 am • linkreport

How did you expect goods, services - and people - to reach all that new "transit-oriented development"?

How are they reached in Arlington? Tons of TOD in the past 20 years there with no new major roads.

The vast majority of Silver Line TOD is in Tysons (with a small amount also in Reston). People will reach Tysons via the four Silver Line stations, the new Beltway HOT lanes, $2B of road improvements within Tysons, new bus routes, and an expanded Rt. 7 west of Tysons. People will also reach Tysons because they already live there -- tons of new housing is planned.

by Falls Church on Dec 28, 2012 12:10 pm • linkreport

A bag tax would be a great thing for Prince Georges because it would cut down on the litter.

Currently, Prince Georges County, especially the areas inside the Beltway, is the dirtiest part of the region, thanks to the litter.

And don't give me some lame nonsense about a bag tax being a "regressive tax burden on the poor". It's the so-called "poor" that are throwing their bags, drink containers, and fast-food packages on the ground like a bunch of lazy slobs.

by ceefer66 on Dec 28, 2012 12:13 pm • linkreport

How did you expect goods, services - and people - to reach all that new "transit-oriented development"?

It's true, ever since the metro was built there haven't been any deliveries made via truck or van in Downtown DC.

by drumz on Dec 28, 2012 12:13 pm • linkreport

Expanded highway capacity is only "needed" to absorb more single-occupancy peak period auto commuters; bringing up the "goods and services" needed in transit-oriented communities is a red herring.

And if you look at what the land is used for between 15 and 28 you can see that this clearly isn't driving "urban infill"; development is already creeping out into these places and this highway will accelerate its push outwards.

by MLD on Dec 28, 2012 12:17 pm • linkreport

All the objections regarding the ag preserve will be overcome by the obvious improvement in the transportation network, plus the tremendous development opportunities.

I'm not sure the fantasists from VA understand the meaning of the term "ag preserve". The pining for a massive interstate crossing between the AL bridge and Point of Rocks are in the same category as those who want to "complete" 395 as an elevated 8 lane superhighway through Capitol Hill to Silver Spring, or folks who think the "South's Gone Rise Agin". There's a reason the ICC ends where it does.

Sorry guys, that era ended in the 60s--the window of opportunity has closed.

by oboe on Dec 28, 2012 12:22 pm • linkreport

Sorry guys, that era ended in the 60s--the window of opportunity has closed.

New roads have been built since then, and will continue to be built. To compare such to the worst, rejected ideas from many years ago does not advance the discussion.

by goldfish on Dec 28, 2012 12:35 pm • linkreport

New roads have been built since then, and will continue to be built. To compare such to the worst, rejected ideas from many years ago does not advance the discussion.

True. But the chance of a major highway being built through either the Ag preserve or Potomac is about as likely as one being built through Capitol Hill. There have been nuclear power plants built since the 70s as well, but we're unlikely to see one built in Georgetown.

by oboe on Dec 28, 2012 12:38 pm • linkreport

How are they reached in Arlington? Tons of TOD in the past 20 years there with no new major roads.
-----

Maybe that's because they already had 66 and 395.

by ceefer66 on Dec 28, 2012 12:45 pm • linkreport

But the chance of a major highway being built through either the Ag preserve or Potomac is about as likely as one being built through Capitol Hill.

Again, the analogy does not take: On the one hand, the ag preserve is a rural zoning that benefit few; on the other hand, capitol hill was and is densely populated.

As development proceeds up I270 and past Dulles, a connection between them will become obvious (if not already). The ag preserve barrier will appear to the work-a-day residents that must navigate the hellacious American Legion Bridge traffic as an elitist anachronism, to preserve a "way of life" better preserved elsewhere. Nearly all the beautiful property in Great Falls and Potomac will be untouched, and yet more valuable because of their new central location.

by goldfish on Dec 28, 2012 12:47 pm • linkreport


(which isn't really a benefit since Dulles competes with BWI

Actually, Dulles has no competitors in this region. BWI has 2 mainline international airlines and one discount. It is a regional airport and nothing more. Dulles has so many international carriers you can't even keep track of them, and they are adding another (Etihad) this year. Dulles is the only international airport in the region that matters and companies that need international travel or even significant cross-country travel need access to Dulles and Dulles only. That is why a second crossing of the Potomac is critical for major job growth in Upper Montgomery County.

by dcdriver on Dec 28, 2012 12:51 pm • linkreport

I would suspect a pretty big reason for the predicted drop in Arlington population is housing costs. Only so many people can afford to live in a place where the median price of an actual house is above 500,000. From what I've seen of apartments there, they are quite high as well, especially that Clarendon area.

by Nickyp on Dec 28, 2012 12:53 pm • linkreport

On the one hand, the ag preserve is a rural zoning that benefit few; on the other hand, capitol hill was and is densely populated.

This is just factually incorrect. I live in the city, but spend quite a bit of time in the ag preserve. It's a resource for everyone. You might just as well call Yellowstone a boondoggle that provides a "benefit for the few". Wait, never mind, conservatives spent about a century doing just that.

by oboe on Dec 28, 2012 12:56 pm • linkreport

but spend quite a bit of time in the ag preserve. It's a resource for everyone.

Keep it hard to get to does nobody any favors. A single road through one corner of it will not destroy it, but in fact improve access to it. A new bridge will enable more people to use it.

by goldfish on Dec 28, 2012 1:03 pm • linkreport

@Ceefer

Much like Loudon has Route 7, Route 15, and 267. Anything else?

@Goldfish

It comes down to money. It just isn't going to happen. How long did it take to get the ICC through, this would be much more controversial.

@DCDriver

Even admitting that all of those are true, the one thing BWI has going for it is location. Why would Maryland build something that is going to hurt one of its economic engines?

by Kyle-W on Dec 28, 2012 1:11 pm • linkreport

I don't know the facts re Jacks, but I'd question the "prime riverfront" statement. There are plenty of businesses on Water St that have closed or have very short lives. The Washington Harbor site is not even an "A" commercial real estate. At least Jacks has been there for 60+ years and provides a service (access to the river) that the NPS has not.

by SJE on Dec 28, 2012 1:12 pm • linkreport

How are they reached in Arlington? Tons of TOD in the past 20 years there with no new major roads.
*****************
Maybe that's because they already had 66 and 395.

And the Silver Line corridor already has the DTR, 28, the Fairfax Co. Parkway, and the beltway.

by Falls Church on Dec 28, 2012 1:14 pm • linkreport

@oboe,

"The pining for a massive interstate crossing between the AL bridge and Point of Rocks are in the same category as those who want to "complete" 395 as an elevated 8 lane superhighway through Capitol Hill to Silver Spring,"
-----

The originally-planned I-95 route through NE DC to where 95 and 495 currently meet at College Park as NEVER planned as an "elevated 8-lane superhighway through Capitol Hill" or anywhere else. It would traveled along the what is now the current Red Line route through NE DC (in a configuration like I-66 and the Orange Line in NOVA) and continued in Maryland via a still-existing PEPCO easement.

[Deleted for violating the comment policy.]

by ceefer66 on Dec 28, 2012 1:15 pm • linkreport

@Kyle-W: It just isn't going to happen. How long did it take to get the ICC through, this would be much more controversial.

The ICC did get built. So your own argument works against you.

by goldfish on Dec 28, 2012 1:17 pm • linkreport

@ goldfish

"New roads have been built since then, and will continue to be built"

Yeah in places like Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina. For states (+DC) north of the Potomac River the Interstate Highway expansion complex has disappeared. If any limited-access highways are to be built in the region they're sure to be tolled.

Personally, I appreciate all forms of transportation (including highways) and think that they're a necessary part to any region's transportation network. However, the nation has spent the last 60 years building freeways. We have more than enough. Just look how many interstates we have in the Baltimore-Washington Area: I-95, I-66, I-395 (DC/VA), I-395 (MD), I-295, I-695 (DC), I-195, I-495, I-595 (Rte 50, MD), I-695 (MD), I-795, I-895, I-70, I-270, I-83, I-97, I-370. This in addition to many more limited-access state routes and parkways. Instead of building new highways, we should focus on improving and maintaining existing ones.

More transportation funding should be devoted to other modes of transportation, especially passenger rail (commuter and intercity/Amtrak), which has languished while the nation was busy building the interstates. It's especially important that the nation focuses on efficient transportation modes that are conducive to smart growth such as light-rail, heavy-rail, and BRT. It really is ridiculous that state's have to compete with each other for a very limited amount of federal funds for transit projects, while highways have their own dedicated funding source.

by King Terrapin on Dec 28, 2012 1:21 pm • linkreport

The ICC did get built. So your own argument works against you.

The ICC took 50 years to build from the time it first appeared in plans. Building a highway through the Ag Reserve would be more controversial, so let's say at least 75 years. Given that timeframe, I'd agree that it could very well get built.

by Falls Church on Dec 28, 2012 1:24 pm • linkreport

@Goldfish

I will take it. It was first proposed in the 1960's, so took 40 years to be built. This one is more controversial, so I think you are looking at an even longer time period, with a state/federal government that is increasingly unwilling to fund anything.

So lets call it 2072. I guess you win.

by Kyle-W on Dec 28, 2012 1:26 pm • linkreport

@ dcdriver

"[BWI] is a regional airport and nothing more."

This "regional" airport just overtook Dulles as the busiest airport in the region, and continues to set records year after year. Believe it or not, the vast majority of flights to Dulles are domestic. Yeah, they have a ton international destinations/airlines, but the majority of airlines only fly to one or two destinations and fly only once/twice daily.

BWI which is already a hub for Southwest and Airtran (as long as they exist), the latter of which provides direct flights to many popular destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean. German airline Condor recently began seasonal service to Frankfurt. In the near future the airport will see a lot more international flights when it becomes Southwest's first hub for international flights (possibly including transatlantic service).

DCA is the only true "regional" airport in Balt/Wash region (literally, due to the federal regulations).

by King Terrapin on Dec 28, 2012 1:35 pm • linkreport

CP also names Inclusionary Zoning "Best-Intentioned Flop"

by Tom Coumaris on Dec 28, 2012 1:49 pm • linkreport

It would traveled along the what is now the current Red Line route through NE DC (in a configuration like I-66 and the Orange Line in NOVA) and continued in Maryland via a still-existing PEPCO easement.

I stand corrected. Please edit "elevated 8-lane superhighway through Capitol Hill" to read "six lane traffic sewer in a trench gutting Capitol Hill."

I didn't mean to exaggerate.

by oboe on Dec 28, 2012 2:05 pm • linkreport

King Terrapin.

BWI and Southwest are for tourists. Business travelers use Dulles. If you want to attract major businesses, especially those with international travel needs, you need access to Dulles.

The facts speak for themselves.

International nonstops: BWI has 9, which includes 2 to London and 4 to Toronto, the rest are Mexico and the Caribbean. Good luck getting to Asia from BWI. Good luck getting to India.

Dulles has 49, including at least one in every continent (except Australia).

Dulles is adding direct service to Abu Dhabi in March on Etihad, to complement existing service to Dubai on Emirates. BWI isn't even in the same league with Dulles when it comes to markets and airlines like this.

BWI is is actually struggling to compete even with DCA for the west coast, as DA now offers nonstops to Seattle, Portland, LAX, San Diego, and San Francisco.

by dcdriver on Dec 28, 2012 2:16 pm • linkreport

@Falls church and @Kyle-W: The ICC, as originally proposed in the 60s, really was a road to nowhere. After 30 years of development its prescience to parochial city dwellers must seem remarkable (except that many residents still do not acknowledge its need). Regarding a new Potomac crossing, which connects two well-established employment centers -- its need is clear today, even to those same city dwellers that think the money would better spent on other things. The main objection seems to be keeping the ag preserve whole.

by goldfish on Dec 28, 2012 2:17 pm • linkreport

its need is clear today, even to those same city dwellers that think the money would better spent on other things.

If its need is apparent then why so much pointing out of other projects that should be built first?

Also if Montgomery really wanted attract more high tech businesses they might as well start trying to plan for an international airport that would compete with Dulles. They can probably fit one of those in the Ag reserve.

by drumz on Dec 28, 2012 2:23 pm • linkreport

The people who made the projections themselves said not to read to much into it. From what I got from grad school they are usually based on mathematical (albeit sometimes complex) models that can't account for social/economic influences that affect where people live. History generally speaking is not all that useful as a predictor in places like Arlington unless the county decides they want to aggressively maintain the status quo.

by Alan B. on Dec 28, 2012 2:47 pm • linkreport

@Goldfish

My point stands. It isn't going to happen. As you have previously mentioned, you aren't willing to invest in it, I certainly would be willing to invest that it won't happen. Were I able to put a gentlemens wager (and assure myself I would be paid at the end of the term) that there will not be another crossing here in the next 40 years, I would happily wager $1,000. I would even give you odds.

@DCDriver

Your point is ridiculous that BWI is struggling due to DCA having cross-country traffic, when Terrapin pointed out that it is the biggest airport in the regain and continues to set records.

Regarding your assertation the BWI is for Tourists... I have flown out of both BWI and DCA for business. The times I have trekked to IAD, it was been for vacations with my family. Anecdottally, you are wrong!

In addition, for your international flights, I just don't but in the least that proximity to a non-stop flight to the middle east or Asia is that big of a selling point. Being 30 minutes, or 75 minutes from the airport makes practically no difference when you have to be to the airport 3 hours early, and you are about to board a 13 hour flight. Great, it is a 16:30 trip, instead of being a 17:15 trip. Also, the cab is $100 instead of $40. So the total cost of the trip goes from $3040 to $3100.

by Kyle-W on Dec 28, 2012 2:49 pm • linkreport

@Kyle-W: you aren't willing to invest in it...

I am willing to invest, except that I have no money -- I am just a prol trying to get through the day. If I live to see retirement, it will certainly occur after a new crossing is built. I am not a gambler, but I would take your bet.

by goldfish on Dec 28, 2012 3:03 pm • linkreport

@ dcdriver

I think you're missing the point, and I find it funny that you would call the busiest airport in the region a "tourist airport." I never claimed that BWI was in the same league as Dulles internationally-speaking, only that you were overstating the disparity.

As Kyle-W pointed out, many business passengers do in fact use BWI, especially since it has direct Acela Express service fom Washington DC. AirTran has business class on all of its flights and Southwest is stepping up efforts to target business travelers. Yes, BWI doesn't have flights to Abu Dhabi or Timbuktu but that hardly makes it irrelevant.

Another thing is that a large percentage of the domestic flights out of IAD are on tiny, cramped regional jets, but with Airtran and Southwest at BWI you're guaranteed a mainline aircraft. Even the legacy carriers mostly operate full-sized aircraft.

@goldfish

I can almost guarantee that Montgomery County is not about to build a highway straight through the ag reserve anytime soon.

You can add to the list of reasons I posted earlier the fact that traffic on I-270 isn't that bad (relatively speaking). Compared to gridlock on I-66 or I-95 in VA which can appear at any time of day, I-270's rush-hour-only traffic is a cake-walk.

Honestly, I don't even know which council member in uber-liberal MoCo would vote for such a wasteful, environmentally damaging, pro-sprawl project.

by King Terrapin on Dec 28, 2012 4:28 pm • linkreport

@Goldfish

Fair enough. I am not a gambler either, but find when it comes to putting your hard earned cash on the line, peoples opinions often change. The fact you are willing to do such (even figuratively) means you truly believe this thing is coming. I think the opposite obviously, and will certainly follow these developments closely. I certainly side with Terrapin on this one, just not certain how this ever becomes a reality, as much as some people may like it to.

by Kyle-W on Dec 28, 2012 4:44 pm • linkreport

@Kyle-W: that traffic on I-270 isn't that bad

Um, the single connection between Montgomery County (population, about 1 million) and points in Virginia (population, 1.5 million) is the American Legion Bridge, which is on beltway, i.e., I-495, not on I-270. The bridge is basically a parking lot most of the day.

Honestly, I don't even know which council member in uber-liberal MoCo would vote for such a wasteful, environmentally damaging, pro-sprawl project.

Montgomery County could densify within its existing footprint, or build further out along the I-270. The former is better for the environment by minimizing travel distances while the latter is far more damaging. A new bridge is well within the footprint of what already has been developed, and will advance the former. OTOH, not building the bridge will actually encourage development further up I-270 (i.e., 'sprawl') and cause employers to select other places over MC. It is the loss of jobs that will really hurt the county.

My point all along has been that as the metropolitan area has extended far past Germantown and Dulles Airport, this is NOT sprawl. This is an infill connection between two employment centers that will greatly relieve traffic.

by goldfish on Dec 28, 2012 5:02 pm • linkreport

@Kyle-W, sorry, my last post was directed at @King Terrapin.

by goldfish on Dec 28, 2012 5:04 pm • linkreport

@oboe
"I stand corrected. Please edit "elevated 8-lane superhighway through Capitol Hill" to read "six lane traffic sewer in a trench gutting Capitol Hill."

I didn't mean to exaggerate."
-----

Then don't.

And don't continue to prevaricate by insisting that I-95 through DC was planned to go through Capitol Hill because it wasn't and any assertion that it was is patently false.

by ceefer66 on Dec 28, 2012 5:31 pm • linkreport

One question -- has anyone given a thought to building a two-lane bridge where White's Ferry exists now?

by Shawn Pickrell on Dec 28, 2012 5:41 pm • linkreport

Ceefer,

You do realize that there is an interstate highway already in Capitol Hill right?

by Drumz on Dec 28, 2012 6:34 pm • linkreport

"I-95" was never planned to "go through Capitol Hill". However I-295 already does in one place, and the plan before 1973 had a much longer version skirting the east and north sides of Capitol Hill.

And an earlier plan had a freeway going straight through Capitol Hill along either 11th St. or 8th. St.

(Grimly awaiting a visit from Mr. Freeways.)

by Frank IBC on Dec 29, 2012 9:32 am • linkreport

Officials displayed plans to build Virginia's portion of the Outer Beltway, from Loudoun to Prince William.

Let's see how fast all those anti-metro Loudoun Board Members will flip their arguments against development here. Hypocrites.

by Jasper on Dec 29, 2012 12:17 pm • linkreport

And an earlier plan had a freeway going straight through Capitol Hill along either 11th St. or 8th. St.
------

And it was scrapped l-o-n-g before the final plans were agreed-upon. It was never a serious plan and certainly not a final one.

(Grimly awaiting a visit from Mr. Freeways.)

I hope you weren't holding your breath.

by ceefer66 on Dec 29, 2012 1:42 pm • linkreport

You do realize that there is an interstate highway already in Capitol Hill right?
----

You mean the SW Freeway which skirts along the edge? Or perhaps the underground portion under the Mall (which BTW is not Capitol Hill)?

by ceefer66 on Dec 29, 2012 1:44 pm • linkreport

Ok

by Drumz on Dec 29, 2012 3:26 pm • linkreport

I am about equidistant from the three major airports, and do plenty of international travel through BWI. I actually prefer BWI to Dulles: the TSA and customs people seem nicer, but it ultimately depends on cost and destination.

by SJE on Dec 30, 2012 2:53 pm • linkreport

Oboe says that they arent about to build a nuclear power plant in Georgetown. I think you have too much faith in our elected leaders being rational. :)

by SJE on Dec 30, 2012 2:54 pm • linkreport

The Day they Build the Outter By-Pass in Virginia will be the same day they will complete I-66, I-95/395, and I-270 through DC/Maryland.

by Rich on Dec 30, 2012 4:43 pm • linkreport

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