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Breakfast links: Reconnect the grid


Photo by Transportation for America on Flickr.
Covering I-395 will reconnect the grid: Capital Crossing, a development that will cover the I-395 tunnel, begins construction in March. When completed, it will reconnect F and G Streets and create three new city blocks. (NBC4)

Snow cripples southern cities: A winter storm that swept through the South has created an ongoing transportation nightmare, especially in Atlanta. Is the weather to blame, or is it because Atlanta has failed to plan regionally? (Post, Slate)

Job training for DC's hardest-hit: DC's unemployment rate dropped citywide, but many residents in Wards 5, 7, and 8 still have high levels of joblessness. Will new job training programs reach these residents? (DCist)

WMATA botches new signs: WMATA is updating Metro signs to show the Silver Line, but installed incorrect signs at Metro Center showing the Blue Line serving 5 Orange Line stations beyond Rosslyn. Officials will soon correct the signs. (Post)

Fairfaxers caught texting while driving: In the first 6 months of Virginia's ban on texting while driving, the clear offender is Fairfax County, which had 178 of 725 total state convictions. (WTOP)

Provocative posters: Anti-gentrification posters appeared in Columbia Heights with a web address that redirects viewers to DC's inclusionary zoning policy. (PoPville)

Too cold to bike?: Capital Bikeshare trips dipped on the coldest days in January, but many still rode bikeshare during frigid weather. CaBi logged 2,339 rides on January 7 when the low was 6 degrees. (Post)

And...: One section of the Beltway may be more crash-prone than then rest. (WTOP) ... Montgomery County planners hope to allow more development in an area south of Glenmont Metro. (Gazette) ... Supporters of DC rights are disappointed President Obama didn't mention the disenfranchised District in his State of the Union. (Post)

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Kayla Gail Anthony is a project analyst in DC. She has a Masters in Community Planning from the University of Maryland and a BA in Communications from The University of Alabama. She lives in Mt. Pleasant. Posts are her own viewpoint and do not represent her employer. 

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I'm excited to read that the Capital Crossing development should start soon.

If you look at Google maps, F and G streets do not go between First and 2nd Streets NW. Will they be reconnected between these blocks, or just between 3rd and 2nd Streets? If I recall correctly, Georgetown University Law Center occupies the blocks between First and 2nd Streets but it looks as if F and G Streets could be reconnected all the way between 3rd and First Streets (i.e. no buildings in the correct path)

by Josh Collins on Jan 30, 2014 9:02 am • linkreport

In the first 6 months of Virginia's ban on texting while driving, the clear offender enforcer is Fairfax County, which had 178 of 725 total state convictions. (WTOP)

by Jasper on Jan 30, 2014 9:14 am • linkreport

Regarding the Atlanta mess…..weather is a contributing factor. Local culture is contributing factor (heck, Atlanta only averages 3 inches of snow a year). "Failing to plan regionally" is a contributing factor (but not as much as some here would otherwise think). But the PRIMARY factor was a failure of leadership decisions both the night before and the morning of.

by Froggie on Jan 30, 2014 9:15 am • linkreport

Too cold to bike?

It's not too cold to drive. Bike for five minutes and you're warm.

It's too unsafe to bike. With bike lanes poorly cleaned, and snow piling up at side-walks, intersections and in gutters, much bike space has been taken away. Add to that the many idiots who won't take the snow of their rooftops and your appetite for biking is sinking fast.

by Jasper on Jan 30, 2014 9:17 am • linkreport

Good god, I swear this area needs lessons in proper statistics. The other day the Washington Post runs a story on population changes in the area which in summary showed Fairfax as "lagging behind others" despite growing faster than Loudoun and Arlington combined. IE improperly using percent change to compare completely different populations growth patterns. Its like comparing NYC to Williston ND, an effort in pointlessness.

Now today, WTOP improperly does the opposite in terms of something that should be calculated based on incidence rate (ie tickets distributed for cell phone use while driving) which depicts Fairfax as being the biggest culprit. Well we have 3 to 4 times the population of some of those other jurisdictions, is there really much of a difference when balanced by population.

*brain explode*

by Navid Roshan on Jan 30, 2014 9:28 am • linkreport

Amen to covering 395 there, but what about where it's also in an open trench around D St. SW? That ugly mess is within eyesight of the Capitol and US Botanical Gardens....Now for a fantasy: building a new 395/695 highway underground from 14th St. Bridge to the 11th St. Bridge, then tearing down the elevated highway above it and reconnecting SE and SW to NE and NW.

by JDC on Jan 30, 2014 9:31 am • linkreport

Yeah, it's easy to imagine a scenario where 25% of virginia's drivers are all in Fairfax county at a given moment.

And the obvious joke is that traffic is so bad that if the police can't pull you over for speeding then they'll get you for texting while you sit in traffic.

by drumz on Jan 30, 2014 9:37 am • linkreport

RE 495 "Danger Corridor"

The danger corridor was defined as the region between Georgia Ave and the I-270 exit. The linked article attributes the higher crash rate in that danger corridor to heavy traffic volume. ALL of the Beltway has heavy traffic, so what else is going on in this area? The article says little about the CURVES that exist in the Beltway in that section. There are people that brake constantly throughout those curves and slow down to almost 40 mph. Drivers do not have to do that. The road is designed for your car to safely make those curves going well over 55 mph. It is extremely frustrating and I see people swerve all the time to get around very slow drivers in that section. The slow drivers create a vortex of swerving cars. Also, for some reason, many drivers must get confused at the 495/270 split and people frequently jam on the brakes there. I drive this stretch every day and it is a frustrating section of the Beltway despite having the least amount of traffic on it.

by ArchStanton on Jan 30, 2014 9:46 am • linkreport

Re: Fairfax. Couldn't possibly be because it is far and away the county in Virginia with the highest population (1,118,000. The next highest county/independent city by population is Virginia Beach at 447,000)?

17% of the state's population, 25% of the convictions. In an area of the state with a high police-to-resident ratio (could look that up as well). And the most roads. In the part of the state that actually wanted the law passed. Color me shocked.

by Catherine on Jan 30, 2014 9:46 am • linkreport

On a completely different note (than my previous post and my typical tone) I am extremely excited for the 395 decking project. I really think air rights is an underused tool fiscally in transportation funding as well as in terms of land use mitigating vehicle scale infrastructure. I hope it is a demonstration project for Arlingtons ambitions for I-66, and my continued push for something on Route 123 where the topography could support it.

by Navid Roshan on Jan 30, 2014 9:48 am • linkreport

@ I-395

I love how the title of the news article is "Capitol Crossing Project to Bring Years of Construction Downtown" why does the news always have to report everything so negativly.

by Matt R on Jan 30, 2014 9:52 am • linkreport

"Economic Growth to bring jobs, traffic delays to Washington. Will your life be ruined by newcomers? Find out at 11!"

by Neil Flanagan on Jan 30, 2014 9:54 am • linkreport

Amen Catherine, its plain and simple been a bad week to be a journalism statistician in this region. People simply don't understand that in NOVA (and the metro as a whole) certain jurisdictions are massive while others are relatively tiny.

----

To those who attack the "gentrification". I'd like to know how many of those same people would be offended by the flip side of that coin, people in upper middle class neighborhoods complaining about "those people" coming by metro and buses. I wish both sides would get their respective head's out of their ...

by Navid Roshan on Jan 30, 2014 9:54 am • linkreport

Oh and also it was 168 convictions or 23%.

by Catherine on Jan 30, 2014 9:55 am • linkreport

@ArchStanton...if the road was designed for people to go 55 through there, they would go 55 through there. Maybe I'm just a wuss, but I typically just drive that stretch in the right hand lane and go the speed limit. Or I go in the far left lane if I'm really rushing it. I'm fine going through those curves at the speed limit or faster, I'm just not comfortable doing it with cars on both sides me of that I also have to worry about. Some of the exits can also kind of sneak up on you around a curve if you don't know where to be, which I'm sure contributes.

by Brian S on Jan 30, 2014 9:57 am • linkreport

The 395 decking is going to be interesting.

I doubt the increase in property taxes will ever pay for the pain the years of construction will have on the area.

Also, I haven't seen a real estimate on how much an increase in the building costs will be. They quote 250M for the foundation, but that is spread among several buildings.

by charlie on Jan 30, 2014 9:59 am • linkreport

That's obvious and was definitely missing from that article, ArchStanton. It's bad enough people don't stay to the right so people can't pass on the left, but many don't maintain their speed. Hills and turns are conditions that are the biggest problem on some sections of highways in this region.

by selxic on Jan 30, 2014 10:01 am • linkreport

RE: Beltway Crashes

Another story about crashes; another story that fails to give any mention of crash *rates*.

by Bossi on Jan 30, 2014 10:01 am • linkreport

RE: Glenmont

I'm curious whether the reporter is aware that Glenmont has its own distinct Metro station? She references the "Wheaton-Glenmont Metro station" as being 1.5 miles south... not a hint about the Metro station sitting right at the center of this planning area.

by Bossi on Jan 30, 2014 10:04 am • linkreport

Re: Beltway "Danger Corridor," I think that more broadly, there are a lot of major speed differentials between cars in that stretch, caused by all sorts of things:
  • Backups from the Rockville Pike exit (outer loop), and I think similar backups on the inner loop (though I drive that much less so have less direct knowledge)
  • Major merging in from Georgia on the outer loop, or from 270 and 495 on the inner loop
  • Indecision at the 495/270 split on the outer loop
  • And just general confusion/discomfort caused by the curves and hills and resulting lack of visibility
All of these factors combine to give you traffic flowing at 50-60 MPH in one lane while traffic isn't moving at all three lanes over. This is a recipe for disaster. And less dramatic differentials are extremely common, with less severe but still dangerous results.

by Gray on Jan 30, 2014 10:07 am • linkreport

Brian S:
The road is definitely designed to go 55 mph there. And you can. Even in traffic. But people feel it necessary to brake and slow way down. And I am not talking about slowing down to 55...but sometimes to 40 mph through those curves. And that is very dangerous as it disrupts the entire flow of the traffic. People start to weave in and out of lanes.

What also happens in that the traffic congestion subsides after Georgia Ave and people are ready to get back up to speed (55 mph). You have those people speeding up and other slowing down again.

I drive this stretch every work day and there are times that I am behind people going as slow as 35 mph through those curves with no cars in front of them.

by ArchStanton on Jan 30, 2014 10:08 am • linkreport

Very much looking forward to the 395 decking. It's a total scar on the downtown urban fabric.

by BTA on Jan 30, 2014 10:15 am • linkreport

@Matt R -

Would you prefer the various news media be censored by the government?

If you don't like it, start your own blog or whatever. "Matt's all sunny news all the time no matter what" - sheesh - oh, wait that's all negative so here you go: :-)

by DaveG on Jan 30, 2014 10:18 am • linkreport

@ ArchStanton: I am not talking about slowing down to 55...but sometimes to 40 mph through those curves. And that is very dangerous as it disrupts the entire flow of the traffic. People start to weave in and out of lanes.

So... who is behaving dangerously here? The people slowing down to a speed they are comfortable with, or the people who start weaving in and out of lanes?

55 mph is the speed limit, not the speed minimum.

BTW: Most interstates are designed for a speed 10 or 15 mph over the posted speed limit.

by Jasper on Jan 30, 2014 10:23 am • linkreport

This story makes me happy. The development is a concrete sign that we're moving beyond automobile-centricity and acknowledging that a liveable city must prioritize people ahead of cars. That 395 canyon where it cuts through the city is a forbidden zone to anyone not in a car. It rends the fabric of the city. I hope we'll keep the momentum going and put pedestrian-friendly roofs on the other below grade roads: North Capitol, Dupont Circle, etc. This is the right direction.

by likedrypavement on Jan 30, 2014 10:33 am • linkreport

I'm surprised there's been little (if any) comment on the rectory building of Holy Rosary Church, which lay in the path of the F Street extension. I assume the rectory will be removed. Will it be re-built as a part of the Capital Crossing project cost? Where will it be re-built?

by dmarshall on Jan 30, 2014 10:35 am • linkreport

DC gentifrication is complicated. What people are really upset about (whether they know it or not) is increased economic stratification. Historically (for the past 40 years anyway) not enough people wanted to live in cities to soak up existing capacity depressing rent. Now that there is more interest among the middle and upper class you are seeing price signals that push poor people out like has always happend in suburbia.

by BTA on Jan 30, 2014 10:35 am • linkreport

Change, baby.

Josh poses an interesting question about the 395 decking -- The model shown in the TV news story does picture F and G Sts being connected straight through the GULC campus. As a graduate of the school, I can tell you that ain't gonna happen. G St is a mini-park that connects the original Law School building where most classes are and the Library. To repave it would not only be disruptive, but impossible as there isn't enough space left between the buildings. F St. could be restored to traffic, but I imagine the school would not welcome a thoroughfare dividing the campus (there is a dorm and a newer building containing classrooms, a fitness center and cafe on the south side of F.

Having said that, it will still be interesting to see what other impacts the development will have. The school has been a good neighbor I think to the massive homeless shelter across E St., but I wonder if the new neighbors will be so comfortable in that setting.

As for the Beltway -- the article does definitely refer to the roller coaster through that area. Cars often slow down far too much there, which can cause rear-end crashes, but reducing the nominal speed limit won't impact that at all. Traffic back-ups from Georgia Ave exits can be quite lengthy and this definitely impacts all lanes. Also, glare from the setting sun poses real hazards for those heading west in the afternoon/evening. That slows traffic down faster than anything other than an accident. But, it's the roller coaster drive that has the biggest impact. Why drivers feel they have to slow on those wide curves is beyond me.

I've driven past the Town Center development going up in Laurel. Seems pretty exciting to me. If we could ever get some real mass transit there, maybe they could even turn the big surface parking lots into underground garages and "deck over" with big residential apartment buildings.....Lots of potential there for an eastern counterpart to Silver Spring and Bethesda (and a southern competitor to Arundel Mills....)

Also wondering about the Glenmont rezoning. No mention in the piece really about the grand plans to do a town center there.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Jan 30, 2014 10:35 am • linkreport

Re: 395 Decking:
I wonder if there's any activity to build atop the already-decked part of I-395, between H St & K St? If not, maybe this new development will spur things a little further north. (I haven't been over that way for a long time to see for myself, and Google maps satellite view just shows it as parking, as it's been for years, but that image is not new.)

by 17th Street on Jan 30, 2014 10:37 am • linkreport

Sorry - -my comments on Laurel might seem out of left field. If you click the link for the Gazette piece on Glenmont, you'll see a link to news about the first opening dates for the Laurel Town Center project.

http://www.gazette.net/article/20140130/NEWS/140139947/towne-centre-at-laurel-to-kick-off-opening-march-28&template=gazette

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Jan 30, 2014 10:43 am • linkreport

Who owns the right of way on F st and G st does the University own it? If not DC can theoretically do whatever they want with it. As far as I can tell all the building lines seem comparable to the next section of G so I don't see how that would be the impediment.

by BTA on Jan 30, 2014 10:47 am • linkreport

Jasper:
I will undoubtedly say that the people slowing way down are the ones that are causing the problems. Part of driving is the expectation that people are moving a certain speed and not significantly slower than the posted speed limit. And, yes, many jurisdictions DO have posted minimums on highways and interstates for this reason. Going 38 mph in a 55 zone IS DANGEROUS if others are expecting to move at or near 55 mph in clear driving conditions. It causes unnecessary lane changes and the unexpected braking from 50 to 40 mph can cause rear end collisions. I think someone driving 10 mph under the speed limit is a far more dangerous driver than someone driving 5 mph over.

by ArchStanton on Jan 30, 2014 10:48 am • linkreport

Frankly, how fast or slow people go is almost irrelevant to the discussion, Jasper. The problem is that people don't maintain their speed.

by selxic on Jan 30, 2014 10:49 am • linkreport

NYT--Bezos greatly expanding WaPo and hiring many new people.

Great news for editors and writers. (Maybe WaPo will rehire proofreaders!) But what is Bezos up to? Can't just be to get his internet sales tax.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/30/business/media/major-expansion-ahead-at-the-washington-post.html?hp&_r=0

by Tom Coumaris on Jan 30, 2014 10:54 am • linkreport

17th St, there is a lot of construction over that way but I dont think I've seen anything on the deck. I imagine it might not have been built to the structural requirements to even do so but I'm no engineer.

by BTA on Jan 30, 2014 10:57 am • linkreport

Cycling might be safer in the snow. The fear of white stuff forces car drivers to slow down and pay attention. Best of all, it keeps a lot of drivers off the public roadways.

Covering 395 would help hide a disgraceful blemish on the nation's capital.

by Sydney on Jan 30, 2014 10:59 am • linkreport

Archstanton:I will undoubtedly say that the people slowing way down are the ones that are causing the problems.

Wow.

Part of driving is the expectation that people are moving a certain speed and not significantly slower than the posted speed limit.

No. All of driving is that you drive safely. By keeping a safe speed, and a safe distance from others. And by anticipating the behavior of others. And by reacting to unexpected things on the road in a calm and safe manner.

The speed limit is the upper speed you can drive, not an advisory speed. Advisory speeds are posted on yellow signs. How fast you drive depends on the conditions - as anyone in the south currently can tell you.

And, yes, many jurisdictions DO have posted minimums on highways and interstates for this reason.

But Maryland does not. And the ones that do, tend to have 40 as a speed minimum on interstates (where the speed limit tends to be around 70). Which keeps these people who are going 40 nicely within the limits.

Going 38 mph in a 55 zone IS DANGEROUS if others are expecting to move at or near 55 mph in clear driving conditions.

Since when does rush-hour count as clear driving conditions? And if the conditions are so clear, why can't you see them and safely move around them?

Also, how can one adapt to the expectations of total strangers who happen to drive behind them? Seems to me, those people should change their expectations. Especially if this happens regularly. To throw in an Einstein quote: "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

It causes unnecessary lane changes and the unexpected braking from 50 to 40 mph can cause rear end collisions.

You know that in rear-end collisions the rear driver is pretty much always at fault, right? Because the rear driver should have driven in such a way that he could have avoided the front car.

I think someone driving 10 mph under the speed limit is a far more dangerous driver than someone driving 5 mph over.

You may think what you want, but that does not mean it's legal, sensible or safe.

by Jasper on Jan 30, 2014 11:13 am • linkreport

.if the road was designed for people to go 55 through there, they would go 55 through there.

Not necessarily. People slow down because they see sharp curves. Want they don't see (or don't pay attention to) is the angle the roadway is banked so you can safely drive faster than 55mph without any threat of skidding out, even in the rain.

As for the safest driving speed, it's not necessarily correlated to the speed limit. You should drive under the speed limit if your greatest concern is following the letter of the law. You should drive with the flow of traffic and at a consistent/predictable speed if your concern is safety. Just because one doesn't feel comfortable driving at consistent speed because they're not able to take into account the angle of the banked roadway into their mental calculation of risk, doesn't mean they get to endanger others (and themselves).

by Falls Church on Jan 30, 2014 12:15 pm • linkreport

This case is one where "safe speed" and all of that don't need to be debated. It's simply a matter of maintaining a speed. It is rarely "safe" to rapidly decelerate in clear driving conditions. Also, the existence of traffic does not mean conditions cannot be clear.

Are you familiar with that section of 495 in Maryland, Jasper?

by selxic on Jan 30, 2014 12:24 pm • linkreport

F Street NW should be reconstructed and connected east to First Street, NW. The GU law School should not block the opening of a public street and the same goes for G Street NW, which should be restored through to New Jersey Avenue, NW.

by Districter on Jan 30, 2014 12:33 pm • linkreport

re:Beltway
One problem with the inner loop in that area is the ending of the 355 merge lane on the left hand side. Constantly causes problems with people refusing to merge or using it to try and jump ahead. The lane really should become a thru travel lane and the far right lane should become an exit only at Conn Ave.

This area of the beltway really breaks our expectations for interstates compared to coming off 95 or 270. You go from a simple situation to one requiring high cognitive load at the same speed.

In an urban environment, you'd use techniques like limiting sight lines, narrowing lanes, narrow/removing shoulders, and curving the road to slow down traffic. No surprise that it is happening on the beltway. And reading the article (sorry!) shows the road was initially planned as a parkway where curves and elevation changes would fit better.

I assume there were really good reasons to not use eminent domain to build this road properly in the first place. But that decision has ended up costing lives.

by duncan on Jan 30, 2014 12:47 pm • linkreport

I assume there were really good reasons to not use eminent domain to build this road properly in the first place. But that decision has ended up costing lives.

Kensington I assume. The road dips to avoid it. I have no clue who cooked up the 270 branches but that is crazy as well.

by Richard on Jan 30, 2014 1:00 pm • linkreport

@ selxic:Are you familiar with that section of 495 in Maryland, Jasper?

Been there. Not often. It's the opposite side of town for me. It is curvy, it is hilly, it is busy, it is a confusing area due to the many (left) entries and exit. Add to that the typical DC driving style of all us assistants to the vice-pres of unimportant affair combined with a bunch of out-of-towners freaking the hell out and you have a recipe for disaster. It's actually quite comparable to the Springfield interchange in a way, especially now with all the HOT ramps and the thru and local lanes in Alexandria.

It is rarely "safe" to rapidly decelerate in clear driving conditions.

Who says that people who drive slowly 'rapidly decelerate'? And what constitutes 'clear driving conditions'?

by Jasper on Jan 30, 2014 1:01 pm • linkreport

Perhaps GLUC could construct tunnels to connect their buildings under restored F & G Streets?

by DaveG on Jan 30, 2014 1:04 pm • linkreport

"F Street NW should be reconstructed and connected east to First Street, NW. The GU law School should not block the opening of a public street and the same goes for G Street NW, which should be restored through to New Jersey Avenue, NW."
by Districter on Jan 30, 2014 12:33 pm

Why? Because it's there? Here, we're on a site that loves pedestrian plazas. All of a sudden, it's more important to have a fully connected grid, than asking cars to go one or two blocks out of their way and go down wide roads meant to carry lots of traffic, like Mass Ave and New Jersey Ave., instead of a tiny street that cuts through a school with students going back and forth from the early morning hours until late at night? I might add that F St. ends a block and half later anyway, when it hits North Capitol, in the plaza outside Union Station. G St. isn't really a through street either. It ends even sooner, at New Jersey Ave., though there is a little jog to the north, where G St. starts up again and runs for all of 2 blocks.

If your'e dreaming of big urban grids, there is good reason to connect tot he west, but less reason to create an urban connection cutting through the law school campus. For me, the project is exciting because it reclaims a big chunk of the city for development. Whether the grid is extended two more blocks or for three or four more blocks is hardly relevant, and not worth the impact on the university. It ain't just the safety of pedestrian students that's at issue -- it's the noise disruption where dozens of classes are ongoing at any one time. The school was designed to sit on a couple of blocks without cross-traffic rumbling past classrooms. That should be respected, as should the school's massive investment over the years, bringing development where only parking lots existed before.

The dorm at 120 F St. is the perfectly realized dream of GGW fanaticos. Absolutely no parking is provided for the residents. Why mess up this pedestrian oasis? Thru-traffic can use E St to the south or turn up a block or two to Mass Ave to the north.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Jan 30, 2014 1:25 pm • linkreport

Reconnecting the pedestrian street grid is absolutely vital. The air rights development will open that door. But there's not a tremendous need to reconnect F and G through the Georgetown Law campus for cars.

With some very minor changes, the GU Law Campus is set to go in that regard. The pedestrian connectivity is the most important piece.

by Alex B. on Jan 30, 2014 1:30 pm • linkreport

"Been there. Not often. It's the opposite side of town for me. It is curvy, it is hilly, it is busy, it is a confusing area due to the many (left) entries and exit. "

There isn't a single left exit or entry in that stretch. There is a split at the end of this stretch with I-270 to the west, or, if heading east, a merge with the spur. If you're heading west and then north on I-270, there is also a merge/entry where an HOV lane/entrance joins and adds another lane. On the Beltway though, between the I-270 merge and...really anywhere to the east, there is not a single left exit or entry.

There's no HOT lane or anything like that. At one end you have the two highways splitting and/or merging, but that happens pretty seamlessly (it's also well a couple of miles west of the stretch in question), and at the other end to the east, you have exits or entry ramps to/from I-95 (also miles from the stretch in question. Neither end is really like the mixing bowl, though, or the confusing signage in Virginia that has led many folks astray trying to get from 267 to 495 (though, that has gotten better, I think, in the new configuration.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Jan 30, 2014 1:38 pm • linkreport

Re: GU and F/G streets: The public streets should be reopened to the public at least as pedestrian ways!

by Districter on Jan 30, 2014 1:47 pm • linkreport

I should amend htat __ I tend to think of the I-270 and hte 355 merge together. As Duncan notes, the 355 merge does come from the left and causes problems, That interchange -- where I live actually -- has always been idiocy. There is no exit to WIsconsin going south -- effectively, one has to make a u-turn -- but, at least it's designed for that -- a separate lane leads you to a light, at which you can complete the turn south.. If your'e traveling Rockville Pike 355 south, there is no access to the Beltway or I-270, without having to make a u-turn on 355. It's an impossible fix at this point, but the Beltway would move a whole lot better if 355 merged from the right -- and the surrounding roads would do better if there an exit/entry from Rockville Pike/Wisconsin Ave South.

Anyway, that merge does suck, as it slows down the traffic in the left lane. Some folks actually merge well before the dotted line appears to allow for that, while others illegally leave the thru lanes of the highway for the entrance lane to skip around traffic. Yes, the world would work better if people knew what they're doing.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Jan 30, 2014 1:50 pm • linkreport

@Districter -- No one stops you from walking down F St. Not really sure about G ST. I believe there is a gate at one end, but I don't think I've ever seen it closed.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Jan 30, 2014 1:53 pm • linkreport

@ Fishy:There isn't a single left exit or entry in that stretch. There is a split at the end of this stretch with I-270 to the west, or, if heading east, a merge with the spur.

Oh great, go nitpick. Going east, I-270 comes in from the left. A bit earlier, the split to I-270 is a left exit. Going the other way, the 270 spur comes in on the left.

by Jasper on Jan 30, 2014 2:10 pm • linkreport

Pretty sure if GW Law can handle auto traffic on G and H over on their side of the city, Georgetown Law can do the same. No reason why cars, bike, and pedestrians can't share the space. Balance is the key.

by 7r3y3r on Jan 30, 2014 2:59 pm • linkreport

Who says that people who drive slowly 'rapidly decelerate'?
I don't know. I didn't say that.

It doesn't matter if people are slow, fast, or keeping it medium. Many drivers unnecessarily decelerate in the sections of 495 that we are discussing and that causes problems.

by selxic on Jan 30, 2014 3:41 pm • linkreport

7r3y3r -- Huge difference. The GW campus was built for that environment. The GULC campus was designed and built over years as essentially a 3-block island that did not have thru traffic.I suppose it's fine to fetishize a clean grid, but that doesn't exist there and wouldn't exist there, even if F and G were restored to carry thru traffic on that one block intersecting the campus.

As I wrote above, F St never really went away and could be connected easily enough, though it really would only be a two block extension, from 2nd St. to North Capitol. Might not be worth the disruption. G St effectively disappeared on the block that would sit between the library and main building. Restoring that would be massively disruptive, and would only add that additional 3/4 block between 2nd St and New Jersey Ave.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Jan 30, 2014 3:41 pm • linkreport

One problem with the Georgia Avenue exit on the Beltway is that the Beltway is on a hill there and the acceleration/deceleration lanes are relatively short, so you have vehicles merging before they've come completely up to speed. Although significantly better since they eliminated some of the cloverleafs several years ago.

A discussion of DC's I-395 and the word "CHOCKED!" has not appeared once? I'm amazed. :)

by Frank IBC on Jan 30, 2014 4:53 pm • linkreport

Many drivers unnecessarily decelerate in the sections of 495 that we are discussing and that causes problems.

I am not denying that. I am just questioning whether it's the slowing folks who are the problem, or the people refusing to slow down and reacting like madmen weaving in and out of lanes unsafely.

IMHO, it is not the people slowing down who are the problem, but the people who are unable to react safely to these slower people, and end up weaving around them in a panicked fashion.

@ Fischy:The GW campus was built for that environment.

But only very reluctantly so. GW would love to take responsibility of its internal roads, but - as usual - DC refuses to collaborate with its academic institutions, and ends up with worse roads.

by Jasper on Jan 30, 2014 9:09 pm • linkreport

RE: 395 Air Rights Development

1) F could be reconnected easily, but not G. There is a Federal building at the SE corner of 3rd & G which juts into the G Street ROW. However, hopefully the fence & high shrubs can be removed at Georgetown so G is more welcoming to pedestrians. Certainly now those help with interstate noise, but that'll be gone once 395 is capped.

2) The rectory building will be temporarily relocated off-site, and then brought back and incorporated into the development further South. It's already been moved before, when 395 was built.

by Tony Goodman, ANC 6C06 on Jan 30, 2014 9:31 pm • linkreport

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