Will bridge gum up D.C. traffic?
In my Sunday column, I published a letter from D.C. resident Christopher Herman critical of the reconstruction plan for the 11th Street Bridge, the biggest road project that the District Department of Transportation has undertaken. I'll continue that conversation this week, including a response from the District. Here's a letter from another city resident also concerned about the impact of commuter traffic on D.C. neighborhoods.
[My question for commuters: If you have a new, seamless connection between highways, how bad would traffic have to be to get you to bail out onto local streets?]
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
What's the reality of the new 11th Street Bridge for local traffic? The District Department of Transportation asserts that this bridge will be used by "local drivers," by which I understand DDOT to mean residents of East of the River and Capitol Hill.
After 22 years of living in the east end of Capitol Hill, through which many thousands of commuter vehicles weave each work day on residential streets, I challenge this assertion. Why? Because when the other bridges across the Anacostia fill up, commuters will surely "find" this "local traffic bridge," just as they now find their way through our residential streets. And these other bridges will fill up, as Christopher Herman explained.
In the many DDOT planning meetings on the 11th Street Bridges held for Capitol Hill and Anacostia residents, which I attended over several years, DDOT engineers and planners were repeatedly asked how they would prevent commuters from using the local bridge. Time and again these DDOT experts admitted in these public meetings that once the bridge was opened, DDOT would have no way to prevent commuters from using it.
Most likely Capitol Hill/historic Anacostia scenario during weekday afternoon rush hours: Gridlock on the Southeast/Southwest Freeway. Two new "freeway" 11th Street Bridges are bumper to bumper traffic. Many commuters heading for Maryland suburbs were continue to drive east on Pennsylvania Ave to cross the Anacostia, and traffic will continue to move very slowly on Pennsylvania Avenue eastbound.
Now these eastbound commuters will have another bridge for getting across the Anacostia. From Pennsylvania Avenue, they can turn south on residential Capitol Hill streets to access the new so-called "local traffic bridge," which will dump them out in the largely residential section of historic Anacostia. From there, the commuters will drive on local streets until they can find unblocked larger streets.
The morning traffic scenario in historic Anacostia and Capitol Hill will be just the reverse.
-- Pat Taylor, the District
DDOT summary: Traffic is going to grow, no matter what. When the three new bridges are done in 2013, the District believes they will provide the best way to organize travel by adding two freeway bridges and a separate bridge for local traffic, including streetcars, bikes and pedestrians. Watch on Get There for a letter from Greer Johnson Gillis, the District's deputy chief engineer, elaborating on the DDOT view.
April 27, 2010; 9:35 AM ET
Categories: Commuting , Congestion , Construction , Driving , highways | Tags: 11th Street Bridge construction, Dr. Gridlock
Save & Share: Previous: Transit workers rally on Hill
Next: Southwest extends BWI-to-LAX service
Posted by: Russtinator | April 27, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Dr_Gridlock | April 27, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: member8 | April 27, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: eyendis | April 27, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: DCwavesDad | April 27, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Russtinator | April 27, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: ceefer66 | April 27, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.