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Author Topic: Philadelphia is still interested in making Roosevelt Boulevard into a Freeway  (Read 1751 times)

kernals12

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Last year, Philadelphia's Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability wrapped up a study on the future of infamous Roosevelt Boulevard. One of the ideas is to revive the old plans to turn it into a freeway, with 4 lanes being placed below grade.


Getting it built will almost certainly be a matter of money rather than NIMBYism.
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Re: Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2020, 09:55:35 PM »

Who cares what Philadelphia is doing? How does that have any relevance at all to Arlington, Virginia, and how does it even remotely matter in terms of local politics?

You really don’t like people throwing cold water on your ideas, do you?

Philadelphia wants to build a freeway there to improve safety, traffic flow, and make the area more pleasant. I think the people of Arlington value the same things.

I can't even see how Roosevelt Blvd can be converted to a freeway, especially since it will be impossible to connect it to I-95 without leveling hundreds of rowhomes and/or ruining precious parkland.
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kernals12

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Re: Re: Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2020, 10:02:21 PM »

Who cares what Philadelphia is doing? How does that have any relevance at all to Arlington, Virginia, and how does it even remotely matter in terms of local politics?

You really don’t like people throwing cold water on your ideas, do you?

Philadelphia wants to build a freeway there to improve safety, traffic flow, and make the area more pleasant. I think the people of Arlington value the same things.

I can't even see how Roosevelt Blvd can be converted to a freeway, especially since it will be impossible to connect it to I-95 without leveling hundreds of rowhomes and/or ruining precious parkland.

There's enough space in the median for 4 depressed lanes and ramps.
http://rooseveltblvd.com/app/uploads/2019/06/3-Alternatives-Summary-Matrix-Handout-2019-06-06.pdf
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seicer

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Re: Re: Re: Locals don't want the US 1 overpasses near Crystal City torn down
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2020, 10:25:57 PM »

Who cares what Philadelphia is doing? How does that have any relevance at all to Arlington, Virginia, and how does it even remotely matter in terms of local politics?

You really don’t like people throwing cold water on your ideas, do you?

Philadelphia wants to build a freeway there to improve safety, traffic flow, and make the area more pleasant. I think the people of Arlington value the same things.

Not entirely. The project includes improved bus service (think BRT), potential light rail considerations, improved pedestrian crossings, and integrated bicycle facilities. Three functional alternatives are being explored, but a full-blown freeway is not one of them. The alternatives generally involve the key components just noted. A freeway also does not have widespread local support, so..

Considering that PennDOT has zero funding for any major new projects and has an excessive backlog of existing maintenance issues that it needs to resolve, it is highly unlikely that PennDOT will be ramming a freeway through a highly developed neighborhood.

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I didn't know that they were still building freeways in cities.
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New Interstate plans:
https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/1/edit?mid=1iR-EhsnAaBtsadqOPdZqMTHr17bKjNlB&ll=45.48421495543849%2C-76.02345977441325&z=7

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That's not a done deal.  What kernals failed to mention is the "freeway" option is not the only option being considered.  Nor is the study "wrapped up"...
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kernals12

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That's not a done deal.  What kernals failed to mention is the "freeway" option is not the only option being considered.  Nor is the study "wrapped up"...
I said

Quote
One of the ideas is to revive the old plans to turn it into a freeway, with 4 lanes being placed below grade.

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Alps

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Honestly, that would be by far the best way to benefit nonmotorized corridor users.

kernals12

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Rather than shelling out for lids, maybe they should just plant a wall of trees on both sides of the trench. It would reduce the noise and visual impact of the highway at a much lower cost.
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Duke87

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It's worth noting that the near term recommendations are basically just "plant more trees".

The idea of installing some form of freeway is but one longer term concept that earns itself only 1 page in a 43-page presentation.

I'll believe it when I see it.
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kernals12

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It's worth noting that the near term recommendations are basically just "plant more trees".

The idea of installing some form of freeway is but one longer term concept that earns itself only 1 page in a 43-page presentation.

I'll believe it when I see it.

The other long term idea is to cut the number of lanes in half on a severely congested road and use "aggressive transportation demand management" to prevent hellish traffic jams. We all know how well that will work.
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kernals12

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Honestly, that would be by far the best way to benefit nonmotorized corridor users.

Exactly, to all the people who claim freeways make places less walkable; would you rather walk over 6 lanes of traffic on an overpass or try walking across them at-grade?
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jeffandnicole

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Honestly, the website was hard to use, and took a bit of work to find even a few of the options.

I didn't know that they were still building freeways in cities.

While it's within Philly, it's well outside the core city, and would be utilizing existing right-of-way underground.  It wouldn't be splitting apart the city as many freeways of the 60's and 70's did.

It's worth noting that the near term recommendations are basically just "plant more trees".

Per the report:

Hazardous condition: 25% of deaths on the Boulevard is hitting fixed objects.

Plan of action:  Install more fixed objects.



This study is all over the place.  It criticizes the large median, saying the landscaped area should be closer to the outside of the roadway.  Yet, the capped freeway design encourages a large median for a park.

In another plan, it basically calls for the 6 thru lanes each way to be narrowed down to 3 thru lanes each way, with 2 inner lanes and 1 outer lane.  I don't see how a 50% reduction in lanes here would be helpful to anyone.

It also calls for reduced speed limits.  The current limit is a reduction of a former limit, and the new limit was so universally ignored by, on average, 15 - 20 mph, that the city fought to get speed cameras installed.

The Light Rail option calls for the train to be in the middle, with train stations between the inner and outer roadways.  Yet, elsewhere it claims that pedestrian refuge areas between the inner and outer roadways are unsafe and not preferred.

The Light Rail option seems to be in a vacuum.  Where is the train going to go on either end?

Other options indicate that they want to plant more trees near intersections, for a visual effect of slowing down traffic.  Planting more trees near intersections also creates a limited visibility issue, which isn't preferred.

Overall, the Freeway option, which was unfairly jumped on here, seems to be the best option so far.  The entire study, for the most part, is made up of issues, then solutions that directly conflict with those issues.
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kernals12

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There are lots of similarly designed arterials that I think could also benefit from this kind of treatment including:
Grand Concourse and Queens Boulevard in New York
K Street in Washington DC
US 50 in Fairfax and Arlington, VA
Sunset and Park Presidio Boulevards in San Francisco
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seicer

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That's not a done deal.  What kernals failed to mention is the "freeway" option is not the only option being considered.  Nor is the study "wrapped up"...
I said

Quote
One of the ideas is to revive the old plans to turn it into a freeway, with 4 lanes being placed below grade.

But your title of this post insists that the freeway is an interest of the city (which it's not) and in another thread regarding US 1 in Crystal City:

Who cares what Philadelphia is doing? How does that have any relevance at all to Arlington, Virginia, and how does it even remotely matter in terms of local politics?

You really don’t like people throwing cold water on your ideas, do you?

Philadelphia wants to build a freeway there to improve safety, traffic flow, and make the area more pleasant. I think the people of Arlington value the same things.

That said, the project includes improved bus service (think BRT), potential light rail considerations, improved pedestrian crossings, and integrated bicycle facilities. Three functional alternatives are being explored, but a full-blown freeway is not one of them. The alternatives generally involve the key components just noted. A freeway also does not have widespread local support.

Considering that PennDOT has zero funding for any major new projects and has an excessive backlog of existing maintenance issues that it needs to resolve, it is highly unlikely that PennDOT will be ramming a freeway through a highly developed neighborhood.

kernals12

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I didn't know that they were still building freeways in cities.

This is a special case where, by all objective measures, a freeway would make the immediate area more livable than what's there now. Currently, it's a 12 lane at-grade avenue with 4 separate carriageways separated by a wide grassy median.
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1995hoo

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There are lots of similarly designed arterials that I think could also benefit from this kind of treatment including:
....
K Street in Washington DC
....

Absolutely zero chance whatsoever of that road ever being turned into anything even remotely resembling a freeway. This is more of a "Fictional Highways" type of thing. The District has been looking at reconfiguring K Street so that the current main lanes (central roadway) would become a transitway for streetcars and the current service roadways would become the thru lanes for vehicular traffic. I haven't paid enough attention to know what the exact configuration would be in terms of how many lanes the service roadways would have, whether parallel parking would be retained, or whether left turns across the transitway would be permitted. But there is absolutely no chance, none whatsoever, of that road ever becoming freeway-grade or anything close to it. That ship sailed 50 years ago.
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kernals12

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There are lots of similarly designed arterials that I think could also benefit from this kind of treatment including:
....
K Street in Washington DC
....

Absolutely zero chance whatsoever of that road ever being turned into anything even remotely resembling a freeway. This is more of a "Fictional Highways" type of thing. The District has been looking at reconfiguring K Street so that the current main lanes (central roadway) would become a transitway for streetcars and the current service roadways would become the thru lanes for vehicular traffic. I haven't paid enough attention to know what the exact configuration would be in terms of how many lanes the service roadways would have, whether parallel parking would be retained, or whether left turns across the transitway would be permitted. But there is absolutely no chance, none whatsoever, of that road ever becoming freeway-grade or anything close to it. That ship sailed 50 years ago.

Overton window and all. Who's going to argue that moving those main lanes underground wouldn't make the surrounding area nicer?
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kernals12

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The Roosevelt Expressway already exists between the Schuylkill Expressway and Hunting Park. And the current boulevard has grade separations at 5th street, Oxford Circle, Cottman Avenue, Solly Avenue, and Woodhaven Road. So the Expressway plan is really just finishing the job.
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Pete from Boston

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So it’s included in the conversation, but is there any traction for this idea in reality? I mean, most studies usually include no-build on one hand, and “money is no object” on the other, along with a range of options in between. I assume that this is not only for the benefit of the analysis, but also the sales end of things—establish the extremes and negotiate with stakeholders to a viable compromise between them.
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Is there enough space in the middle to add median U-turns, and then ban all left turns that aren't at interchanges? Then time the traffic signals southbound during AM rush hour and northbound during PM rush hour.
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1995hoo

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There are lots of similarly designed arterials that I think could also benefit from this kind of treatment including:
....
K Street in Washington DC
....

Absolutely zero chance whatsoever of that road ever being turned into anything even remotely resembling a freeway. This is more of a "Fictional Highways" type of thing. The District has been looking at reconfiguring K Street so that the current main lanes (central roadway) would become a transitway for streetcars and the current service roadways would become the thru lanes for vehicular traffic. I haven't paid enough attention to know what the exact configuration would be in terms of how many lanes the service roadways would have, whether parallel parking would be retained, or whether left turns across the transitway would be permitted. But there is absolutely no chance, none whatsoever, of that road ever becoming freeway-grade or anything close to it. That ship sailed 50 years ago.

Overton window and all. Who's going to argue that moving those main lanes underground wouldn't make the surrounding area nicer?

I don't think anyone would disagree that statement insofar as it goes, but an isolated statement like that doesn't bear on reality in any way. The District of Columbia—and, for that matter, many other cities and closer-in suburban areas that are politically more aligned with typical city governments than with more suburban areas—is not interested in doing things that would facilitate driving and encourage commuting and getting around by car, regardless of whether a particular such project would make the area "nicer." In the District, exceptions have occurred when there's been a need for other reconstruction and an associated improvement could be made as part of it—for example, the need to rebuild the crumbling 11th Street Bridge gave the District the opportunity to construct missing highway ramps on an existing highway that eliminated the need for drivers to make U-turns on nearby surface streets. That's different from "new" freeway construction.

While political discussion is discouraged on the forum, I think the kinds of urban and suburban projects you keep raising are a fine example of the sorts of projects where local politics are relevant to the discussion. As a general rule, areas with heavier Democrat tendencies are often less likely to be interested in facilitating car travel. That's a vast oversimplification, of course, but it does tend to reflect the two major political parties' platforms.
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kernals12

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Is there enough space in the middle to add median U-turns, and then ban all left turns that aren't at interchanges? Then time the traffic signals southbound during AM rush hour and northbound during PM rush hour.
Probably, but there'd be no space for bikeways or bus lanes.
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roadman65

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There are lots of similarly designed arterials that I think could also benefit from this kind of treatment including:
Grand Concourse and Queens Boulevard in New York
K Street in Washington DC
US 50 in Fairfax and Arlington, VA
Sunset and Park Presidio Boulevards in San Francisco

New York also is demoting freeways into boulevards like those mentioned. Examples are I-895 to Sheridan Blvd. and NY 9A from West Side Elevated to West Street/ 11 th Ave/ 12th Avenue. So don’t count your blessings those roadways would ever become freeways.

In Roosevelt Boulevard’s case, the signals need tweaking more so and they should really build the proposed Pulaski Freeway to link US 1 with NJ suburbs.  Addional roads are needed more than rehabilitations.
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kernals12

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Looking at the diagram, it seems like they could squeeze in an extra lane in both directions while still maintaining a shoulder.
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