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Author Topic: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down  (Read 3887 times)

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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #50 on: December 16, 2020, 02:44:10 PM »

In the discussion about pedestrian overpasses and tunnels, they are never all that popular and seemingly reinforce an idea that the roadway below needs to be divorced of any non-car interaction. If the goal is to reinforce the idea that US 1 does not need to be a freeway through Crystal City, a pedestrian overpass/underpass is not needed. As it is, the freeway is short, has a 35 MPH speed limit, and doesn't serve much of a larger purpose if it isn't extended to the south - which is highly unlikely considering the dense transit-oriented development being built.
 
https://www.itdp.org/2019/10/01/pedestrian-bridges-make-cities-less-walkable-why-do-cities-keep-building-them/
https://usa.streetsblog.org/2018/03/30/instead-of-a-pedestrian-bridge-how-about-a-street-that-works-for-walking-biking-and-transit/

This is a zero sum mentality. It's possible to make roads better for all users, motorized or not, simultaneously. As it happens, the current overpasses do that.

I still don't understand why you automatically assume that municipalities want to make roads better for "all users."

That's the whole idea behind "complete streets"

Complete streets make roads worse for cars and intended to be better for pedestrians and bicycles. However, crossing more lanes, especially if it's two-way traffic, is often worse as a pedestrian.

My left turn ban proposal would help vehicle traffic (it doesn't everywhere, but oscar said it at least theoretically works here), and doesn't affect pedestrians much but is a slight help. The most important thing to keep in mind for pedestrian crossings is that they should only have to cross one direction at a time; this does seem to be the case for Route 1, as there's a wide median, but compare 15th St. to 20th St. Route 1 is easier to cross at 15th because it's an interchange, and even easier at 12th and 18th because there are no conflict points at all.

If the part east of Route 1 is "dead", my proposed left turn ban will help with that, too.

Finally, this area is not located within a municipality. The only municipalities in Virginia are independent cities; contrary to popular belief, Arlington is not one of them.
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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #51 on: December 16, 2020, 02:56:47 PM »

Another resident here. I live in Crystal City part-time and my main metro station is the Crystal City station at 18th & Bell (which I access using the BRT from the southern end of Crystal City).

My thoughts:

* the freeway will never get extended south, so it serves no real purpose for traffic flow other than adding more room between the 395 and the first traffic light;
* the underpasses are dark and not enjoyable to use. I still have to cross four lanes of ramp traffic to access the underpass at 23rd anyways;
* the underpass at 18th is decent but still dark; both underpasses would be better if there was a cut-out in the middle of the overpass to allow natural light in (though I'd rather both were removed anyways);
* the overpass at 12th St likely needs to remain, but it's actually pretty decent and could be made quite good with road modifications and lighting improvements.
* exiting the BRT at Bell to get on the metro, it feels very uninviting since Route 1 creates a wall just west of the bus station. Not inviting at all, especially already being underneath the large building;
* bringing down Route 1 to grade level would require some tricky signalization, but I would invite anything that adds some noise and activity to Crystal City since the east side of Route 1 is...well it's pretty dead, honestly;
* DCA traffic seems to largely originate from the Parkway...I think we could safely eliminate the trumpet interchange at Route 1 and create a regular signal there (also eliminate the slip ramp to Crystal Dr).

The group Livability 22202 suggested livening things up by building commercial space into the overpass

The amount of structural work required to make that work would likely only be undertaken if the overpasses were deemed necessary for various other reasons. Given that traffic flow is not an important factor, and all else being equal, dark underpasses are generally frowned upon from an urban design perspective, it's far more likely that the overpasses would be removed rather than improved.

Their inspiration from the Netherlands is sketchy. The overpass in Koog aan de Zaan, NL is narrower, and only exists because of the River Zaan to the east. Plus, that road is part of the larger A8 Motorway, and could not have been removed. It was either liven up the area beneath, or not. Arlington can remove the overpasses, harming traffic flow a bit, but improving many other things in the process. There's a net gain.
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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #52 on: December 16, 2020, 03:03:02 PM »

....

Finally, this area is not located within a municipality. The only municipalities in Virginia are independent cities; contrary to popular belief, Arlington is not one of them.

I'm well-aware of that—probably considerably more so than you are (have you passed the Virginia bar exam that includes a section on local government law?)—but it was the convenient term to use in the context of this thread.





I still don't understand why you automatically assume that municipalities want to make roads better for "all users."

That's the whole idea behind "complete streets"

I'm pretty sure he knows that.  What he's questioning is your assumption that municipalities actually want that.

Thank you. That's exactly the point. Of course, I think kernals12 knows that and is just deliberately being obtuse.




....

* DCA traffic seems to largely originate from the Parkway...I think we could safely eliminate the trumpet interchange at Route 1 and create a regular signal there (also eliminate the slip ramp to Crystal Dr).

I'm not sure that would be a great option. That light would be pretty close to the two existing lights at 23d and 27th Streets, and under normal (i.e., non-pandemic) circumstances the northbound traffic is very heavy through there in the mornings, such that another light might really gum up the works. (I haven't been that way as often during the afternoons because when I worked downtown, I seldom left work early enough to be in the peak part of rush hour, and so I can't comment as readily about that time of day.) The elevated road has to be there due to the railroad tracks to the east (unless you eliminate that road altogether), so I wonder whether lowering it to create a traffic light would be more trouble and expense than it's worth.

I haven't heard anything more about the new pedestrian/bike bridge they were to build between the area near the VRE stop and the airport as part of the Amazon package.
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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #53 on: December 16, 2020, 03:13:13 PM »

I split the posts about Roosevelt Blvd out intending those to be moved to that thread. It is locked so that no one posts in it. -Mark
I moved a few of those to the roosevelt thread in Northeast: https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=28141.0

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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #54 on: December 16, 2020, 03:28:05 PM »

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.

Not everyone can walk up stairs easily, making it a shallow ramp adds a lot of distance, and if it's an elevator (I know of no examples), you're going to have to wait until the previous person is done before you can go.

I've used spiral ramps like this or this a few times by bicycle, and it's challenging enough.  I certainly wouldn't want to have to do that as a pedestrian with mobility problems.  And underpasses like this or overpasses like this are worthless to anybody in a wheelchair.

(In the case of that last one, I've seen plenty of able-bodied students jaywalk across Broadway, rather than take the extra time and energy to use the overpass.)

One was built in Morehead, Kentucky to link an elementary school and a parking lot across the street which features stairs and elevators, but it was rarely used because it didn't work off of the natural flow of pedestrians from the school nor did it eliminate pedestrians from simply using the crosswalks that existed. Additionally, the side road and intersection no longer exist, and the parking lot for the school is now owned by a hospital, so the overpass is even more useless: https://goo.gl/maps/hZndGvqNxfSHkAZMA

At the cost of building the bridge, adding two staircases, and two elevators - and having to maintain it with inspections and repairs over the years, traffic calming could have been implemented in the vicinity of the school and hospital at a far cheaper cost if the goal was to reduce pedestrian/vehicle incidents.

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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #55 on: December 16, 2020, 03:54:04 PM »

....

* DCA traffic seems to largely originate from the Parkway...I think we could safely eliminate the trumpet interchange at Route 1 and create a regular signal there (also eliminate the slip ramp to Crystal Dr).

I'm not sure that would be a great option. That light would be pretty close to the two existing lights at 23d and 27th Streets, and under normal (i.e., non-pandemic) circumstances the northbound traffic is very heavy through there in the mornings, such that another light might really gum up the works. (I haven't been that way as often during the afternoons because when I worked downtown, I seldom left work early enough to be in the peak part of rush hour, and so I can't comment as readily about that time of day.) The elevated road has to be there due to the railroad tracks to the east (unless you eliminate that road altogether), so I wonder whether lowering it to create a traffic light would be more trouble and expense than it's worth.

I haven't heard anything more about the new pedestrian/bike bridge they were to build between the area near the VRE stop and the airport as part of the Amazon package.

As long as those rail lines to the east are there, the overpasses over Clark St and Crystal Drive definitely must remain. I do recognize that. Much as I hate the viaduct feel in that part of Crystal City, I recognize that it's necessary.

You could definitely keep the overpasses but then modify the interchange with Route 1. My main issue is the sidewalk along the east side of Route 1 kind of falls apart in that area. I could see removing the two ramps on the east side of Route 1, and then putting in a left turn from northbound Route 1 to the access road to the north. Traffic that needs to go north (which would need to have used the northern removed ramp) could use the Crystal Drive ramp to 23rd. This would add no traffic signals (the left turn could be a yield), and would allow for a continuous sidewalk along Route 1.
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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #56 on: December 16, 2020, 06:04:29 PM »

Some, although by no means all, of the parcels east of Rte. 1 will be improved as Amazon City-related renovations by the property owner get underway.

It's sort of sad about how all of the potential street life is pretty much bottled-up on one little stretch of Crystal Drive near the Chik-Fil-A. But that mostly deals with building form: inward-looking concrete bunkers, based on their own parking garages.

I often mused to myself about how the builder of Crystal City took all of the nice shops that would pull people in, and bury them underground in that weird-ass "mall". The 60s were a strange time indeed...
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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #57 on: December 16, 2020, 06:29:50 PM »

Not everyone can walk up stairs easily, making it a shallow ramp adds a lot of distance, and if it's an elevator (I know of no examples), you're going to have to wait until the previous person is done before you can go.

Here's one with an elevator, over NJ 38 at the Cherry Hill Mall.
https://maps.app.goo.gl/2AMaNznNnqBeHpEo6

The opposite side has a ramp.
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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #58 on: January 25, 2021, 11:34:50 PM »

Ignoring the impact on congestion, it's still easier to walk under a 6 lane underpass than cross a 4 lane boulevard.
I wish everybody who has been calling for the demolition of freeways understood that. They're thinking seems to be the opposite.



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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #59 on: January 27, 2021, 01:40:22 PM »

Ignoring the impact on congestion, it's still easier to walk under a 6 lane underpass than cross a 4 lane boulevard.
I wish everybody who has been calling for the demolition of freeways understood that. They're thinking seems to be the opposite.

It's not that simple. Freeways often create dead-ends; overall average travel time is likely no different post-freeway as you have to detour to specific underpasses. Grade-level roads have far more frequent crossings.
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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #60 on: January 27, 2021, 01:47:17 PM »

Ignoring the impact on congestion, it's still easier to walk under a 6 lane underpass than cross a 4 lane boulevard.
I wish everybody who has been calling for the demolition of freeways understood that. They're thinking seems to be the opposite.

It's not that simple. Freeways often create dead-ends; overall average travel time is likely no different post-freeway as you have to detour to specific underpasses. Grade-level roads have far more frequent crossings.

But they have no traffic lights.
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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #61 on: January 27, 2021, 01:51:43 PM »

Ignoring the impact on congestion, it's still easier to walk under a 6 lane underpass than cross a 4 lane boulevard.
I wish everybody who has been calling for the demolition of freeways understood that. They're thinking seems to be the opposite.

It's not that simple. Freeways often create dead-ends; overall average travel time is likely no different post-freeway as you have to detour to specific underpasses. Grade-level roads have far more frequent crossings.

But they have no traffic lights.

But you still have the whole "great for those on the road with the crossing, awful for everyone else" situation.

It's not that traffic lights are great, but rather that there are more crossing opportunities.
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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #62 on: January 27, 2021, 01:56:06 PM »

Ignoring the impact on congestion, it's still easier to walk under a 6 lane underpass than cross a 4 lane boulevard.
I wish everybody who has been calling for the demolition of freeways understood that. They're thinking seems to be the opposite.

It's not that simple. Freeways often create dead-ends; overall average travel time is likely no different post-freeway as you have to detour to specific underpasses. Grade-level roads have far more frequent crossings.

Delays are typically quoted as overall delays.  Sure, some people on a side road may have access cut off and will need to use other roadways that may add a short bit of time to their ride.  But on the main roads, the traffic free flows much better, so the average delay is reduced.
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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #63 on: January 27, 2021, 01:59:14 PM »

Ignoring the impact on congestion, it's still easier to walk under a 6 lane underpass than cross a 4 lane boulevard.
I wish everybody who has been calling for the demolition of freeways understood that. They're thinking seems to be the opposite.

It's not that simple. Freeways often create dead-ends; overall average travel time is likely no different post-freeway as you have to detour to specific underpasses. Grade-level roads have far more frequent crossings.

Delays are typically quoted as overall delays.  Sure, some people on a side road may have access cut off and will need to use other roadways that may add a short bit of time to their ride.  But on the main roads, the traffic free flows much better, so the average delay is reduced.

I'm speaking more to those not driving. Having to use specific overpasses and underpasses introduces delay when you have to go out of your way to locate a crossing. Which is totally fine since you cannot have grade-level crossings of freeways, but it gets us back to the point about Crystal City. Might the urban design of Crystal City improve without the US-1 "freeway" and with new grade-level crossings at far more frequent intervals? I think so.
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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #64 on: January 27, 2021, 02:06:36 PM »

Ignoring the impact on congestion, it's still easier to walk under a 6 lane underpass than cross a 4 lane boulevard.
I wish everybody who has been calling for the demolition of freeways understood that. They're thinking seems to be the opposite.

It's not that simple. Freeways often create dead-ends; overall average travel time is likely no different post-freeway as you have to detour to specific underpasses. Grade-level roads have far more frequent crossings.

Delays are typically quoted as overall delays.  Sure, some people on a side road may have access cut off and will need to use other roadways that may add a short bit of time to their ride.  But on the main roads, the traffic free flows much better, so the average delay is reduced.

I'm speaking more to those not driving. Having to use specific overpasses and underpasses introduces delay when you have to go out of your way to locate a crossing. Which is totally fine since you cannot have grade-level crossings of freeways, but it gets us back to the point about Crystal City. Might the urban design of Crystal City improve without the US-1 "freeway" and with new grade-level crossings at far more frequent intervals? I think so.

Just like in the thread about suburban sprawl, you are completely ignoring the stated opinions of the locals who clearly prefer to use the grade separated crossings.
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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #65 on: January 27, 2021, 02:14:05 PM »

Ignoring the impact on congestion, it's still easier to walk under a 6 lane underpass than cross a 4 lane boulevard.
I wish everybody who has been calling for the demolition of freeways understood that. They're thinking seems to be the opposite.

It's not that simple. Freeways often create dead-ends; overall average travel time is likely no different post-freeway as you have to detour to specific underpasses. Grade-level roads have far more frequent crossings.

Delays are typically quoted as overall delays.  Sure, some people on a side road may have access cut off and will need to use other roadways that may add a short bit of time to their ride.  But on the main roads, the traffic free flows much better, so the average delay is reduced.

I'm speaking more to those not driving. Having to use specific overpasses and underpasses introduces delay when you have to go out of your way to locate a crossing. Which is totally fine since you cannot have grade-level crossings of freeways, but it gets us back to the point about Crystal City. Might the urban design of Crystal City improve without the US-1 "freeway" and with new grade-level crossings at far more frequent intervals? I think so.

Just like in the thread about suburban sprawl, you are completely ignoring the stated opinions of the locals who clearly prefer to use the grade separated crossings.

"The locals" are now a group of 289 people, in a neighborhood of 23k? Surveys should always be taken with a grain of salt.

Also: I'm a local. I live in Crystal City part of the year.
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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #66 on: January 27, 2021, 07:36:09 PM »

I have no issues crossing at the nearest cross street...

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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #67 on: January 27, 2021, 11:14:44 PM »

But you still have the whole "great for those on the road with the crossing, awful for everyone else" situation.
Is it really so awful? Instead of crossing big wide lanes of traffic directly, you cross a bridge over the road, because the drivers on that road and the people crossing over or under it don't interact with one another, so less risk of an accident. You mentioned the creation of dead ends for local streets in the previous post, but grade eliminations on railroad lines do the same things as the construction of freeways and other limited-access highways. I was going to bring up something about this when I was doing a GSV shot of the Metro-North New Haven Line in Mount Vernon, New York a day or two ago, but I think I'd rather bring that up on the Mass Transit board.

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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #68 on: January 28, 2021, 10:46:55 AM »

Not sure if this was mentioned, but one reason why a grade-separated underpass, under Rt 1, in Crystal City was shut down a few years ago was due to underutilization by the public. There was always an above-grade option as well:

https://www.arlnow.com/2018/03/22/crystal-city-pedestrian-tunnel-to-eventually-close/

Quote
The tunnel may be closed before the project begins, “because it is underutilized” and because of upkeep costs, according to a county spokesperson. The tunnel was intended as a safety improvement, though many locals take their chances at street level due to the tunnel being dark and smelling like urine.
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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #69 on: January 28, 2021, 01:56:31 PM »

But you still have the whole "great for those on the road with the crossing, awful for everyone else" situation.

Is it really so awful? Instead of crossing big wide lanes of traffic directly, you cross a bridge over the road, because the drivers on that road and the people crossing over or under it don't interact with one another, so less risk of an accident. You mentioned the creation of dead ends for local streets in the previous post, but grade eliminations on railroad lines do the same things as the construction of freeways and other limited-access highways. I was going to bring up something about this when I was doing a GSV shot of the Metro-North New Haven Line in Mount Vernon, New York a day or two ago, but I think I'd rather bring that up on the Mass Transit board.

Definitely consider the reply above mine. The comfort of using a crossing is measured by more than just how many "big wide lanes" you have to cross. Much of the time, being alone in a narrow place or having to go through somewhere dark just isn't an enjoyable experience. Then yeah, you have to consider the detour time, which can sometimes add a significant amount of time to someone's foot-based journey over just using a crossing. This is especially true for those on bikes or in wheelchairs, where ramps can add a lot of time to a journey over just crossing at-grade.

To those worried about traffic: totally fair! There is no way an at-grade US-1 through Crystal City could possible improve over grade-separation (but then, the freeway is pretty short already). And for pedestrians, we're talking about increased crossing time at those roads with underpasses (I'm not aware of any overpasses). But Crystal City and Pentagon City, especially the northern areas near the two metro stations and the Fashion Centre, is really meant to be more of an urban, walkable area, and US-1 creates this wall that segregates traffic to just a few crossing points (not ideal for a walkable area). Pentagon City has always felt nicer to me, and that might be because of how crammed Crystal City is, having a bit on either side of US-1, but with the eastern side sandwiched between US-1 and the railway; bringing the two neighborhoods together by eliminating the raised freeway and using some creative urban design could really stand to help Crystal City by physically opening it up a bit. And speaking frankly, Crystal City needs help...it's like a 70s dream frozen in time.

One thing I'd love to consider is a one-way couplet with a wide median. The US-1 right-of-way is wide enough to potentially separate the two carriageways enough that signalization could actually be improved even at the current at-grade intersections, and there'd be this large open area that could be used for many different purposes. I'm imagining it like Texas frontage roads but without the overpasses.
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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #70 on: January 28, 2021, 02:04:14 PM »

Can't they just put in some illumination for the overpasses to make them more inviting?
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jakeroot

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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #71 on: January 28, 2021, 02:44:29 PM »

Can't they just put in some illumination for the overpasses to make them more inviting?

I assume you mean underpasses. And not really, no. Natural light is not the same as artificial lighting. The best they could do is eliminate the inside shoulder of the overpasses to create an opening for light to enter.
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kphoger

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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #72 on: January 28, 2021, 02:50:19 PM »

https://www.arlnow.com/2018/03/22/crystal-city-pedestrian-tunnel-to-eventually-close/

Quote
The tunnel was intended as a safety improvement, though many locals take their chances at street level due to the tunnel being dark and smelling like urine.


Can't they just put in some illumination for the overpasses to make them more inviting?

And install some room deodorizers, I guess.
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kernals12

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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #73 on: January 28, 2021, 03:00:21 PM »

Can't they just put in some illumination for the overpasses to make them more inviting?

I assume you mean underpasses. And not really, no. Natural light is not the same as artificial lighting. The best they could do is eliminate the inside shoulder of the overpasses to create an opening for light to enter.

I was referring to the grade separated intersections.
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1995hoo

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Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #74 on: February 02, 2021, 09:03:39 AM »

Since there's been discussion here about Amazon, I see they've submitted plans to build this 350-foot thing at the corner of South 12th and Eads Streets. It's to be surrounded by three 22-story buildings with 2.8 million square feet of office space and—this will surely please kernals12 to no end—no parking garages.

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