Monday, July 10, 2006

What could be done instead:
Improve RFK area accessibility

While RFK already has a relatively adequate WMATA stop, (in contrast to the South Capitol Street area), Washington, D.C. has a seriously truncated highway system that has yet to be completed, and which falls short of serving the RFK area. Hence, in contrast to the official planning which pretends to provide for a multi-model and comprehensive transportation network, the focus here is on providing the missing segments of highway.

Extend the SE Freeway Barney Circle Underpass to East Capitol Street, taking advantage of the topography to build a cover over the existing SE Freeway to the west towards the 11th Street Bridge[s], and over the extension to the east, this placing most vehicular traffic underground beneath new parkland and a local slow speed road with a new terrace to the waterfront, extending the Washington, D.C.'s monumental core beauty along the Potomac River by the Lincoln Memorial to the Anacostia River.

The topography allows this underground SE Freeway to be constructed relatively inexpensively without excavation for the entire segment that follows the axis of the Barney Circle Underpass since this highway runs across a hill; the segment towards RFK/East Capitol Street would be a cut and cover tunnel through existing right of ways and parking lots. The most challenging portion is the transition between these two segments at the southeast corner of Congressional Cemetery.

This would not build the Barney Circle Bridge that was officially proposed from 1983 to 1996.

The current Middle Anacostia Transportation Study hints at this idea of such a topographically advantageous cover for the existing SE Freeway segment as a tunnel without any new excavation; it does so with various cross-section illustrations, accompanied by a total lack of any acknowledgment of this idea, with the space simply labeled "development".

This study shows different options, including those that abandon even the existing Barney Circle Underpass, and those that drastically reduce the public right of way by selling off much of the existing SE Freeway right of way for new private real estate development.

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