Thursday, June 29, 2006

Or the Tunnel that at least becomes more expensive?

Officially it is still to be, but what about the details?

According to Kathleen Penney, from the Deputy Bridge Engineer for DDOT at the June 14, 2005 Public Scoping Meeting for the SCS EIS:

One of the things that we have talked about throughout the studies is the ability to build a tunnel to connect Interstate 295 and Interstate 395. That’s really a major part of the transportation component of the AWI. We are not showing it in any of our alternatives over hear because it’s really a common element that does not vary from alternative to alternative. So the tunnel along the South Capitol Street is still very much on the table. It’s very much in our analysis as we work through our traffic. But we expect as we go through this NEPA process that it will probably fall out on its own separate NEPA documentation process. And so we keep it on the table now. We analyze it and see how it affects all of the alternatives. But eventually, it will probably split off and take its own course.

This tunnel is absent in planning documents the 2003 NCPC SCS Urban Design Study and the DCOP SCS Gateway Improvement Study. Both of these included the tunnel as an integral component. But the November 2003 ULI SCS Advisory Services Panel Report, effectively omits it.

It does not come out and say that the tunnel should never be built. But it dismisses the need for any land portion for such a tunnel, without even mentioning it:

National studies show that where traffic is constrained, alternate routes are soon adopted by commuters. The proximity of the double-span 11th STreet Bridge further upriver makes this traffic approach feasible. It will make for a much more enhanced experience for pedestrians and commuters-- who will face a less trafficked, less congested South Capitol Street. The new corridor will be more desirable for residents, businesses and visitors. The panel suggests ways that additional lanes can be accommodated by eliminating or reducing a median, allowing the insertion of a center lane for left hand turning traffic. Even the option that incorporates a landscaped median suggests intermittent breaks, allowing a left hand turn lane proximate to each intersection.

Page 22

It mention's the tunnel's under-river segment only once, in the very quote that I cited in my June 28, 2006 entry about the threatened demolition of the underpass at M Street:

First Priority Initiatives

In order to accelerate the neighborhood development process, the first project recommended for South Capitol Street is to:

Proceed immediately with the raising of South Capitol Street to an at grade street with a 130 foot right-of-way from the foot of the Frederick Douglass Bridge through to the I Street intersection in the north

Proceed immediately with removal of the grade separation at M Street and the 100 percent corner, and with establishing at-grade crossings at all of the intersections.

In order to preserve the traffic carrying capacity of the street, provide for left turn lanes, either continuously or intermittently.

These initiatives can proceed without waiting for resolution of the bridge alignment, for the studies to determine feasibility of the under-river tunnel…

Without even waiting for a study for the bridge and the tunnel, the Urban Land Institute Advisory Services Panel Report prescribes first eliminating the South Capitol Street- M Street underpass, hence increase the amount of traffic lights and the vehicular-pedestrian conflict- all for the sake of accelerating the real estate development.

Sure, if it is not worth mentioning such factors as soil conditions, and right of way issues, including those for the various transition areas to the surface. None of the studies ask if it can be bored (drilled) rather then cut and cover without requiring soil stabilization measures (in what is near the confluence of two rivers!) that would significantly increase the construction costs.

2004 DCDOT South Capitol Gateway Corridor and Anacostia Access Study

Parsons Brinkerhoff Quade & Douglas, Inc. Frank Lohsen McCrery, Architects Justice & Sustainability Associates, L.L.C. Joseph Passonneau & Partners

2005 NCPC South Capitol Street Grand Urban Boulevard and Waterfront Gateway

2006 South Capitol Street Environmental Impact Statement

None of these reports address the cost-constructability issues.

All though flirt with significant future cost increases, for the sake of making some real estate development occur 5-12 years sooner.

While none of these reports even address cost-constructability, and thereby neither tabulate the potential costs, they neither tabulate the benefits of speeding real estate development that would happen anyway.

No comments: