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Author Topic: District of Columbia  (Read 218721 times)

froggie

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #325 on: October 02, 2014, 09:12:17 AM »

What that spot (Potomac Fwy spur at Rock Creek Pkwy) really needs is an overpass.  But between NPS jurisdiction and the tight confines, plus the narrowness on Ohio Dr under the parkway connection to Lincoln Circle, I don't see it happening.

As for SPUI's mention of 110, that's a better connection from Rosslyn to the SW/SE Fwy, and that might be what he was referring to.  Agree with Hoo that 110 wouldn't work for Foggy Bottom/GWU to Southwest trips.
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NE2

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #326 on: October 02, 2014, 09:15:02 AM »

It would also be pretty damn redundant, with SR 110 across the river providing the same movements with only a slightly longer distance.

Route 110 actually doesn't really do a good job of providing the same movements if you're already in the District.
If you're in the District, you're already on surface streets, sucker. Ideally Interstates are for distances more than a mile or two.

PS: why is the access from I-66 to Independence closed in afternoon rush hour? Ohio Drive has four lanes - is it that they're unwilling to put a light there? But then why are right turns banned from the Lincoln Memorial Circle access?
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #327 on: October 02, 2014, 09:17:59 AM »

Something else that probably bears remembering is that we're discussing that segment of I-695 in isolation with respect to today's roads. It's important to remember it was one segment of a larger planned highway network. In this particular context, the notable aspect is that I-66 would have continued across DC to I-95 and I-266 would have brought in traffic from the northwest. Presumably those highways would have carried a fair amount of traffic, and it would have been highly impractical, and nonsensical, to funnel all that traffic over the bridges to Virginia, through the streets to turn around to get to Route 110, and then back over another bridge into the District.

In that context, the highway would have served a valid role, although it doesn't change my opinion that Independence Avenue would have been sufficient with some reconfiguring at the area mentioned in my prior comment.



I-66 to Independence is closed in the afternoon because Ohio Drive is one-way outbound at that time of day. The one-way pattern begins at the light south of the Lincoln Memorial at that teardrop-shaped faux-roundabout. Going past the Kennedy Center, the two lanes on the left side of the median are for thru traffic and the two lanes on the right side are for local traffic (Kennedy Center and Watergate—I use that route to pick up my wife after work en route to hockey games). There are always a lot of near-accidents caused by people who don't know where they're going who simply slam on the brakes in confusion.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2014, 09:20:28 AM by 1995hoo »
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NE2

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #328 on: October 02, 2014, 09:19:34 AM »

What that spot (Potomac Fwy spur at Rock Creek Pkwy) really needs is an overpass.  But between NPS jurisdiction and the tight confines, plus the narrowness on Ohio Dr under the parkway connection to Lincoln Circle, I don't see it happening.
How about closing the access from Ohio Drive north to Rock Creek Parkway north entirely? Local traffic going to Watergate can take the loop onto Lincoln Memorial Circle and immediately fork right, and through traffic can go straight onto I-66, staying in either of the left two lanes to rejoin Rock Creek Parkway at Virginia Avenue.
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NE2

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #329 on: October 02, 2014, 09:22:03 AM »

Something else that probably bears remembering is that we're discussing that segment of I-695 in isolation with respect to today's roads. It's important to remember it was one segment of a larger planned highway network. In this particular context, the notable aspect is that I-66 would have continued across DC to I-95 and I-266 would have brought in traffic from the northwest.
But how much traffic would be heading west on I-66, only to turn back east on I-695? The Center Leg under the Capitol would be the better route.
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1995hoo

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #330 on: October 02, 2014, 09:25:07 AM »

Something else that probably bears remembering is that we're discussing that segment of I-695 in isolation with respect to today's roads. It's important to remember it was one segment of a larger planned highway network. In this particular context, the notable aspect is that I-66 would have continued across DC to I-95 and I-266 would have brought in traffic from the northwest.
But how much traffic would be heading west on I-66, only to turn back east on I-695? The Center Leg under the Capitol would be the better route.

Frankly, who knows? It's all speculation since most of it was never built. I don't pine for the "unbuilt DC highway network." That ship sailed long ago. I do think there are improvements that can help things out a great deal, as we've already seen with the rebuilt Eleventh Street Bridge. It may be the single biggest improvement within the District of Columbia during my lifetime so far.
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #331 on: October 02, 2014, 09:33:36 AM »

I bet that part of I-695 was included in the system because I-70S was originally planned to end up on the Whitehurst Freeway.
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #332 on: October 04, 2014, 11:51:01 PM »

What that spot (Potomac Fwy spur at Rock Creek Pkwy) really needs is an overpass.  But between NPS jurisdiction and the tight confines, plus the narrowness on Ohio Dr under the parkway connection to Lincoln Circle, I don't see it happening.
How about closing the access from Ohio Drive north to Rock Creek Parkway north entirely? Local traffic going to Watergate can take the loop onto Lincoln Memorial Circle and immediately fork right, and through traffic can go straight onto I-66, staying in either of the left two lanes to rejoin Rock Creek Parkway at Virginia Avenue.

I agree.  To me, Independence is one of the quickest ways to get from Capitol Hill to the river.  It would be nice if there were easier access from I-66 to Independence at all times, which could be achieved if the connection from Ohio Drive to Rock Creek Parkway were closed.  Traffic from Ohio could also reach the Rock Creek Parkway, by taking the exit (from Ohio Drive) for the Memorial Bridge and taking the ramp to the Rock Creek Parkway there.
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #333 on: October 05, 2014, 12:04:54 AM »

Local traffic going to Watergate can take the loop onto Lincoln Memorial Circle and immediately fork right,
Traffic from Ohio could also reach the Rock Creek Parkway, by taking the exit (from Ohio Drive) for the Memorial Bridge and taking the ramp to the Rock Creek Parkway there.
That's what I was talking about above. The left turn across southbound RCP is not really suitable for large volumes of traffic.
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mrsman

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #334 on: October 05, 2014, 06:37:10 AM »

Local traffic going to Watergate can take the loop onto Lincoln Memorial Circle and immediately fork right,
Traffic from Ohio could also reach the Rock Creek Parkway, by taking the exit (from Ohio Drive) for the Memorial Bridge and taking the ramp to the Rock Creek Parkway there.
That's what I was talking about above. The left turn across southbound RCP is not really suitable for large volumes of traffic.

Yes, now I see.

This whole area is quite confusing.  There are a lot of different commuter routes that interchange here (on both sides of the river) and there is very poor signage as to how to get between each.  Especially along NPS roads.

On the Virginia side, you have GWP, I-66, and US 50 approaching Rosslyn from the northwest and west.  Some (but not all) of these roads lead to the Memorial Bridge, TR bridge, or VA-110.  VA-110 is the way to continue south toward Alexandria (and I-395).  All of these roads should link in a straightforward way.

On the DC side, you have E Street Expressway, Constitution, Independence, (and K, but K is a bit north of this area) as the main corridors out of Downtown towards the river.  All three should interchange easily with Memorial Bridge, TR Bridge, Rock Creek Parkway, and the Whitehurst Freeway.  The Whitehurst will then connect with either the Key Bridge or the Canal Rd/Macarthur Blvd corridor (which eventually leads to the quickest way to I-270 for cars).

But navigating here is a complete mess.

I have particular ire for the RC Parkway/Beach Drive combination.  It should be the quickest way from my area to Downtown.  But it is very hard to navigate because of poor signing.  I would like to drive on it as far north as possible, maybe linking with 16th by the old Walter Reed, but signage tells you to leave at several earlier points to get to 16th Street.  It is so windy and twisty and there aren't good signs on how to stay on Beach Drive.  And then at the northern end, you have a choice between Beach Drive heading northwest or West Beach Drive heading northeast.


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froggie

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #335 on: October 05, 2014, 04:23:50 PM »

Quote
It is so windy and twisty

Which might be why they don't want traffic to use it and instead want them to access 16th sooner.

Of course, I've heard and read it mentioned/referenced that the NPS did *NOT* want the parkways under their jurisdiction to be used as commuter routes.  But that's effectively what they've become.
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mrsman

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #336 on: October 05, 2014, 06:53:11 PM »

Quote
It is so windy and twisty

Which might be why they don't want traffic to use it and instead want them to access 16th sooner.

Of course, I've heard and read it mentioned/referenced that the NPS did *NOT* want the parkways under their jurisdiction to be used as commuter routes.  But that's effectively what they've become.

With regard to B-W parkway and G.W. parkway these are absolutely commuter roads.  There aren't too many twists and these need to be treated as formal commuter roads with proper signage.  Ideally control cities, overhead signs, and maybe even a unique shield (if it can't get highway numbers).

With regard to Beach Drive, I agree that is shouldn't be a commuter route.  But there is no good way to go north of the city.  Many highway projects like I-95 and I-270 within the Beltway were cancelled.  The surface streets that remained were not upgraded to serve as proper commuter routes.  You can't drive down Georgia or 16th without hitting many red lights, often at crossings where there is little cross-traffic.  At least upgrade to actuated lights and some form of signal progression.

Since they don't, we're left with Beach Drive.
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froggie

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #337 on: October 05, 2014, 07:42:08 PM »

I should have prefaced that by noting that a couple of the parkways...B-W Parkway and Suitland Parkway...were built specifically as military access roads which now happen to fall under NPS jurisdiction.

But G.W. Parkway was not built as a commuter road and commuting was never the intention for it...especially the older stretches south of Memorial Bridge.  Those of us who were on the Virginia side heard this repeatedly by transportation committees and NPS themselves.
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1995hoo

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #338 on: October 05, 2014, 09:08:46 PM »

The crosswalks all over the DC segment of the GW Parkway simply underscore froggie's point.

On the other hand, it's all well and good to say "we didn't intend these as commuter roads," but at some point reality needs to be considered (such as how to make said crosswalks safer).
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mtantillo

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #339 on: October 05, 2014, 09:52:07 PM »

I commute on the reversible section of Rock Creek Parkway everyday. That road is a godsend, since it bypasses the congested "Old City" part of downtown. Yes, it is very confusing, but the vast majority of users are daily commuters who know where to go and what to do without signs. Outside of rush hours, GPS works pretty reliably well to avoid having to rely on the crappy signs.

Sure, the Parkways were not meant to be commuter roads, but they are. Rock Creek Parkway has been since the 1930's with its one-way traffic. Clearly, it has a positive impact on traffic, since one only needs to see what happens to traffic in all of NW when the Parkway floods after a rainstorm...basically all of NW is in solid gridlock. Outside of rush hours, it is a pretty pleasant drive, and there are lots of recreational users using the amenities, including some bicyclists that use the parkway itself.  As for me, I consider myself using the road for its intended purpose...a pretty "motor road" through a pretty park...just so happens that I typically enjoy the road and the park on my way to work.
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1995hoo

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #340 on: October 27, 2014, 08:26:22 PM »

WTOP has a photo gallery of "Ghost roads: The forgotten and haunted roads of DC":
http://wtop.com/864/3729364/The-forgotten-and-haunted-roads-of-DC

Much to my dismay, the ever-popular sign assembly over outbound I-66 near the Kennedy Center is prominently featured and described in the context of "incongruous" signage with various "deficiencies." Hopefully this won't prompt DC to replace that assembly, but if you've wanted to visit or photograph it, it might be a good idea to do so sooner rather than later.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #341 on: November 30, 2014, 09:51:17 PM »

Yesterday, I took I-295 northbound all the way.  Exits 1-3 had the same numbers, but Exit 4 had been renumbered as 5A (695 to 395), 5B (DC 295), and 5C (11th St SE and MLK Jr Ave).
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #342 on: December 01, 2014, 02:40:24 AM »

Yesterday, I took I-295 northbound all the way.  Exits 1-3 had the same numbers, but Exit 4 had been renumbered as 5A (695 to 395), 5B (DC 295), and 5C (11th St SE and MLK Jr Ave).

Did you enter it from Md. 210 (Indian Head Highway)?
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #343 on: December 04, 2014, 10:33:26 PM »

Washington Post: Developer wants portion of I-395 in D.C. shut down to expedite construction project

Quote
Federal authorities are considering a request to shut down two-thirds of a mile of Interstate 395 in the District — one of the busiest stretches of highway in the city — for more than a year so that a mammoth development project can be completed more quickly.

Quote
New York-based Property Group Partners says that if the highway is closed between New York Avenue and D Street NW for 15 to 18 months, it could cut in half the construction time of a $200 million deck over the freeway’s entrance that will support its 2.2 million-square-foot development there, Capitol Crossing.

Quote
Without full access to that portion of the freeway, the platform project could take at least three years to complete, require loud work at night and potentially endanger workers, the developer says.

Quote
But the proposal has raised concerns that it would cripple one of the Washington area’s busiest commuter thoroughfares — which carries as many as 90,000 vehicles a day — and worsen the region’s gridlock.
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #344 on: December 04, 2014, 11:04:18 PM »

Okay, I'm confused...why is FHWA evaluating this request and not DDOT? I thought DDOT maintains the road? FHWA usually only gets involved if the "state" DOT asks for permission.

That concerns me, because DDOT is accountable to voters in the city, while FHWA is not.
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #345 on: December 04, 2014, 11:13:29 PM »

Washington Post: Developer wants portion of I-395 in D.C. shut down to expedite construction project

Quote
Federal authorities are considering a request to shut down two-thirds of a mile of Interstate 395 in the District — one of the busiest stretches of highway in the city — for more than a year so that a mammoth development project can be completed more quickly.

Quote
New York-based Property Group Partners says that if the highway is closed between New York Avenue and D Street NW for 15 to 18 months, it could cut in half the construction time of a $200 million deck over the freeway’s entrance that will support its 2.2 million-square-foot development there, Capitol Crossing.

The two-lane ramps to and from D Street are totally inadequate to serve as a temporary terminus for eight-lane I-395, both not enough capacity and also feeding into already-congested roads like 2nd St. NW.  And those ramps are in tunnels under the Labor Department building, so widening them is not a practical option.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2014, 12:35:19 PM by oscar »
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #346 on: December 04, 2014, 11:57:13 PM »

Okay, I'm confused...why is FHWA evaluating this request and not DDOT? I thought DDOT maintains the road? FHWA usually only gets involved if the "state" DOT asks for permission.

That concerns me, because DDOT is accountable to voters in the city, while FHWA is not.

One possible reason is that the proposal would affect access to the Senate side of Capitol Hill, so there's a Federal interest separate from the local concerns of most importance to DDOT.  FHWA might for that reason may be quicker to say "no" than DDOT, though I hope both of them will quickly tell the developer to get lost, so any premature involvement by FHWA may end up a non-issue.
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #347 on: December 06, 2014, 01:52:50 AM »

Okay, I'm confused...why is FHWA evaluating this request and not DDOT? I thought DDOT maintains the road? FHWA usually only gets involved if the "state" DOT asks for permission.

That concerns me, because DDOT is accountable to voters in the city, while FHWA is not.

One possible reason is that the proposal would affect access to the Senate side of Capitol Hill, so there's a Federal interest separate from the local concerns of most importance to DDOT.  FHWA might for that reason may be quicker to say "no" than DDOT, though I hope both of them will quickly tell the developer to get lost, so any premature involvement by FHWA may end up a non-issue.
Does the connection of I-695 to DC 295 affect this at all? I mean, 295 can't handle the traffic it already has, but the developer might argue that there remains a full-freeway route from downtown to points north. Hopefully FHWA realizes that this ought to be a non-starter.

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #348 on: December 06, 2014, 05:29:46 AM »

Does the connection of I-695 to DC 295 affect this at all? I mean, 295 can't handle the traffic it already has, but the developer might argue that there remains a full-freeway route from downtown to points north. Hopefully FHWA realizes that this ought to be a non-starter.

Nope.  Very little inter-regional traffic uses the part of I-395 that would be closed.  But there's still lots of traffic (commuters and otherwise) from the Virginia suburbs to the increasingly developed Union Station area where I once worked, and local traffic crossing D.C. to and from the New York Ave. corridor.  Traffic to the north side of Capitol Hill (Senate offices) would also be affected by added congestion at the D Street N.W. entrance/exit ramps it uses, even though those ramps would remain open.

The I-695/DC 295 connection is helpful, but the traffic using it had previously used mainly surface-street connections like S. Capitol St. and Pennsylvania Ave. SE, rather than I-395 to the slow and congested New York Ave. corridor.   
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #349 on: December 06, 2014, 06:03:20 PM »

My "favorite" part of this "close part of I-395" story is this from wtop.com: Jeffrey Sussman, of Property Group Partners, tells the The Washington Post that drivers would adjust. "People find their way who drive because they like to drive. They like to figure out how to do it," he said.
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