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Author Topic: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas  (Read 4706 times)

roadfro

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #25 on: August 26, 2020, 11:04:47 PM »

I'm still curious how a sunken freeway is any different than an elevated freeway in regards to exhaust, noise pollution, psychological barrier, etc.... Are people more physically comfortable walking across a 600-foot bridge over a trench or under 600 feet of elevated bridge structures?

If elevated and sunken facilities have relatively similar environmental impacts, and the sunken freeway presents the same traffic improvements at a lower cost, wouldn't that be a more effective and efficient use of transportation dollars in the long term?
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STLmapboy

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #26 on: August 26, 2020, 11:14:59 PM »

If I were on the Las Vegas City Council, I'd be furious – and I'd be demanding a Margaret Hance Park solution before anything moved forward.
I think Portland might be getting to your head dude.
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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #27 on: August 27, 2020, 11:51:01 AM »

If I were on the Las Vegas City Council, I'd be furious – and I'd be demanding a Margaret Hance Park solution before anything moved forward.
I think Portland might be getting to your head dude.

Maybe it should get in yours, son
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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #28 on: August 27, 2020, 11:53:15 AM »

I'm still curious how a sunken freeway is any different than an elevated freeway in regards to exhaust, noise pollution, psychological barrier, etc.... Are people more physically comfortable walking across a 600-foot bridge over a trench or under 600 feet of elevated bridge structures?

If elevated and sunken facilities have relatively similar environmental impacts, and the sunken freeway presents the same traffic improvements at a lower cost, wouldn't that be a more effective and efficient use of transportation dollars in the long term?

I've walked under that freeway numerous times. It's unpleasant, but it's not nearly as unpleasant as walking over a freeway. It's quieter (even with the echoing street traffic), the shade can be a relief, and there is limited adaptive reuse under the viaduct.

I guess what I'm saying is, none of these are good options. A new viaduct is an expensive, dark tunnel in the middle of the city. A new trench is a loud maw. The latter is probably the best alternative – if it has a cap, but that's not what NDOT is proposing.
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heynow415

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #29 on: August 27, 2020, 02:00:49 PM »

I'm still curious how a sunken freeway is any different than an elevated freeway in regards to exhaust, noise pollution, psychological barrier, etc.... Are people more physically comfortable walking across a 600-foot bridge over a trench or under 600 feet of elevated bridge structures?

If elevated and sunken facilities have relatively similar environmental impacts, and the sunken freeway presents the same traffic improvements at a lower cost, wouldn't that be a more effective and efficient use of transportation dollars in the long term?

I've walked under that freeway numerous times. It's unpleasant, but it's not nearly as unpleasant as walking over a freeway. It's quieter (even with the echoing street traffic), the shade can be a relief, and there is limited adaptive reuse under the viaduct.

I guess what I'm saying is, none of these are good options. A new viaduct is an expensive, dark tunnel in the middle of the city. A new trench is a loud maw. The latter is probably the best alternative – if it has a cap, but that's not what NDOT is proposing.

The issue with the new design is permeability, or lack thereof, for people on either side of it.  Older freeways built through established neighborhoods typically slashed through the existing street grid, severing all but  a few connections which were usually arterials and often included ramps to the freeway.  To its credit, the existing viaduct maintained most of the city street grid, even if it is a massive visual barrier between downtown and the community to the north.  The proposed design would appear to sever most of the existing street connections.

This situation is somewhat unique in that much of the former cityscape adjacent to the area is either parking lots or otherwise vacant so there is already a large no-man's land severing the two parts of the city.  Nonetheless, a cap on top of a new sunken freeway would enable retention of the connectivity between the two parts, resulting in a continuous street grid to facilitate reconnection of the two parts of the community.  Capping freeways is extremely expensive though designing it in from the outset is far cheaper than trying to retrofit it later.  In many examples from elsewhere "land" on the cap can be sold off or long-term leased for development, substantially offsetting the cost of building the cap while further enhancing the continuity of the "urban form" between the two sides of the freeway, whatever that might be envisioned as by the community. 

This type of project can be designed to meet multiple objectives, providing much-needed transportation improvements while also leveraging the opportunity to enhance and restore the surrounding community.  Vegas definitely marches to the beat of a different drummer than many metro areas but the fiscal benefits of developing untaxed land (the freeway) and redeveloping underutilized land (the sea of parking lots and vacant land next to it) should be enticing to any elected official.
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sparker

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #30 on: August 27, 2020, 08:49:02 PM »

I'm still curious how a sunken freeway is any different than an elevated freeway in regards to exhaust, noise pollution, psychological barrier, etc.... Are people more physically comfortable walking across a 600-foot bridge over a trench or under 600 feet of elevated bridge structures?

If elevated and sunken facilities have relatively similar environmental impacts, and the sunken freeway presents the same traffic improvements at a lower cost, wouldn't that be a more effective and efficient use of transportation dollars in the long term?

I've walked under that freeway numerous times. It's unpleasant, but it's not nearly as unpleasant as walking over a freeway. It's quieter (even with the echoing street traffic), the shade can be a relief, and there is limited adaptive reuse under the viaduct.

I guess what I'm saying is, none of these are good options. A new viaduct is an expensive, dark tunnel in the middle of the city. A new trench is a loud maw. The latter is probably the best alternative – if it has a cap, but that's not what NDOT is proposing.

All things being equal, I've generally found it more pleasant to walk over a freeway on an overpass than under, particularly with older & more "dingy" underpasses.  Of course, if one has acrophobia, the overpass may not be the best experience!  Wide sidewalks on overpasses help (cf. the Colorado Blvd. overpass over the 710 "stub" in Pasadena; I've even seen hot dog carts on that one!).  What they've done here in San Jose along the elevated CA 87 freeway that passes through the west side of downtown is make the underpasses as "open" as possible; the openings have at least 20' of overhead clearance (needed to clear the LR catenary on one, but Caltrans seems to have standarized it on all the overheads).  On the one most used by pedestrians (right near the SAP arena where the NHL Sharks play) the city has commissioned murals on the concrete walls, most deployed in conjunction with SJSU's community art outreach program.  But for trenched freeways in urban centers, there's still nothing like a cap to minimize the visual effect of the freeway.  However, most caps that I've encountered aren't designed to support huge amounts of weight (read buildings!) above them (the I-5 cap in Seattle being a notable exception); there are minimal amounts of bents underneath between or adjacent to the freeway carriageways -- and those are usually retrofit in any case -- so what is placed atop the cap more often resembles a park or plaza than anything else simply because that is what the structure will support.  If the I-515 (or nascent I-11) freeway is going to be rebuilt as a trench rather than a viaduct, it might behoove NDOT to design the whole thing with enough between-lanes support for at least some actual structures to be placed above the lanes.  With the physical separation of HOV/HOT lanes in the middle, a through-traffic carriageway, and "slip" lanes for outside egress, there should be enough room to deploy enough bents for a reasonable amount of structural support -- similar to basement-level garage facilities in office buildings.  It would be nice to see some sort of continuous city motif applied rather than a conspicuous "flat zone" over the freeway lanes -- and to do that, the freeway needs to be configured around that concept rather than the historic stand-alone through facility standing out like the proverbial sore thumb!  If, as the above post claims, there are vast swatches of parking lots or even vacant lots adjacent to the present facility, there's no reason why a reasonable redevelopment program couldn't be instituted.  Only thing -- because of the noise and vibration, most if not all of the units directly above the freeway would be best suited for strictly commercial/office/retail usage; the adjacent available land could host housing in the upper building floors (as per currently accepted urbanist methodology).  Of course, low-cost housing rather than gentrified mega-condos should be a central feature of any development near downtown -- the area's service workers could use an in-town residential area accessible by transit!  Save the "high-roller" stuff for down by the Strip or out in the 'burbs! 
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #31 on: August 27, 2020, 10:40:48 PM »

Sparker, check out this street in Columbus(though I suspect you are already aware of it):

Dropped pin
Near 587-569 N High St, Columbus, OH 43215
https://goo.gl/maps/8KfWDuwZ9qshXwAV8

I think if we made more overpasses like this one the effects of freeways would be much less noticeable and I would imagine this is cheaper than building large caps and certainly cheaper than tunneling.
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jdbx

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #32 on: August 28, 2020, 12:43:25 PM »

Sparker, check out this street in Columbus(though I suspect you are already aware of it):

Dropped pin
Near 587-569 N High St, Columbus, OH 43215
https://goo.gl/maps/8KfWDuwZ9qshXwAV8

I think if we made more overpasses like this one the effects of freeways would be much less noticeable and I would imagine this is cheaper than building large caps and certainly cheaper than tunneling.

I like that a lot better than the Walgreens that they built on top of I-80 in Reno between Virginia and Center St.  I'm curious what the story is behind capping just one block and then putting a Walgreens there.

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Plutonic Panda

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #33 on: August 28, 2020, 12:56:31 PM »

It’s funny you mention that. I was just thinking about the other day and when I went to that Walgreens I couldn’t get over how bizarre that was.
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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #34 on: August 28, 2020, 01:31:21 PM »

It’s funny you mention that. I was just thinking about the other day and when I went to that Walgreens I couldn’t get over how bizarre that was.

It was, unsurprisingly, planned to be a casino. The developer built the deck lid and then gave up on the project. The Walgreens came many years later.

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sparker

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #35 on: August 28, 2020, 07:02:46 PM »

Sparker, check out this street in Columbus(though I suspect you are already aware of it):

Dropped pin
Near 587-569 N High St, Columbus, OH 43215
https://goo.gl/maps/8KfWDuwZ9qshXwAV8

I think if we made more overpasses like this one the effects of freeways would be much less noticeable and I would imagine this is cheaper than building large caps and certainly cheaper than tunneling.
I like that a lot better than the Walgreens that they built on top of I-80 in Reno between Virginia and Center St.  I'm curious what the story is behind capping just one block and then putting a Walgreens there.
It’s funny you mention that. I was just thinking about the other day and when I went to that Walgreens I couldn’t get over how bizarre that was.
It was, unsurprisingly, planned to be a casino. The developer built the deck lid and then gave up on the project. The Walgreens came many years later.

Obviously, it's better to plan such things at the time the original freeway was constructed.  But the general focus of past projects were much more compartmentalized than with today's endeavors, with significantly more socioeconomic factors included within today's calculi.  Thus "retrofitting" is the name of the game with most of today's freeway mitigation -- and, as the aforementioned Walgreens example indicates, anything can happen there -- and the best laid plans often don't reach fruition (not that another casino would be the optimal use for that "cap space").  But if I-515(I-11/US 95) is slated for a full revision, including getting rid of the viaduct and sinking the facility, then that mitigation can be integrated with the freeway plans from their inception -- provided, of course, that various agencies can see eye-to-eye on design and functional standards -- and the money is there to do the job right!  The problem is if one or another of the involved parties elects to either limit their input or, worse, "cheap out" on their end of the project (or capitulate to development dollars), the finished product might well not be much of an improvement over what would exist without the mitigation.  But one doesn't know until the process commences.  Let's hope NDOT and the LV redevelopment agency can "dovetail" their needs into something beneficial to both the local area and the driving public. :poke:     

And in regards to the Columbus overcrossing example -- funny they should employ classic "southwest" architecture in that design!  Phoenix, yes; Columbus, strange!
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ClassicHasClass

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #36 on: September 01, 2020, 12:04:05 AM »

Quote
It was, unsurprisingly, planned to be a casino. The developer built the deck lid and then gave up on the project.

Sounds about right.
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roadfro

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #37 on: March 12, 2021, 10:45:13 AM »

NDOT has temporarily closed several streets east of downtown as a test run and means of soliciting feedback from neighborhood residents about possible future street closures proposed as part of this project.

8 streets in downtown Las Vegas to be closed for a month as test run, Las Vegas Review-Journal, 3/8/2021
Quote
Eight surface streets in downtown Las Vegas will be closed to traffic for over a month as a test run for a planned road project that could exceed $1 billion.

The temporary closures that began Monday and run through April 12 include Seventh, Eighth, 10th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 19th and 21st streets at U.S. Highway 95, the Nevada Department of Transportation announced Monday.

The streets will be partially closed from March 8 to 28 and will be fully closed from March 29 to April 12.

“There are three design alternatives being evaluated, and each of these streets are proposed for possible closure,” said Tony Illia, NDOT spokesman. “Fourth Street is only proposed to close as part of the project’s recessed design alternative, so it will not be shut down during these temporary closures.”
<...>
The streets in the test run could be permanently closed as part of the planned Downtown Access Project. The temporary closures are aimed at providing area residents and businesses a chance to see how the new street configurations work first and an opportunity to provide feedback and voice concerns.

Project signage will direct those in the area to visit the project website at www.ndotdap.com or call the community feedback line at 702-938-5440. A brief survey is available on the website in both English and Spanish.<...>

It would seem NDOT learned from the I-15 & F Street fiasco several years ago, and are being a bit more proactive about advertising and soliciting feedback of the possible closures from the area residents.

The article also mentions that the planned construction timeline for whatever alternative is chosen is slated to be 2027-2031.
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Roadfro - AARoads Pacific Southwest moderator since 2010, Nevada roadgeek since 1983.

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #38 on: March 14, 2021, 08:57:10 PM »

This seems like a really old-school project. I'm fall for replacing the viaduct and even widening the freeway. But I thought we were done with the whole "freeways cutting off streets in poor neighborhoods" thing
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #39 on: March 14, 2021, 09:13:04 PM »

This seems like a really old-school project. I'm fall for replacing the viaduct and even widening the freeway. But I thought we were done with the whole "freeways cutting off streets in poor neighborhoods" thing
Yeah this project is sorely needed but NDOT should be sparing no expense in ensuring this freeway is built as good as possible ensuring adequate capacity and not cutting off neighborhoods. This is right by the downtown area and needs to be below grade and future caps possible.
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Sub-Urbanite

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #40 on: March 15, 2021, 01:23:09 PM »

I'd even go beyond that – the time for caps is now. If you're going to build a billion dollar freeway, you could, y'know, build a $1.2 billion freeway and mitigate the impacts on the neighborhood.

This seems like a really old-school project. I'm fall for replacing the viaduct and even widening the freeway. But I thought we were done with the whole "freeways cutting off streets in poor neighborhoods" thing
Yeah this project is sorely needed but NDOT should be sparing no expense in ensuring this freeway is built as good as possible ensuring adequate capacity and not cutting off neighborhoods. This is right by the downtown area and needs to be below grade and future caps possible.
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #41 on: March 18, 2021, 08:47:14 AM »

The 515 viaduct rehabilitation contract has been awarded.

Also, in case anyone is confused on what a viaduct is

Quote
(A viaduct is a long bridge-like structure carrying an elevated roadway. It’s not to be confused with an aqueduct that conveys water).

https://www.dot.nv.gov/Home/Components/News/News/6832/395
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Alps

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #42 on: March 18, 2021, 05:28:34 PM »

The 515 viaduct rehabilitation contract has been awarded.

Also, in case anyone is confused on what a viaduct is

Quote
(A viaduct is a long bridge-like structure carrying an elevated roadway. It’s not to be confused with an aqueduct that conveys water).

https://www.dot.nv.gov/Home/Components/News/News/6832/395
so a product carries paid athletes?

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #43 on: March 18, 2021, 09:27:35 PM »

If an aqueduct conveys water, does a viaduct convey Viagra? :bigass:
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #44 on: June 23, 2021, 12:56:16 PM »

Looks like the rehabilitation project is starting and will last until late 2022. The elevated freeway will be reduced to two lanes each way. It won’t be fun. I wish they could just start on the full reconstruction project given it will likely occur in the late 2020s this road will only be open for a few years until it shuts down again.
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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #45 on: June 27, 2021, 07:13:42 PM »

If an aqueduct conveys water, does a viaduct convey Viagra? :bigass:
Or, in our neighbor to the north, a railroad (ViaRail)!  :bigass:
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