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DDOT wants to build new South Capitol bridge; should it?

DDOT needs to fix or replace the Frederick Douglass Bridge on South Capitol Street, and the Gray administration has started moving decisively forward with the project. We need some project in this area, but new renderings should raise questions about whether DDOT is building the right thing, or just continuing an existing old plan on autopilot.

The centerpiece of the project is a new bridge on South Capitol Street. The old bridge either needs replacing, or DC will have to keep shoring it up every few years. The proposed new bridge would be 1 lane wider than the existing bridge.

In addition, the plans call for moving the bridge slightly to the southwest and creating a large racetrack-shaped traffic oval on the ballpark side and a circle on the Poplar Point side. Near Anacostia Metro, where South Capitol/Suitland Parkway crosses 295, they also plan to redesign the interchange to be more compact than the cloverleaf it is today.

Is this a good idea?

These plans come from an Environmental Impact Statement that DDOT did in 2008. A lot has changed in 5 years, including evolution in our understanding of what kind of transportation network we want. It's easier for DDOT to simply take the existing plan and implement it, but that doesn't mean it's necessarily the right plan for 2013.

Certainly, something needs to be done with the bridge. DC can also do much more to better connect the east and west sides of the river. However, leaders need to ask some tough questions about whether this is the best way to do it, because a few parts of the plan raise red flags.

Are the circle and racetrack a good idea?

That racetrack has a lot of traffic lanes5 in many places. DC's traffic circles aren't especially comfortable to walk or bike around. The EIS says the corners will have traffic signals, like Dupont or Logan Circles, so pedestrians will be able to cross at the crosswalks, but they will still have to cross multiple wide roads to traverse the area.

The same goes for the circle east of the river. The animation shows this as a 5-lane circle, which is far larger than DC's other circles. To cross into the center, you'd have to traverse 2 crosswalks. Do we get any of the benefits, or just the drawbacks, from a circle where each side is as wide as many major boulevards?

Plus, what will go in the middle? These are not going to become any kind of neighborhood public space. Is the circle really that much better than the existing approach ramps on the southeast end that it's worth a lot of money to demolish them and move the bridge?

What happened to the 295 interchange?

Fixing the interchange with 295 could create a more walkable place, but DDOT seems to have backed off the initial designs for an urban diamond and created something that's still more focused on moving cars quickly than walkability.


Top: Image from the 2008 EIS. Bottom: Image from the new video.

Sidewalks run along off-ramps and then cross at what engineers have presumably determined is the safest place, but if there's no intersection with a light, it's not really that safe. It's the same problem we have at the Pennsylvania Avenue cloverleaf with 295.

DDOT spokesman John Lisle promised to get back to me with more information about this interchange.

Can we really not fix the bridge?

At $660 million, this is a really expensive project. It's even more expensive if DDOT has to replace the swing span, which they're asking the Coast Guard and Navy to let them leave out of the new bridge. The whole project could top $900 million if you include other plans in the EIS to change the intersection of M and South Capitol Streets.

The Gray administration says it will be cheaper in the long run to replace the bridge as opposed to fixing it. The press release also says that if they keep the old bridge, trucks might have to divert off South Capitol because of safety concerns. That last part doesn't seem like a big deal, as we just built a new 11th Street highway bridge, but we certainly don't want bridges falling down.

DDOT says it would cost $120-150 million to fix the existing bridge. That kind of figure has some appeal to many in the Council who have to make tough budget choices among many projects.

Is this really better for people east of the river?

The DDOT press release quoted Mayor Gray as saying:

By better connecting both sides of the river, the new crossing will be the single largest physical embodiment of my "One City" governing philosophy of bringing the District together across geographic, income and ethnic boundaries. This graceful new bridge will be a welcoming gateway to the center of Washington, while also serving as an anchor for the revival of the Anacostia waterfront.
Speeding up traffic across the river could help some residents who drive that way in the short run, but may also ultimately attract drivers between Maryland and Virginia, or traversing the region longer distances, to use this as a cut-through, or encourage Prince George's County commuters to drive instead of parking and riding Metro. In poor neighborhoods already struggling with public health and cut off from the river by a large freeway, more through traffic could be just the environmental injustice they don't need.

It's important to ensure the South Capitol Street bridge is structurally sound. We also should improve connections across the river. But just because there's a 5-year-old plan doesn't mean we have a project worth spending hundreds of millions even beyond the cost of the bridge itself. DC leaders need to ask a lot more tough questions before rubber-stamping this plan.

David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. 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 loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

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Has DDOT considered building a roundabout?

by Steven Vance on Jan 2, 2013 2:35 pm • linkreport

What's the rationale behind the traffic oval? That just looks like a spectacular traffic jam and waste of space.

That said, the existing bridge is horrible for pedestrians and cyclists. I'm not sure if a retrofit/repair can fix that, or if the bridge could support the weight of wider sidewalks.

I say build a traditional freeway interchange, and try to make it as small and unobtrusive as possible. (The 11th St Bridge did an OK job of this, but missed some key opportunities, and is a huge land hog)

by andrew on Jan 2, 2013 2:48 pm • linkreport

The traffic oval on the north side of the river is just ridiculous. Traffic going North on the bridge is almost exclusively continuing on North Capitol. There's no reason the traffic oval is needed to distribute traffic to other streets. Seems to me this is just a case of "hey wouldn't this look cool!"

by MLD on Jan 2, 2013 2:48 pm • linkreport

Pure conjecture but looking at the map would it make sense to basically extend Suitland parkway across the current span and basically disconnect south capitol street?

That way:
People coming along suitland parkway or 295 still have a direct connection to the bridge.

South Capitol turns into Firth Stirling and that's how you use the bridge if you're coming up that way.

Then you can begin un-trenching South Capitol by the stadium.

Then you could the ramps into poplar point and instead just keep that route on the surface and have less of a need for a complicated scheme like above because basically you just have an interchange for 295 and Suitland parkway before the bridge.

by drumz on Jan 2, 2013 2:52 pm • linkreport

The road is divorced from the vision of a community along South Capitol Street. It does seem like DDOT planners have once again planned to move traffic but hasn't planned to move all the potential bridge users. Has DDOT consulted with DMPED or the Office of Planning to see what could be built along the corridor? You know, maybe we can set up a TIF (Tax Increment Financing).

What is the purpose of greenspace / circles? It feels like the greenspace in the middle of an interstate highway, its just for show, not for people. Access to the river from the bridge also doesn't seem clear. Lastly, what about the talk last year of infilling sections of the Suitland Parkway to bring it to street level at MLK Avenue, is that included in the cost? Transit? Noting?

It all just seems a little short-sighted.

by Randall M. on Jan 2, 2013 2:55 pm • linkreport

5 lanes in one direction anywhere on a surface street in this city is cuckoo bananas.

The additional ramp added on to the freeway exit is crazy as well.

Road diet, road diet, road diet!

If anything, the city should wait and see how traffic sorts out when the 11th Street bridge project is complete and a new normal has settled in. We may find car traffic leaving South Capitol Street for the greener pastures of a new bridge...

by Geoffrey Hatchard on Jan 2, 2013 2:58 pm • linkreport

As much as I am for transportation investment to improve connections across the river, I concur with Geoff. Let's get 11th ST complete, open, and traffic normalized before running the risk of over designing S. Capitol Street.

by Veronica O. Davis (Ms V) on Jan 2, 2013 3:03 pm • linkreport

MLD- That area is expected to be extensively re-developed-densified, rather than having those empty lots, so its hardly overkill.

Too bad this article does not cover the questonable decision to remove the SCS underpass beneath M Street rather than some added cover and lengthenng.

by Douglas Andrew Willinger on Jan 2, 2013 3:15 pm • linkreport

"What is the purpose of greenspace / circles? It feels like the greenspace in the middle of an interstate highway, its just for show, not for people"

Statements as that are completly intolerant of WDC's tradition of publc space traffc circles, squares, etc. I suppose there should have been no National Mall as that is green space between roads.

by Douglas Andrew Willinger on Jan 2, 2013 3:18 pm • linkreport

Actually, Geoff makes a great point. If DDOT thinks it can keep the current bridge open for a few more years, it might make sense to sit on this for a while, even if they need to dump some more money into the existing span.

If the traffic volumes really decline, I also wonder if they could cut much of the budget by closing the bridge for a year or two. It'd be inconvenient, but could potentially save a ton of money.

by andrew on Jan 2, 2013 3:20 pm • linkreport

Doug,

Yes but the national mall actually has things that people want to do there. This however is a side effect of a policy meant to move cars. Instead you could redesign things and leave space to add something for people to use.

by drumz on Jan 2, 2013 3:26 pm • linkreport

Would this plan make more sense if DC subsidized a THIRD major sporting venue on the waterfront?

by DaveS on Jan 2, 2013 3:30 pm • linkreport

A point not mentoned in the article is the $120 million or so project to shorten the existing bridge soley for aesthetics regarding that stadium that the DC city council was arm-twisted into approvng in March 2005. Such a project, so few years before the SCS Bridge replacement was a waste, which the Nationals should have been billed for the cost.

http://wwwsouthcapitolstreet.blogspot.com/2008/02/south-capitol-street-eis-released-may.html

http://wwwsouthcapitolstreet.blogspot.com/2006/06/reported-as-footnote-with-no-mention.html

http://wwwsouthcapitolstreet.blogspot.com/2006/06/47-118-million-interim-project.html

by Douglas Andrew Willinger on Jan 2, 2013 3:31 pm • linkreport

The 'South Capitol Commons'

http://www.southcapitoleis.com/

One would hope that a GGW piece could reference somethng by its name.

by Douglas Andrew Willinger on Jan 2, 2013 3:36 pm • linkreport

Doug,

I'm not against greenspace in circles, just that these examples aren't good ones. As shown, they don't look as interesting or accessible as some of our other "circle parks" like Dupont or Grant or our "square parks" like Lincoln or Stanton. I'd like a complete street, a complete vision for the area before we roll out the equivalent of mini-highway with grass in an over sized median.

by Randall M. on Jan 2, 2013 3:36 pm • linkreport

Can we put a playing field in the middle of the oval?? With lights. And a track. And the ability to put a bubble over it in the winter(think Harvard Stadium or the tennis complex at Colorado & 16th) . Just looking to fill some other needs for the city...

by valbert on Jan 2, 2013 3:38 pm • linkreport

Randall-

Please see that 2005 EIS and other documents which show more then the empty spaces in the pictures in this artcle.

Also, see the home page of my South Capitol blog for my idea of a statue for a traffic circle where the elevated SW-SE Freeway now stands.

Here's a direct link:

http://wwwsouthcapitolstreet.blogspot.com/2012/09/an-appropriate-location-for-statue-of.html

by Douglas Andrew Willinger on Jan 2, 2013 3:41 pm • linkreport

There was another plan with a traffic circle like the Lincoln Memorial whcch I have seen but can't find a url; t was cir 2003.

The trashed Extending the Legacy plan had a relocaated Supreme Court in a SCS traffic circle- which I would prefer to the 'backing up the criminal legislature' positon that it has now.

by Douglas Andrew Willinger on Jan 2, 2013 3:43 pm • linkreport

Dupont Circle is only activated and filled with people because there is other stuff to walk to all around it. It is relatively easy to get in and out of the circle due to the traffic patterns - even though the pedestrian lights are mistimed you can jaywalk a lot. Logan circle is also used some.

There are a whole host of other circles in DC I invite you to visit to see how boring and useless these spaces can be:
Washington Circle (though maybe this has improved now that it has crosswalks)
Thomas Circle
Scott Circle
Grant Circle
Sherman Circle

Some nice space to walk your dog through I suppose but not really "used" like Dupont is.

by MLD on Jan 2, 2013 3:52 pm • linkreport

Any thoughts of making it a toll-only bridge for cars and trucks. That seems to be the flavor d'jour in VA, and removes the $ element from the govt, at least.

by SJE on Jan 2, 2013 3:52 pm • linkreport

...and NCPC gives a shout-out for the design reflecting their recommendations from a decade ago: https://twitter.com/NCPCgov/statuses/286574999949672448

by Geoffrey Hatchard on Jan 2, 2013 3:54 pm • linkreport

MLD-

Yes, because that area is already developed, and this area is to be developed- just look at any of the SCS planning document.

Dupont Crcle DOES have something definitly missing here- an underpass for vehicular traffic.

by Douglas Andrew Willinger on Jan 2, 2013 3:57 pm • linkreport

It's hard to imagine anyone who would cross a five lane freeway to use whatever parkland is left in the middle of that circle. It's just improbable. Looks cool from an aerial, but there's a reason, I think, it's shown that way, rather than from the perspective of the eventual(?) user.

by Mark on Jan 2, 2013 4:06 pm • linkreport

Douglas,

I've seen that S. Cap plan before. That's pretty old now and I don't think it's the best use of the land. With the construction of the 11th street bridge, I'd like to see if its possible to reduce the capacity of South Capitol. I think Geoffrey is on the right track about that.

Instead of a park in the middle of the road north of the river, maybe eliminate a few lanes, fill in the underpass and add green space on the side east side as far up as reasonable. As development comes, they would have a more accessible park. If we had a few billion, burying the SE / SW freeway and the Union Station rail connection would be great.

by Randall M. on Jan 2, 2013 4:20 pm • linkreport

@Doug -- I'm a big fan of highways with nice planted medians, so I won't really argue with you on that point.

However, a nice highway median is rarely anything more than something that's nice to look at. Jefferson and Madison Ave are not 5-lane highways, and the mall would be a pretty bleak place if they were.

In this case, the area has a lot of potential to develop into a lively commercial and residential district. The center of a 5-lane traffic circle will never turn into a lively public space, and will likely impede the development of the areas around it.

I'm open to DDOT trying something clever in this area, but the oval seems pretty hard to defend.

by andrew on Jan 2, 2013 4:28 pm • linkreport

I personally don't get the "greenspace" part of the plans...maybe they felt it would satisfy the smart growth sect. But I totally like the idea of allowing people to navigate around in the opposite direction...especially the area as you cross the bridge east. They actually do need some sort of roundabout there.

WRT cost. The article says that w/o placing the bridge DC would have to continue shoring it up every few years. Is there an actual dollar figure that would show us how much it is to continuing tickering w/it?

Oh and Gray needs to stop. Whether they build a new one or not..one city doesn't fit.

by HogWash on Jan 2, 2013 4:29 pm • linkreport

Listen. We must bring the Redskins and FedEx field back to DC and the Waterfront is the perfect Area. Even Ward 8. I say sit on this project until the waterfront becomes what it is supposed to. For now this is pointless, and could be done WAY better.

by SWDC on Jan 2, 2013 4:45 pm • linkreport

IIRC, one of the reasons given 5 years ago for the traffic oval/circles was to slow down traffic coming off the bridge.

It should also be noted that the EIS/plans for a 6-lane bridge were made WITH the expectation that we'd already be getting a new 11th St Bridge. I'd hazard a bet that SW/Yards Park-area densification plus future development at Poplar Point is why DDOT thought they needed 6 lanes on a new bridge.

Lastly, the existing bridge is borderline decrepit. While a $120-150 million rehab might look tempting to a budget-conscious Council, there'll likely be the need of such rehabs more frequently if we retain the existing bridge. I'm of the opinion that it'd be more cost-effective to replace the existing bridge, ESPECIALLY if the Navy and Coast Guard agree that a drawspan is no longer needed.

by Froggie on Jan 2, 2013 4:46 pm • linkreport

There was once a post long ago about the idea of a McMillan II plan. Elements of it remind me of this bridge. Ah, here's a link: http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/3783/mcmillan-two-envisions-a-classical-anacostia/

The important idea of the McMII plan is the scale of streets and spaces. There are more bridges, smaller bridges. There are more streets and less roads. It breaks down the scale of the bridges and roads; and thus fosters walking. Giving peds a sense of belonging to the space.

by ArlRidgeRes on Jan 2, 2013 8:38 pm • linkreport

"Speeding up traffic across the river could help some residents who drive that way in the short run, but may also ultimately attract drivers between Maryland and Virginia, or traversing the region longer distances, to use this as a cut-through, or encourage Prince George's County commuters to drive instead of parking and riding Metro."
-----

As someone from Prince Georges who has both driven on Suitland Parkway and used the Metro Green Line to visit my client at M Street and NJ Ave. SE, I would wager that the full Metro parking lots and packed trains indicate that just about anyone from that part of Prince Georges County who CAN park and ride Metro to commute already DO.

Sometimes, we just need to face the fact that roads - and the movement of vehicular traffic - need to be improved.

by ceefer66 on Jan 2, 2013 8:40 pm • linkreport

How would this interact with streetcar tracks? As I recall, there was a proposal to ru some tracks down South Cap here.

by Dan Miller on Jan 2, 2013 8:47 pm • linkreport

For such a pedestrian bridge it's not very walkable.

The ten-year old South Capitol Street proposal under Dan Tangherlini was surprisingly good and it's a shame we didn't go with that grand proposal. A monumental bridge with access to the Anacostia riverfront parkland,a streetcar, a grand South Capitol circle, embassies, terraced condos, shops, cafes, and Life.

http://www.jdland.com/dc/files/SouthCapitolStreetGateway-and-ImprovementStudy.pdf

Instead we keep getting these unimaginative stadia, expanded freeways, etc.

by Tom Coumaris on Jan 2, 2013 9:21 pm • linkreport


Instead we got that stadium that would block options B and C in that 2003 study- which were the two options consistent with the often stated goal of a SCS Gateway linear park.

Instead we are stuck with a variation of option A which was the one that did NOT widen the SCS corridor, but consistent with the preferences of the PTB for that stadium alonng with not moving the St Vincent DePaul Roman Catholic Church, now backed up by Nats owner Lerner's recent construction.

The real plan of course was Extending the Legacy, which is the topic of my South Capitol Street blog.

Exceptionally inexcusible was the abandoning of the proposed greenway at least to the west, where new construction has foolishly been allowed to proceed.

http://wwwsouthcapitolstreet.blogspot.com/2011/06/demolition-special-breaks-ground-on.html

http://wwwsouthcapitolstreet.blogspot.com/2008/08/western-portion-of-south-capitol-mall_02.html

by Douglas Andrew Willinger on Jan 2, 2013 9:46 pm • linkreport

Some additional info on the 'South Capitol Commons'

http://wwwsouthcapitolstreet.blogspot.com/2008/03/south-capitol-commons-dead.html

by Douglas Andrew Willinger on Jan 2, 2013 10:52 pm • linkreport

The Committee of 100 really appears to have dropped the ball regarding the stadium that should not have been built:

http://wwwsouthcapitolstreet.blogspot.com/2006/04/2002-south-capitol-stadium-committee.html

by Douglas Andrew Willinger on Jan 2, 2013 10:59 pm • linkreport

While I understand that the racetrack and circle are intended to calm traffic and create monumental gateways on this important street in DC, as an urban planner or a resident of dc, I do not like the idea of such massive roads surrounding an empty space - even if that empty space is green. Perhaps if the circle/racetrack were smaller and didn't waste so much precious land on the waterfront, this might be ok - but those open spaces between the traffic lanes are not going to be used by pedestrians. Do people use the circle on the VA side of the memorial bridge? (and that circle only has three lanes of traffic around it).

Dupont Circle and (some) other great monumental circles are great because traffic goes slowly around them, there are plenty of safe crosswalks to get to the space, there are reasons to be in the space or distinct areas within the circle (think different rooms)- not one large mass, there are lots of uses and activities and density in the area, and in the case of several there is transit! I don't see enough of these characteristics here in the designs or even planned in the future to make the space justified.

While defered building is not always financially wise - I like the idea of waiting to see how the 11th street bridge plays out before spending millions on another bridge. That, and some other major decisions need to be looked into before a full design is done - such as streetcar tracks over the river (if anyone knows where they are going, please do share - I thought they got nixed from the 11th st bridge, meaning it's a long ways out before they get built there) and the timeline and use of poplar point (which seems to be in hiatus?).

Also, it would be nice if this project addressed waterfront/riverfront estrian and bike access since the project will likely redo all of the shore work there with construction.

by CityGal on Jan 3, 2013 12:57 am • linkreport

To build on CityGal's many fine points, if the city is really heading towards greater livability through pedestrianization, this seems like an abdication of a great opportunity. The oval and circle seem like fine ideas, but the scale is way off as previously noted, and with the circa 1965 highway ramps on to 295, they will all but destroy this area's potential to be an extension of the pedestrian environment being created around the ball park into Anacostia. If we're planning to accomodate another million residents, let's redesign areas that could accept some of them when we need to re-build infrastructure.

Annacostia Park seems like a great opportunity for re-development considering it's the connective tissue between the ball park area and both Annacostia and Berry Farm. With the Naval Support Facility hogging prime costal realestate to the south, it would be nice to see the city embrace one of its most underused asset, it's miles of waterfront. Why not extend the area that South Capitol is becoming de-highwayized accross the river? This would not only tie East of the river to West but considering the density we are supposed to handle in the near future, we need to envision large chunks of land to accomodate future development. Where's the big picture vision of the city, where are the McMillan styled drawings that paint a picture of what a sophisticated city could be, and not leave another infrastructure project to the narrow domain of the traffic engineer?

by Thayer-D on Jan 3, 2013 6:03 am • linkreport

Great comment @CityGal.

This is a 1950s traffic engineer's wet dream.

by oboe on Jan 3, 2013 9:57 am • linkreport

I really don't think this plan has been made by people who travel the bridge. Traffic already slows on both ends because of the curve on the East side and curve plus lights on the West. Circles = superfluous, and will definitely not have public usage a la Dupont.

As for a toll, while there are many, many commuters that cross the bridge, folks do realize it is also an important connector for folks in the poorest Ward to the rest of the city? So a toll = poverty tax for some.

Finally, if you've ever sat on the bridge in rush hour and felt it bounce with passing traffic, you might be less enthusiastic about waiting to see the results of the 11th street bridge change.

by 8for8 on Jan 3, 2013 10:00 am • linkreport

Great comment @CityGal.
This is a 1950s traffic engineer's wet dream.

Oboe- can you even cite a single example of a 1950s traffic engineering design that features such an oval or traffic circle?

And what can you cite as a better plan? The real plan- Extending the Legacy? Or just another at grade traffic light intersection for this gateway.

by Douglas Andrew Willinger on Jan 3, 2013 11:38 am • linkreport

Re: I-295

Does the slip ramp non cloverleaf design have I-295 beneath or atop Suitland Parkway?

by Douglas Andrew Willinger on Jan 3, 2013 11:41 am • linkreport

@8for8 - great points! The bridge does shake or move quite a bit. I wonder how much is normal? I think it's mainly the middle drawbridge part that moves the most (and would be expected to move).

by CityGal on Jan 3, 2013 11:48 am • linkreport

8for8, keep in mind that the new bridge will be on a new, straighter alignment, so that argument of the curves on either end of the current bridge slowing down traffic don't carry over to the new alignment.

http://www.jdland.com/dc/file-view.cfm?filename=other/douglassbridge-rendering-trafficoval-200901-3.jpg

by JD on Jan 3, 2013 12:34 pm • linkreport

Also, in this no-longer-operative rendering from the previous design of the Florida Rock site (it's all getting designed again), see how the site has been doing its plans based on the traffic oval at South Capitol and Potomac:

www.jdland.com/dc/file-view.cfm?filename=other/floridarock-southcapitolview-200801-1.jpg

(view from the northwest to the southeast across South Capitol)

Of course, this part of the Florida Rock project can't be built until the old Douglass Bridge is demolished, because that crosses the project's footprint.

by JD on Jan 3, 2013 12:44 pm • linkreport

I'm not a traffic engineer so I can't say whether the "racetrack" circle is a good or bad idea.

I'll only say that something needs to be done with interior of the circle as well as the medians to keep it from being a wasteland of overgrown grass, weeds, and trash.

by ceefer66 on Jan 3, 2013 12:45 pm • linkreport

Yes, a lot of the monumentality (and bloated road design) has to do with the route many dignitaries take to get to/from Joint Base Andrews in motorcades.

by Paul on Jan 3, 2013 12:50 pm • linkreport

The plan demonstrates how automobiles will benefit, but what about pedestrians? Do we have a plan to line the line the oval and circle with buildings? A plan on how these green spaces will be used and how they integrate into the surrounding street grids? No, and that's why I think this plan, at the very least, needs to be developed by the Office of Planning as well as DDOT.

I don't think the circle and oval are bad ideas, but they need to be thought of as urban spaces rather than just roadway elements. For instance, I don't understand why the turn radii entering the circles are so generous if the traffic circles are intended to act as traffic calming features. This is more appropriate for a suburban rotary than an urban public plaza/square/circle whatever, as are the excessive number of traffic lanes around the green spaces.

The bottom line is every major project like this in DC needs to include preserving and strengthening the urban condition as a primary objective. If not, we have to live with the mistake for generations.

by merarch on Jan 3, 2013 12:56 pm • linkreport

Why not just build a bridge higher than the ships (if any) that would be traveling through to Navy Yard its possible.

In the case of interchanges with 295 why not have cars enter and exit from the left lane (would require a reconfiguration of 295 and Suiltland Pkwy) to avoid pedestrians.

Extend the underpass to the start of the bridge and have the underpass lead directly to the left lanes of the bridge in both directions. Deck over underpass with parks and cross streets

Bus lanes from M Street to Anacostia Metro Station with dedicated entrance/exit similar to West Falls Church and Dulles Toll Road

by kk on Jan 3, 2013 2:12 pm • linkreport

kk-

do you have a drawing of this?

by Douglas Andrew Willinger on Jan 3, 2013 3:17 pm • linkreport

"In poor neighborhoods already struggling with public health and cut off from the river by a large freeway, more through traffic could be just the environmental injustice they don't need. "

Strange how so little attention is given to burying much of the Anacostia Freewway.

Too bad the new 11th Street Bridges design was not something more elegant.

by Douglas Andrew Willinger on Jan 3, 2013 5:20 pm • linkreport

They could start by putting up a sign for the 295 North loop ramp, which hasn't had a proper sign for at least a year. It's always a joy to give people directions by trying to explain that the freeway entrance is an unmarked ramp.

by Ryan on Jan 3, 2013 5:46 pm • linkreport

I though of burying the freeway, but considering recent flooding and rising water levels/larger storms, it might be cost prohibitive to do so.

by Thayer-D on Jan 4, 2013 7:03 am • linkreport

We have freeways that already go under rivers, so I doubt that the issue is technical rather than political indifference, as this concerns the less affluent SE.

by Douglas Andrew Willinger on Jan 4, 2013 1:42 pm • linkreport

Drive by green space. Ugh!

by tour guide on Jan 4, 2013 4:12 pm • linkreport

@ Douglas Andrew Willinger

I dont have any drawings I could possibly look for some or create some but it would take a while

by kk on Jan 4, 2013 7:51 pm • linkreport

kk-

I think this is worth looking into:

"Extend the underpass to the start of the bridge and have the underpass lead directly to the left lanes of the bridge in both directions. Deck over underpass with parks and cross streets."

As I point out in the comments in the subsequent GGW article on this, there's an option that makes this lateral space by spacing the inbound and outbound brodge spans apart- though that is not the official 'preferred alternative'

http://www.southcapitoleis.com/pdfs/eis/final/02_chapters/Ch_02_Alternatives.pdf

My question is the transition grade feasibility from the underpass-extended as cut and coverway to the spans.

If done, this places 2x2 of the vehicular traffic underground, thus making the surface SCS and oval or circle area far more pedestrian friendly.

PLEASE develop some drawings.

by Douglas Andrew Willinger on Jan 5, 2013 12:58 am • linkreport

As long as there is good pedestrian access (tunnels, bridges, etc.) to the green space in the oval and there is a good buffer to traffic it should not be an issue. It could be the "square" of SW (i.e., Lincoln Park and Marion Park). It can be a win for reclaimed parkland in the city.
I still feel the bascule bridge is a terrible idea and completely unmemorable. A cable stayed bridge could mark the entrance into a modern Anacostia with an increased height limit.

by Sivad on Jan 6, 2013 8:19 pm • linkreport

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Save my name and email address on this computer so I don't have to enter it next time, and so I don't have to answer the anti-spam map challenge question in the future.

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