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Author Topic: More toll lanes from Balto. to Richmond?  (Read 3215 times)

Beltway

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Re: More toll lanes from Balto. to Richmond?
« Reply #25 on: May 19, 2018, 03:47:41 PM »

I can't seem to find it now, but there was a "I-495 Gap Project" study to address the section between the Springfield Interchange and the WWB Project, that currently has 4 lanes each way.  One proposal was to widen that to 5 lanes each way with the inner lane HOV, and thus have HOV/busway lanes extended from Springfield to east of MD-210 Indian Head Highway.
Interesting. I guess the question is when exactly a project like that will actually happen. My guess is that VDOT is probably waiting for Maryland to finalize their own Beltway Express Lanes Plan first, and then will decide what to do from there.

I personally would like to see it get done soon.  The entire WWB Project was complete by 2013, and it is time to make use of those future lanes as soon as possible.  I do not believe there is any current or future ridership warrant for rail transit across the WWB.  The decision should be HOV or HOT.

It is only about 1.7 miles, given that the WWB has one future HOV lane each way, the gap project would not feasibly have more than one HOV lane each way, they could build the gap project and then open HOV/busway lanes between I-395 and east of MD-210 Indian Head Highway which is 10 miles.  These lanes would interface with the current direct connections to the I-95/I-395 HOT and the I-495 HOT.

There are two unbuilt WWB project segments that are not needed until the HOV service starts --
- Northerly ramps between US-1 and Beltway HOV
- Northerly ramps between Beltway HOV and I-295

Enhanced HOV and express bus service on the corridor.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2018, 03:58:06 PM by Beltway »
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Jmiles32

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Re: More toll lanes from Balto. to Richmond?
« Reply #26 on: May 19, 2018, 04:13:36 PM »

I personally would like to see it get done soon.  The entire WWB Project was complete by 2013, and it is time to make use of those future lanes as soon as possible.  I do not believe there is any current or future ridership warrant for rail transit across the WWB.  The decision should be HOV or HOT.
Agreed

There are two unbuilt WWB project segments that are not needed until the HOV service starts --
- Northerly ramps between US-1 and Beltway HOV
- Northerly ramps between Beltway HOV and I-295

Did these unbuilt HOV ramps ever make it to the design phase?
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1995hoo

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Re: More toll lanes from Balto. to Richmond?
« Reply #27 on: May 19, 2018, 04:22:55 PM »

Our district's member of the Board of Supervisors has referred to the Beltway between Springfield and the Wilson Bridge split into local/thru lanes as the "forgotten segment." He rather strongly indicated at our HOA's most recent annual meeting that no work on there is in the cards in the near term. Perhaps Maryland's project, if it actually happens, will be the event that pushes Virginia to do something along there.

It'd be nice if a reconstruction would include a rebuild for the Van Dorn interchange, which is failing due to an inadequate offramp layout that's essentially unchanged since it was built in the 1960s (the one change was an additional onramp from northbound Van Dorn to the Outer Loop).

BTW, regarding rail transit across the bridge, I read somewhere, but I don't remember where, that WMATA was very skeptical of the concept because of the drawbridge. Seems to me that ought to be the least of WMATA's concerns, but setting that aside, I certainly think their priority ought to be getting what they have operating properly before they expand further (aside from the Silver Line extension, of course), so they shouldn't be considering subway service over the bridge. At one point, DC was supposedly exploring the very ambitious concept of a streetcar line from the Anacostia Metro stop to National Harbor. If they could do that (which I doubt!), and if they could get Virginia to cooperate (which I also doubt), it'd be a nice idea to extend the line over the bridge to connect to the Yellow Line at Huntington or Eisenhower Avenue. I highly doubt any of that has any chance of ever happening.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2018, 04:27:06 PM by 1995hoo »
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Beltway

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Re: More toll lanes from Balto. to Richmond?
« Reply #28 on: May 19, 2018, 04:31:35 PM »

There are two unbuilt WWB project segments that are not needed until the HOV service starts --
- Northerly ramps between US-1 and Beltway HOV
- Northerly ramps between Beltway HOV and I-295
Did these unbuilt HOV ramps ever make it to the design phase?

Yes, at least to a 60% design phase.  They were shown on the segment schematic for the whole project.
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Scott M. Savage
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Beltway

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Re: More toll lanes from Balto. to Richmond?
« Reply #29 on: May 19, 2018, 04:36:50 PM »

BTW, regarding rail transit across the bridge, I read somewhere, but I don't remember where, that WMATA was very skeptical of the concept because of the drawbridge. Seems to me that ought to be the least of WMATA's concerns, but setting that aside, I certainly think their priority ought to be getting what they have operating properly before they expand further (aside from the Silver Line extension, of course), so they shouldn't be considering subway service over the bridge. At one point, DC was supposedly exploring the very ambitious concept of a streetcar line from the Anacostia Metro stop to National Harbor. If they could do that (which I doubt!), and if they could get Virginia to cooperate (which I also doubt), it'd be a nice idea to extend the line over the bridge to connect to the Yellow Line at Huntington or Eisenhower Avenue. I highly doubt any of that has any chance of ever happening.

Having a drawbridge on a rail transit line is rare but there are some examples.  The WWB opens on average once a month so that should not be an issue.

I read recently that D.C. is considering canceling their streetcar plans entirely.
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abefroman329

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Re: More toll lanes from Balto. to Richmond?
« Reply #30 on: May 21, 2018, 10:46:22 AM »

BTW, regarding rail transit across the bridge, I read somewhere, but I don't remember where, that WMATA was very skeptical of the concept because of the drawbridge. Seems to me that ought to be the least of WMATA's concerns, but setting that aside, I certainly think their priority ought to be getting what they have operating properly before they expand further (aside from the Silver Line extension, of course), so they shouldn't be considering subway service over the bridge. At one point, DC was supposedly exploring the very ambitious concept of a streetcar line from the Anacostia Metro stop to National Harbor. If they could do that (which I doubt!), and if they could get Virginia to cooperate (which I also doubt), it'd be a nice idea to extend the line over the bridge to connect to the Yellow Line at Huntington or Eisenhower Avenue. I highly doubt any of that has any chance of ever happening.

Having a drawbridge on a rail transit line is rare but there are some examples.  The WWB opens on average once a month so that should not be an issue.

I read recently that D.C. is considering canceling their streetcar plans entirely.

The CTA has at least two drawbridges, one carrying the Brown and Purple Lines across the Chicago River at Wells Street, one carrying the Green and Pink Lines across the river at Lake Street.

If WMATA ever runs heavy rail over the WWB, I'll eat my hat.  If they ever run light rail across the WWB, I'll eat the brim.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: More toll lanes from Balto. to Richmond?
« Reply #31 on: May 21, 2018, 11:16:17 AM »

I feel like I read somewhere VDOT was considering an extension of the HOT lanes from the Springfield interchange to Wilson Bridge. Anyone know if that's true or not? Not really sure how it would work due to the space limitations and current Thru and Local set up. Regardless, there appears to be enough room to add a 3rd thru lane in each direction, something that section of the Beltway could definitely use.

The 7.5 mile WWB Project includes future 3rd lanes on the express roadways.  It looks like a couple short sections were omitted near US-1, probably pending building the future HOV easterly ramps between US-1 and I-495.

I can't seem to find it now, but there was a "I-495 Gap Project" study to address the section between the Springfield Interchange and the WWB Project, that currently has 4 lanes each way.  One proposal was to widen that to 5 lanes each way with the inner lane HOV, and thus have HOV/busway lanes extended from Springfield to east of MD-210 Indian Head Highway.

Interesting. I guess the question is when exactly a project like that will actually happen. My guess is that VDOT is probably waiting for Maryland to finalize their own Beltway Express Lanes Plan first, and then will decide what to do from there.

Hopefully if VA has plans, they're working with Maryland *now* to see how they can meet them, rather than having a potential fatal flaw that'll require additional work to make the project work.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: More toll lanes from Balto. to Richmond?
« Reply #32 on: May 21, 2018, 11:38:24 AM »

If WMATA ever runs heavy rail over the WWB, I'll eat my hat.  If they ever run light rail across the WWB, I'll eat the brim.

I tend to agree. Supposedly the unused lanes on the middle spans can accommodate rail if it were to be desired (WMATA's technical staff was consulted during preliminary and final engineering of the crossing).

Reasons why it will likely not happen:

  • Cost to construct, including long structures to get rail vehicles from what is effectively the median of the Capital Beltway to desired locations.
  • This project would need approval from the two state general assemblies, and I am not at all sure they would be willing to give that approval.  It would probably also need approval from the D.C. Council, since part of the bridge is in D.C. territory.
  • WMATA has its hands full now with getting the existing Metrorail system to a state of good repair, and it is having to spend a lot of money that might otherwise go to a rail line over the Wilson Bridge.
  • Maryland is spending a large sum of money constructing the Purple Line between Prince George's County and Montgomery County.
  • Land use on both sides of the Potomac River is not especially transit-supportive (yes, National Harbor is a large draw for tourist traffic and some of its employees do ride WMATA bus service to get there, but still, it is located in  a very suburban area).
  • Bus service to and from this area satisfies the demand for transit now, and probably will for many years to come.
EDIT: One more item.
  • The grade running east (uphill) on National Avenue from "downtown" National Harbor past the MGM Casino to MD-414 (Oxon Hill Road) at the top is quite steep, and probably too steep for most or all light rail vehicles to ascend, unless the grade were to be lessened with the moving of a lot of dirt. And on the flipside, the grade down the hill might also be too steep.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2018, 04:10:33 PM by cpzilliacus »
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Beltway

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Re: More toll lanes from Balto. to Richmond?
« Reply #33 on: May 21, 2018, 01:24:01 PM »

If WMATA ever runs heavy rail over the WWB, I'll eat my hat.  If they ever run light rail across the WWB, I'll eat the brim.

I will eat both and then blow my groceries.
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Scott M. Savage
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abefroman329

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Re: More toll lanes from Balto. to Richmond?
« Reply #34 on: May 21, 2018, 03:34:06 PM »

If WMATA ever runs heavy rail over the WWB, I'll eat my hat.  If they ever run light rail across the WWB, I'll eat the brim.

I tend to agree. Supposedly the unused lanes on the middle spans can accommodate rail if it were to be desired (WMATA's technical staff was consulted during preliminary and final engineering of the crossing).

Reasons why it will likely not happen:

  • Cost to construct, including long structures to get rail vehicles from what is effectively the median of the Capital Beltway to desired locations.
  • This project would need approval from the two state general assemblies, and I am not at all sure they would be willing to give that approval.  It would probably also need approval from the D.C. Council, since part of the bridge is in D.C. territory.
  • WMATA has its hands full now with getting the existing Metrorail system to a state of good repair, and it is having to spend a lot of money that might otherwise go to a rail line over the Wilson Bridge.
  • Maryland is spending a large sum of money constructing the Purple Line between Prince George's County and Montgomery County.
  • Land use on both sides of the Potomac River is not especially transit-supportive (yes, National Harbor is a large draw for tourist traffic and some of its employees do ride WMATA bus service to get there, but still, it is located in  a very suburban area).
  • Bus service to and from this area satisfies the demand for transit now, and probably will for many years to come.

I don't really know why they left that as an option at all.  As you said, the lack of a logical connection from any existing line is glaring.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: More toll lanes from Balto. to Richmond?
« Reply #35 on: May 21, 2018, 03:42:47 PM »

If WMATA ever runs heavy rail over the WWB, I'll eat my hat.  If they ever run light rail across the WWB, I'll eat the brim.

I tend to agree. Supposedly the unused lanes on the middle spans can accommodate rail if it were to be desired (WMATA's technical staff was consulted during preliminary and final engineering of the crossing).

Reasons why it will likely not happen:

  • Cost to construct, including long structures to get rail vehicles from what is effectively the median of the Capital Beltway to desired locations.
  • This project would need approval from the two state general assemblies, and I am not at all sure they would be willing to give that approval.  It would probably also need approval from the D.C. Council, since part of the bridge is in D.C. territory.
  • WMATA has its hands full now with getting the existing Metrorail system to a state of good repair, and it is having to spend a lot of money that might otherwise go to a rail line over the Wilson Bridge.
  • Maryland is spending a large sum of money constructing the Purple Line between Prince George's County and Montgomery County.
  • Land use on both sides of the Potomac River is not especially transit-supportive (yes, National Harbor is a large draw for tourist traffic and some of its employees do ride WMATA bus service to get there, but still, it is located in  a very suburban area).
  • Bus service to and from this area satisfies the demand for transit now, and probably will for many years to come.

I don't really know why they left that as an option at all.  As you said, the lack of a logical connection from any existing line is glaring.

All you need is a mouth loud enough that claims the ROW will be needed someday, even though logic will never allow it to happen.
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Beltway

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Re: More toll lanes from Balto. to Richmond?
« Reply #36 on: May 21, 2018, 06:43:16 PM »

  • Land use on both sides of the Potomac River is not especially transit-supportive (yes, National Harbor is a large draw for tourist traffic and some of its employees do ride WMATA bus service to get there, but still, it is located in  a very suburban area).
  • Bus service to and from this area satisfies the demand for transit now, and probably will for many years to come.
I don't really know why they left that as an option at all.  As you said, the lack of a logical connection from any existing line is glaring.

There are bus bays at the Huntington and Eisenhower Avenue and Branch Avenue Metro stations.  High capacity express bus service is possible between those stations and National Harbor using I-495.
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Scott M. Savage
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cpzilliacus

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Re: More toll lanes from Balto. to Richmond?
« Reply #37 on: May 22, 2018, 04:14:54 PM »

  • Land use on both sides of the Potomac River is not especially transit-supportive (yes, National Harbor is a large draw for tourist traffic and some of its employees do ride WMATA bus service to get there, but still, it is located in  a very suburban area).
  • Bus service to and from this area satisfies the demand for transit now, and probably will for many years to come.
I don't really know why they left that as an option at all.  As you said, the lack of a logical connection from any existing line is glaring.

There are bus bays at the Huntington and Eisenhower Avenue and Branch Avenue Metro stations.  High capacity express bus service is possible between those stations and National Harbor using I-495.

Already running, though the NH1 bus route from National Harbor to the Green Line runs to the Southern Avenue rail station.  The NH2 serves two rail stations on the Virginia side of the Potomac River (one in Fairfax County and one in the City of Alexandria) for reasons not clear to me.

The NH2 is the only transit service run by WMATA that takes patrons directly from Virginia to Maryland and vice-versa, with no stop in D.C. (though it does enter D.C. briefly on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge).

« Last Edit: May 22, 2018, 04:24:43 PM by cpzilliacus »
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abefroman329

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Re: More toll lanes from Balto. to Richmond?
« Reply #38 on: May 22, 2018, 04:27:07 PM »

  • Land use on both sides of the Potomac River is not especially transit-supportive (yes, National Harbor is a large draw for tourist traffic and some of its employees do ride WMATA bus service to get there, but still, it is located in  a very suburban area).
  • Bus service to and from this area satisfies the demand for transit now, and probably will for many years to come.
I don't really know why they left that as an option at all.  As you said, the lack of a logical connection from any existing line is glaring.

There are bus bays at the Huntington and Eisenhower Avenue and Branch Avenue Metro stations.  High capacity express bus service is possible between those stations and National Harbor using I-495.

Already running, though the NH1 bus route from National Harbor to the Green Line runs to the Southern Avenue rail station.  The NH2 serves two rail stations on the Virginia side of the Potomac River (one in Fairfax County and one in the City of Alexadria for reasons not clear to me.

NH2 serves a total of three rail stations - King Street, Eisenhower Ave, and Huntington.

I'm not sure why it takes the route it takes either, possibly to maximize connections with other bus lines.  Like the 5A route from L'Enfant Plaza to Dulles Airport, these routes are probably intended for people who work at National Harbor, not patrons of NH.
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Re: More toll lanes from Balto. to Richmond?
« Reply #39 on: May 22, 2018, 06:44:57 PM »

The NH2 is the only transit service run by WMATA that takes patrons directly from Virginia to Maryland and vice-versa, with no stop in D.C. (though it does enter D.C. briefly on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge).

IIRC the draw is the portion of the Wilson that is over D.C. waters.

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1995hoo

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Re: More toll lanes from Balto. to Richmond?
« Reply #40 on: May 23, 2018, 10:55:59 AM »

Depending on the exact route the NH2 uses, serving the Eisenhower Metro may be a no-brainer because of the Beltway express lane entry/exit just east of that stop via Mill Road. Wouldn’t surprise me if the bus serves Tanger Outlets on the Maryland side, which are closer to the route served by the express lane ramps to/from MD-210.
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abefroman329

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Re: More toll lanes from Balto. to Richmond?
« Reply #41 on: May 23, 2018, 11:40:39 AM »

Depending on the exact route the NH2 uses, serving the Eisenhower Metro may be a no-brainer because of the Beltway express lane entry/exit just east of that stop via Mill Road. Wouldn’t surprise me if the bus serves Tanger Outlets on the Maryland side, which are closer to the route served by the express lane ramps to/from MD-210.

Oh, that could be.  It looks like a convoluted route on the map, anyway.
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1995hoo

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Re: More toll lanes from Balto. to Richmond?
« Reply #42 on: May 23, 2018, 11:54:41 AM »

Depending on the exact route the NH2 uses, serving the Eisenhower Metro may be a no-brainer because of the Beltway express lane entry/exit just east of that stop via Mill Road. Wouldn’t surprise me if the bus serves Tanger Outlets on the Maryland side, which are closer to the route served by the express lane ramps to/from MD-210.

Oh, that could be.  It looks like a convoluted route on the map, anyway.

I have not looked at the map and that’s why I phrased it the way I did as to “depending on the route.”

Edited to add: I just looked at it. The route TO Maryland uses the express lanes via Mill Road. It then serves the MGM before going down to National Harbor and using the local lanes going back to Virginia.
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Re: More toll lanes from Balto. to Richmond?
« Reply #43 on: May 23, 2018, 01:55:08 PM »

NH2 serves a total of three rail stations - King Street, Eisenhower Ave, and Huntington.

The map on the timetable implies a stop there, but the timetable does not show a stop there.  That's why I did not mention it.

The routing of NH2 is contrary to the way that WMATA normally routes buses, which is to route them to one rail station and only one, absent other factors (in this case, the other factor might be that the City of Alexandria wanted the NH2 to follow this route).

I'm not sure why it takes the route it takes either, possibly to maximize connections with other bus lines.  Like the 5A route from L'Enfant Plaza to Dulles Airport, these routes are probably intended for people who work at National Harbor, not patrons of NH.

National Harbor may be the only employment center in Maryland where a majority of the workforce comes from Virginia.  Which I find interesting, since normally Prince George's County, Maryland (where National Harbor is located) is regarded as a bedroom suburb for both Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia.
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Re: More toll lanes from Balto. to Richmond?
« Reply #44 on: May 23, 2018, 02:55:54 PM »

It's also an odd route because it starts at Huntington, goes north to Eisenhower Ave, north to King Street, and then back south to the Beltway.  I guess that's to prevent people coming from Van Dorn or Franconia-Springfield from having to switch to the Yellow Line at King Street and travel one or two stops south to catch the bus, but how many passengers could there be who travel from Van Dorn or Franconia-Springfield to National Harbor?
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Re: More toll lanes from Balto. to Richmond?
« Reply #45 on: November 26, 2018, 01:21:36 PM »

WTOP Radio: More toll lanes from Balto. to Richmond? Business leaders push them to ease traffic jams

[Same group has just issued this]

Washington Post: Region’s CEOs propose ambitious, costly plan to reduce traffic from Baltimore to Richmond

Quote
An alliance of the region’s top chief executives is urging ambitious, costly steps to improve commuter rail, bus networks and other transportation systems to reduce chronic traffic congestion and bind together the “super region” stretching from Baltimore to Richmond.

Quote
In a report released Monday after 16 months of study, the Greater Washington Partnership says that residents should be able to hop on a train in the morning in the District, Baltimore or Richmond, attend a meeting in one of the other cities and be back in time for lunch.

Quote
Among the recommendations to help achieve that goal, it wants more dedicated bus lanes, coordinated traffic signals, bike trails, variable tolling on highways and possibly requiring drivers to pay a fee to enter downtown Washington.
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Re: More toll lanes from Balto. to Richmond?
« Reply #46 on: February 13, 2019, 08:33:52 PM »

Please no.
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Re: More toll lanes from Balto. to Richmond?
« Reply #47 on: February 13, 2019, 08:52:28 PM »

Please no.
Sounds like a recipe for disaster. More attempts to avoid the reality I-95 needs four -free, general purpose- lanes in each direction.
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