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Author Topic: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down  (Read 3886 times)

kernals12

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The Virginia DOT is considering replacing 3 grade-separated interchanges on Richmond Highway in Arlington near Crystal City with an at-grade boulevard. But the locals are pretty clear that they want them to stay.

In a survey taken during a September 30 community meeting held by the group Livability 22202, participants overwhelmingly said they preferred crossing at the overpasses whereas they considered the existing at-grade intersections dangerous and inconvenient, as it requires crossing 6 lanes of traffic. We've had freeway revolts before, but this may be the first boulevard revolt.

In fact, maybe they can talk VDOT into doing the opposite and adding interchanges at 23rd and 20th streets, creating a freeway all the way to the Reagan Airport Connector, as was planned in the 70s.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2020, 10:43:08 PM by kernals12 »
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1995hoo

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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2020, 10:40:00 PM »

You mean Reagan Airport. Dulles Airport is about 20 to 25 miles to the west. Route 233 is a short stub route connecting Route 1 to Reagan Airport.

There is about zero chance of more interchanges being added through there. There was a survey last month or the month before about multi-modal improvements in that area. Arlington authorities view Route 1—with some justification, I have to say—as a sort of like a wall splitting Crystal City in two.

Bear in mind that Amazon is to become a major tenant in that area, plus Arlington County is not particularly interested in highway-style construction anyway because they’re more into the so-called "smart growth" concept than they are in making it easier for people to pass through. They would love it if they could find a way to create housing for Amazon workers who would then walk or bike to work.

This is similar to your other recent thread in which you didn’t believe those of us who live around here when we said Arlington County would have zero political interest in turning US-50 through the county into a full controlled-access freeway. Arlington is more interested in (a) the new Metrorail stop under construction at Potomac Yard, (b) the plan to twin the Long Bridge, and (c) the proposal to build a new dedicated bike and pedestrian bridge between the Long Bridge and the Fenwick Bridge.

I think right now the two most notable road projects on the horizon in Arlington County are the realignment of Columbia Pike near the Air Force Memorial to allow for the expansion of Arlington Cemetery and the reconstruction of the I-395/Boundary Channel Drive interchange.
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kernals12

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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2020, 10:45:16 PM »

You mean Reagan Airport. Dulles Airport is about 20 to 25 miles to the west. Route 233 is a short stub route connecting Route 1 to Reagan Airport.

There is about zero chance of more interchanges being added through there. There was a survey last month or the month before about multi-modal improvements in that area. Arlington authorities view Route 1—with some justification, I have to say—as a sort of like a wall splitting Crystal City in two.


Bear in mind that Amazon is to become a major tenant in that area, plus Arlington County is not particularly interested in highway-style construction anyway because they’re more into the so-called "smart growth" concept than they are in making it easier for people to pass through. They would love it if they could find a way to create housing for Amazon workers who would then walk or bike to work.

This is similar to your other recent thread in which you didn’t believe those of us who live around here when we said Arlington County would have zero political interest in turning US-50 through the county into a full controlled-access freeway. Arlington is more interested in (a) the new Metrorail stop under construction at Potomac Yard, (b) the plan to twin the Long Bridge, and (c) the proposal to build a new dedicated bike and pedestrian bridge between the Long Bridge and the Fenwick Bridge.

I think right now the two most notable road projects on the horizon in Arlington County are the realignment of Columbia Pike near the Air Force Memorial to allow for the expansion of Arlington Cemetery and the reconstruction of the I-395/Boundary Channel Drive interchange.

And having it at-grade would make it worse.
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1995hoo

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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2020, 07:33:47 AM »

I didn’t say anything about removing interchanges to make it fully at-grade. I was only responding to your reference to adding interchanges, as set forth in your final paragraph.
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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2020, 10:59:10 AM »

I know the area very well, and I'll offer that the survey population needs scrutiny.

Those living in the single-family homes in the western part of the survey area are much more likely to drive than to walk along the Route 1 corridor. Those living along Route 1 are more likely to walk (although a significant portion of them still own cars), particularly those east of Route 1. That will certainly impact the experiences for each of the parties involved.

There's zero chance Arlington will build new interchanges, and they're still looking to tear down the existing ones. One of the remedies to the amount of lanes needing to cross is to simply reduce the amount of lanes.

After all, it's not like US-1 is a continuous 6-lane highway all the way down through Alexandria. South of Reed Avenue, at Potomac Yard, US-1 is down to 2 lanes in each direction (https://www.google.com/maps/@38.8312462,-77.0512819,156m/data=!3m1!1e3), in a very developed area.
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kernals12

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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2020, 11:31:31 AM »

I know the area very well, and I'll offer that the survey population needs scrutiny.

Those living in the single-family homes in the western part of the survey area are much more likely to drive than to walk along the Route 1 corridor. Those living along Route 1 are more likely to walk (although a significant portion of them still own cars), particularly those east of Route 1. That will certainly impact the experiences for each of the parties involved.

There's zero chance Arlington will build new interchanges, and they're still looking to tear down the existing ones. One of the remedies to the amount of lanes needing to cross is to simply reduce the amount of lanes.

After all, it's not like US-1 is a continuous 6-lane highway all the way down through Alexandria. South of Reed Avenue, at Potomac Yard, US-1 is down to 2 lanes in each direction (https://www.google.com/maps/@38.8312462,-77.0512819,156m/data=!3m1!1e3), in a very developed area.
Ignoring the impact on congestion, it's still easier to walk under a 6 lane underpass than cross a 4 lane boulevard.
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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2020, 01:07:59 PM »

A few thoughts here:

1. While those survey results are very interesting and likely not what VDOT or Arlington expected, I think that a dirty little secret in planning is that surveys really don't mean much. Instead, it would probably have to take a bunch of intense opposition at a public meeting or two for VDOT and Arlington to really change their minds.

2. I'm not sure how from a safety perspective it can be justified that crossing six-ish lanes of traffic is safer for pedestrians than crossing via an underpass or overpass.

3. Finally and most importantly I think that is imperative that the $270ish million cost to do this according to the Reimagine Route 1 Executive Summary be funded by means other than smart scale and the already extremely limited state transportation fund. From a traffic standpoint, I think that there are a ton of more worthy projects across NOVA and the rest of the state that I would rather see funded than this. Now of course if Arlington and Amazon want to fund these improvements themselves then I'm all for it.
https://ctycms.com/va-national-landing/docs/reimagine-route-1-executive-summary---20201002.pdf
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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2020, 01:14:44 PM »

A few thoughts here:

1. While those survey results are very interesting and likely not what VDOT or Arlington expected, I think that a dirty little secret in planning is that surveys really don't mean much. Instead, it would probably have to take a bunch of intense opposition at a public meeting or two for VDOT and Arlington to really change their minds.

2. I'm not sure how from a safety perspective it can be justified that crossing six-ish lanes of traffic is safer for pedestrians than crossing via an underpass or overpass.

3. Finally and most importantly I think that is imperative that the $270ish million cost to do this according to the Reimagine Route 1 Executive Summary be funded by means other than smart scale and the already extremely limited state transportation fund. From a traffic standpoint, I think that there are a ton of more worthy projects across NOVA and the rest of the state that I would rather see funded than this. Now of course if Arlington and Amazon want to fund these improvements themselves then I'm all for it.
https://ctycms.com/va-national-landing/docs/reimagine-route-1-executive-summary---20201002.pdf

There are often slip lanes or dangerous right-on-red situations where people are going onto, or coming off of, the ramps. Plus the underpasses can be a bit sketchy with homeless people.

I remember there was an underpass/tunnel below route 1 near 23rd Street which is now shut down. I once was going to use it, but a homeless woman was sitting on the staircase down to the tunnel, and I opted to cross Rte 1 at street level instead.
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kernals12

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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2020, 01:24:18 PM »

A few thoughts here:

1. While those survey results are very interesting and likely not what VDOT or Arlington expected, I think that a dirty little secret in planning is that surveys really don't mean much. Instead, it would probably have to take a bunch of intense opposition at a public meeting or two for VDOT and Arlington to really change their minds.

2. I'm not sure how from a safety perspective it can be justified that crossing six-ish lanes of traffic is safer for pedestrians than crossing via an underpass or overpass.

3. Finally and most importantly I think that is imperative that the $270ish million cost to do this according to the Reimagine Route 1 Executive Summary be funded by means other than smart scale and the already extremely limited state transportation fund. From a traffic standpoint, I think that there are a ton of more worthy projects across NOVA and the rest of the state that I would rather see funded than this. Now of course if Arlington and Amazon want to fund these improvements themselves then I'm all for it.
https://ctycms.com/va-national-landing/docs/reimagine-route-1-executive-summary---20201002.pdf

There are often slip lanes or dangerous right-on-red situations where people are going onto, or coming off of, the ramps. Plus the underpasses can be a bit sketchy with homeless people.

I remember there was an underpass/tunnel below route 1 near 23rd Street which is now shut down. I once was going to use it, but a homeless woman was sitting on the staircase down to the tunnel, and I opted to cross Rte 1 at street level instead.

They offered suggestions for fixing those problems like using the space under the highway for commercial development
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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2020, 01:25:34 PM »

There are often slip lanes or dangerous right-on-red situations where people are going onto, or coming off of, the ramps. Plus the underpasses can be a bit sketchy with homeless people.

I remember there was an underpass/tunnel below route 1 near 23rd Street which is now shut down. I once was going to use it, but a homeless woman was sitting on the staircase down to the tunnel, and I opted to cross Rte 1 at street level instead.

1. Single slip lanes shouldn't be an issue. You're crossing a single lane of traffic, and you only have to look from one direction. Sometimes you'll need to wait for a car to pass first, but it's easier than crossing both directions of traffic at the same time.

2. Homeless people don't go away when you remove locations where they can stay. They have to be accommodated somehow.
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kernals12

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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2020, 01:27:54 PM »

A few thoughts here:

1. While those survey results are very interesting and likely not what VDOT or Arlington expected, I think that a dirty little secret in planning is that surveys really don't mean much. Instead, it would probably have to take a bunch of intense opposition at a public meeting or two for VDOT and Arlington to really change their minds.

2. I'm not sure how from a safety perspective it can be justified that crossing six-ish lanes of traffic is safer for pedestrians than crossing via an underpass or overpass.

3. Finally and most importantly I think that is imperative that the $270ish million cost to do this according to the Reimagine Route 1 Executive Summary be funded by means other than smart scale and the already extremely limited state transportation fund. From a traffic standpoint, I think that there are a ton of more worthy projects across NOVA and the rest of the state that I would rather see funded than this. Now of course if Arlington and Amazon want to fund these improvements themselves then I'm all for it.
https://ctycms.com/va-national-landing/docs/reimagine-route-1-executive-summary---20201002.pdf

$270 million to make traffic worse? What are they thinking?
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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2020, 01:55:43 PM »

I don't think some of you guys appreciate how this is pretty much in the heart of Amazon City (i.e. HQ-2). This is pretty much going to be a third commercial power center in Northern VA (after Tysons Corner and Rosslyn).

The projects will pay for themselves in the long run. Tysons Corner is a permanent mess because of its expansive highway-like road grid. Rosslyn is continuing to break up its mega-blocks; Crystal City is doing the same.
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kernals12

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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2020, 02:02:23 PM »

I don't think some of you guys appreciate how this is pretty much in the heart of Amazon City (i.e. HQ-2). This is pretty much going to be a third commercial power center in Northern VA (after Tysons Corner and Rosslyn).

The projects will pay for themselves in the long run. Tysons Corner is a permanent mess because of its expansive highway-like road grid. Rosslyn is continuing to break up its mega-blocks; Crystal City is doing the same.
They're spending hundreds of millions of dollars to build new streets that will make traffic worse due to the increased number of intersections. Maybe they should try turning 7, 123, and international drive into Superstreets.
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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2020, 03:56:25 PM »

With the increased density, the focus on walkable environments, and the proximity of transit stations, 45 MPH highways ("superstreets") would not be feasible. Tysons Corner and Rosslyn are rapidly redeveloping from automobile-centered suburbs into true mixed-use transit-oriented centers. Still accessible by car with plenty of parking garages but also walkable and accessible from Metro and bus routes.

Amazon isn't choosing to locate its newest developments in suburbs. It's Seattle and Northern VA developments are deliberately near transit-oriented developments. The same could have been said for Amazon in New York City had that been built.

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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2020, 04:04:43 PM »

Thank you. You get the big picture. The 1960s model of close-in suburban development is dead - I'm not even passing judgement on its merits. But the fact is that institutional landlords around here have to stay ahead of demand, and work with the local government to help deliver.

The fact is none of the major commercial tenants seem to want to immediate freeway access and huge surface parking infrastructure. You can debate it all you want, but there's a reason that the low-rise office parks off the Dulles Toll Road have been floundering, while hubs such as Rosslyn and Crystal City are booming.

Finally, I find it silly to mope about "traffic" on Rte 1. There's stoplights all the way down to Groveton (and beyond). If you want to move quickly north-south in those parts, take I-395 or the GW Parkway. Rte 1 is in effect a local road.

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1995hoo

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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2020, 04:09:56 PM »

Bear in mind what the tagline below kernals12's avatar says. This is not someone who is necessarily attempting to consider reality.
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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2020, 04:12:13 PM »

With the increased density, the focus on walkable environments, and the proximity of transit stations, 45 MPH highways ("superstreets") would not be feasible. Tysons Corner and Rosslyn are rapidly redeveloping from automobile-centered suburbs into true mixed-use transit-oriented centers. Still accessible by car with plenty of parking garages but also walkable and accessible from Metro and bus routes.

Amazon isn't choosing to locate its newest developments in suburbs. It's Seattle and Northern VA developments are deliberately near transit-oriented developments. The same could have been said for Amazon in New York City had that been built.
It's weird that developing a city that's not car-centric means making more space for moving cars.

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kernals12

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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2020, 04:13:19 PM »

Thank you. You get the big picture. The 1960s model of close-in suburban development is dead - I'm not even passing judgement on its merits. But the fact is that institutional landlords around here have to stay ahead of demand, and work with the local government to help deliver.

The fact is none of the major commercial tenants seem to want to immediate freeway access and huge surface parking infrastructure. You can debate it all you want, but there's a reason that the low-rise office parks off the Dulles Toll Road have been floundering, while hubs such as Rosslyn and Crystal City are booming.

Finally, I find it silly to mope about "traffic" on Rte 1. There's stoplights all the way down to Groveton (and beyond). If you want to move quickly north-south in those parts, take I-395 or the GW Parkway. Rte 1 is in effect a local road.
Tax increment financing.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2020, 04:23:31 PM by kernals12 »
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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2020, 04:27:04 PM »

You don't think developers and corporations in Manassas, Woodbridge, and Laurel request tax breaks too? It's a no-win situation.

Going back to the original purpose of this thread, renderings, and comparisons of the project can be found at https://www.arlnow.com/2020/10/06/new-report-shows-route-1-in-crystal-city-as-a-tree-lined-urban-boulevard/. It's not unreasonable to consider this proposal. It will be no wider than any other six-lane road in say... Chicago or New York City where pedestrians safely cross traffic without issue.

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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2020, 04:33:19 PM »

Exactly. A few well-designed pedestrian islands, with ample crossing time, and what's the problem? If you need to get from southern Alexandria to northern Arlington in a hurry, take 395 or the GW Parkway. Not every road needs to be a freeway.
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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2020, 04:47:44 PM »

Exactly. A few well-designed pedestrian islands, with ample crossing time, and what's the problem? If you need to get from southern Alexandria to northern Arlington in a hurry, take 395 or the GW Parkway. Not every road needs to be a freeway.
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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2020, 04:49:46 PM »

I'm fine with how it is... it helps for a quick connection to the airport and Alexandria, and it segues nicely coming in from the Mixing Bowl. The pedestrian situation is better under an elevated highway as well.
I will admit though, the Clark Street ramp was a bit useless, I didn't mind that getting torn down particularly.
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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #22 on: December 15, 2020, 04:55:17 PM »

I'm fine with how it is... it helps for a quick connection to the airport and Alexandria, and it segues nicely coming in from the Mixing Bowl. The pedestrian situation is better under an elevated highway as well.
I will admit though, the Clark Street ramp was a bit useless, I didn't mind that getting torn down particularly.

It seems like they could've turned the ramp into a pedestrian overpass.
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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #23 on: December 15, 2020, 05:03:53 PM »


There are often slip lanes or dangerous right-on-red situations where people are going onto, or coming off of, the ramps. Plus the underpasses can be a bit sketchy with homeless people.

I remember there was an underpass/tunnel below route 1 near 23rd Street which is now shut down. I once was going to use it, but a homeless woman was sitting on the staircase down to the tunnel, and I opted to cross Rte 1 at street level instead.

2. Homeless people don't go away when you remove locations where they can stay. They have to be accommodated somehow.

It isn't homeless people who worry me in pedestrian underpasses, it's "hoodlums" with nothing better to do than hang around in the shadows and mess with people.  (I speak as someone who has—in the past—invited a homeless person to sleep the night in my rented room, shared many a secluded or otherwise vacant train platform with homeless people, been protected in a rough neighborhood by a man from his own nearby non-homeless nephew "hoodlums" in exchange for breakfast, and once came within an inch of being mugged in broad daylight by a non-homeless "hoodlum".)  I'll take homeless people over shadow-lurkers any day.

I'm more interested in the fact that underpasses and overpasses generally either have staircases or fairly steep ramps.  This is obviously not ideal for people in wheelchairs.
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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #24 on: December 15, 2020, 05:06:37 PM »

Exactly. A few well-designed pedestrian islands, with ample crossing time, and what's the problem? If you need to get from southern Alexandria to northern Arlington in a hurry, take 395 or the GW Parkway. Not every road needs to be a freeway.

One thing I wish they'd consider is on roads like that is the sort of pedestrian island the Brits sometimes use when it's difficult or impossible to get all the way across the street on one light cycle. The one that comes to mind for me is on Parliament Street outside the Tube stop. Notice in that Street View how you cross to the central island, then fences prevent you from jaywalking the rest of the way or trying to sprint across if you see a gap in traffic—instead, you walk down to the other offset crossing down at the corner where the walkway to Westminster Bridge is.

I don't see as many pedestrians doing dumb things on Route 1 in Crystal City as I do elsewhere, probably due to how wide the road is, but better-designed pedestrian islands are a good idea.

The worst intersection along there, IMO, as either a driver or a pedestrian, is the one at 23d Street. (Viewing that on Street View also helps give an idea of how exposed to traffic a pedestrian feels on the median islands.)
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