Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Christmas Wish List: Most Needed Road Projects

A mix of needed road projects,

San Francisco:
Strictly Highway
- 19th Street Corridor Tunnel
- Central Freeway Alternative Tunnel
- 280 Embaracdero Tunnel

New York Greater Metropolitan Area:

Strictly Trains- #7 extension to Secuscus
- PA station additional tube
- Upgrade NE Corridor for higher speed to further rail as alternative to flying

MultiModel- Cross Sound Tunnel- I-287 extended to Long Island Rt 135 with extra capacity for RR
- Cross Harbor (New Jersey to Brooklyn RR and vehicular highway tunnel with tunnel extension via Brooklyn to Conduit Boulevard-JFK Airport), with Interboro (Brooklyn-Queens) Tunnel- via concrete box enclosures sunk and buried primarily via existing RR right of way. (Facebook page)
- Replacement Tappen Zee Bridge with twin duel level spans with MetroNorth

Strictly Highway- Cross County 'Parkway' Western Extension to New Jersey as mixed use to I-87
- Cross County Eastern Extension Tunnel to I-95/New Roch City
- Cross County Arterial (former NYW&'Boston' RR through New Rochelle, Pelham and Mount Vernon)
- 178th and 179th Street Recommissioned Local Relief Tunnels, with Alexander Hamilton Bridge Reconstruction Project
- I-87 Deegan Reconstruction to 4 lanes minimum per direction with full 12 foot width lanes and shoulders with waterfront Cromwell Avenue Tunnel, and full cut and cover incorporationing the adjacent right of way now partially encroached upon in the northren Bronx.
- Mid-Town Manhattan Expressway Tunnel, once proposed as alternative to above ground Mid Town Manhattan Expressway
- Mid-Town Tunnel 3rd tube
- Lincoln Tunnel 4th tube, NJ 495 approach reconstruction 4 lanes min. per dir with greater cover and shoulders
- Holland Tunnel Augmentation with Canal and Broome-Delancy Street Bypass Tunnels
- Westway/Westway variant

Multi-Model:Howard Street Tunnel Alternative, with I-83/MLK 295 Connection
Suggested additions?

Washington, D.C.:
I-95 PEPCO-New Hampshire Avenue-Metropiltan Branch Grand Arc promenade covered multimodel highway-RR tunnel, with K Street-New York Avenue- East Capitol Street Bridge Underground Inner Loop, with reconstruction of SW-SE Freeway underground, with new Washington Channel Tunnel

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Continuing Political Neglect of Infrastructure

Just more of the same from politicians who act as if dealing with infrastructure was somehow beneath them.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

New Haven CT Funny Handshake on Rt.34 Giveaway

Outgoing U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd flanked by New Haven Mayor and Congressman making fools out of themselves with the Route 34 Giveaway.

See more at:

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Alen Swerdlowe BQE Tunnel Makes a Comeback

Allen Swerdlowe made this proposal at the 1997 conference of the Regional Plan Association, as an extension of the RPA's proposal to reconstruct the Gowanus Expressway southwards of the interchange with the Prospect Expressway in an all new set of tunnels.

As with the shorter NYSDOT proposal, this tunnel is constructable separately from the existing BQE, minimizing construction distributions of traffic, and allows the re-use of the that existing BQE segment as a collector distribute roadway, as an alternative to having this full set of ramps via the tunnel (making it more expensive and more likely to displace some building).

Swerdlowe reportedly opposes the re-use the existing BQE segment as a collector distributor over a beholden doctrine there should be no additional urban freeway capacity- a doctrine ignoring cost benefits of re-using existing roadways and that the additional capacity would be underground, yet pandering to those at the very top of the political pyramid with their contempt for the profane common masses cloaked in the sort of "environmentalist" anti-human ability to innovate reactionarism seen with that James L. Lee human time-bomb in Silver Spring MD on the northern border of Washington, D.C.

The re-use of the existing BQE segment, if done as discussed with re-striping it with 2 full 12 foot width lanes, plus a shoulder, from the existing 3 10 1/2 foot lanes with no shoulder, would offset the new capacity. Thereby a 6 lane version of Swerdlowe' tunnel, with 4 lanes of the re-striped BQE collector distributor road, would ideally connect to the south to a 10 lane Gowanus Expressway to the south, and to the north to a 10 lane BQE.

The existing project to reconstruct the Gowanus Expressway, either as a new viaduct or as a new tunnel envision only envision a 7 lane tunnel (3 per direction with a reversible bus-HOV lane, with space for more, though limited to the Varrazono Narrow's Bridge's 12 lanes, shared with the connections to the Belt Parkway, the southern end of which would connect with the 12 lane Verazono Narrows Bridge

To the north, the Kosciuszko Bridge segment replacement will provide 10 lanes, though has the task of carrying 2 lanes in each direction to and from the Williamsburg Bridge, hence logically leading to a project to reconstruct the Williamsburg area segment with more capacity, and as local mitigation, largely underground.

Together these would finally form the creation of a continuous modern interstate highway link from the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to the Long Island Expressway.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Cap Buffalo, N.Y.'s Kensington Expressway

Alas, this sensible idea is under attack by a well connected, well funded campaign to waste the trench and place all of that corridor's traffic upon the surface, as if that would be more pedestrian friendly- NOT.

The Reclaiming Our Community Coalition (ROCC) is a committee of concerned organizations focused specifically on the goal to reclaim the beauty and dignity of its once beautiful community.

For three decades beginning in 1868, Frederick Law Olmsted, his partners and successors created for Buffalo a series of parks and parkways that attracted national and international attention. These men were motivated by the belief that developing a plan of interconnected parks and parkways would promote the health, wealth and prestige of the city. These convictions hold true to this day. Recent studies confirm that cities with well maintained parks and parkways (especially those designed by Olmsted) are healthier and attract more businesses and workers.

A case in point is the recent study conducted in Philadelphia. It is an older city that is plagued by similar problems to those facing Buffalo. Its population is shrinking, aging and losing economic strength. In areas of the city with easy access to parks, however, the educational attainment and median income of residents was higher. Additionally, unemployment declined and housing values increased notably. Higher property values near parks, in turn, increased revenues from property taxes, resulting in the expansion of the tax base of the city. In this connection, researchers estimate that urban parks increase tax revenues by as much as 30 percent. In short, this study shows that cities like Philadelphia and Buffalo need to attract people who will contribute to increasing the education and income levels of community residents as well as boost the tax base. Cities with well maintained parks and parkways, then, are more likely to achieve those goals.

The Reclaiming Our Community Coalition is proposing that a cover be built over a portion of the Kensington Expressway complete with trees, shrubs and flowers. This project would restore the visual quality and natural environment of the Humboldt Parkway neighborhood by recreating Humboldt parkway over the section of Route 33 from east Ferry Street to the Best Street exit. This project would promote an aesthetically pleasing physical connection across the existing below-grade expressway, reuniting communities. In implementing this project, it should be noted, there would be no impact on existing traffic patterns.

In sum, this project would restore the treasure envisioned by Olmsted. A majestic tree-lined parkway would be restored which would improve the looks, health and benefits of the neighborhood. Specifically, with regard to looks, it would: return the beauty and elegance of the parkway; change the aesthetic perception of the community; and affect the curbside appeal thereby encouraging investment and attracting potential home-buyers. Regarding health, it would improve air quality and impart all the benefits of trees and green space. And, in terms of benefits, it would: stimulate the repair and improvement of existing structures economically, which would appreciate property values in a real way; stimulate commercial interests in the community, monetarily restoring needed vitality; highlight the City of Buffalo as the city of solutions for improvement; and show the community’s children the possibility of a better way of life.

Reclaiming Our Community Coalition
Stephanie Barber, President

Read more:

Saturday, August 21, 2010

TIME magazine "Green Spin" Against Bolivian Economic Development

Against Infrastructure, notably modern roads,
as revenge for opposing 'drug war' market protection criminal mercantilism by insisting that Coca leaf be legalized?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Was NY Gov Spitzer Felled for Supporting Tunnel?

Gov Spitzer was busted as "Client #9' at an exclusive "Emperor's Club" - a name suggesting a sexual services business for 'emperors' (government officials) - though with precious little attention on any other clients.

Such timing, together with the Pentagon's continuing defferrence to an outmodeled, doctrine against any new urban freeway capacity, suggests a plausible reason that transport subversion emanates from the political pyramid's highest levels...

A funny thing happened on the way to the Cross Sound Link.

Actually, two things happened almost simultaneously in March. One was about greed and the other involved lust.

The first event was the sudden and surprising collapse of Bear Stearns, the Wall Street firm that fell in love with the subprime mortgage market. The second event was the sudden and surprising resignation of Eliot Spitzer, the governor who found love in the arms of prostitutes at 400 bucks an hour.

Both the investment bank and Spitzer had figured in an audacious plan to build the Cross Sound Link, a $10 billion (or more) vehicular tunnel that would travel 16 miles under the Long Island Sound, linking the eastern end of Long Island with Westchester County at Interstates 95 and 287 in Rye. Bear Stearns was going to float the bonds and sell the stock necessary to pay for the project while Spitzer supposedly was going to grease the political machinery to move the project through the approval process, according to the developer, Vincent Polimeni.

"Everything stopped when Spitzer had the disaster, coupled together the same week with Bear Stearns, who were obviously the people who were going to be funding the whole thing and spearheading it," Polimeni told me. "So, I'm retrenching."

Polimeni said the Spitzer sex scandal probably set him back at least two months because Spitzer, with whom he had met, understood the tunnel proposal and was at least willing to take the first steps needed to tests its merits. Now, he said, he'll have to explain the idea to the new governor, David Paterson.

"I know him," Polimeni said of Paterson. "I know all these people and I wanted the dust to settle before I got him into the loop. We'll try to set up a meeting with his people next month, to bring them up to speed with the tunnel.

"I think he'll be completely for it."

Polimeni said he was shocked when he heard the news of the Bear Stearns debacle and the axing of his contacts there. But he remained undaunted because he knew that the high-powered people who were key players in the Cross Sound Link would eventually be recruited by other firms.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tappan Zee Long Term Solution Proposed

From an array of options:

the most capacity with the least direct river impact via design requiring fewer piers

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

NYSDOT Proposes BQE Tunnel

among two other options, including a re-aligning the existing route to displace dwellings

Update*: [the update has a sharper curved transition]

Three versions of a tunnel plan were unveiled last night [with NYSDOT announcing they were dropping the destructive option proposed days earlier], including one that could take homes at yet-to-be decided sites to build ventilation buildings and portals for the tunnel.

Under that plan, the existing BQE over the stretch would go from three, eight-foot lanes in each direction to two, 12-foot lanes and would be supplemented by a tunnel with two-12-foot lanes each way. [or perhaps three ten-foot lanes in each direction to two with a 6 six-foot shoulder]

The tunnel would begin at the intersection of Congress and Hicks streets in Cobble Hill, run below ground north to Pierrepont Street in Brooklyn Heights before heading west underneath Borough Hall and connecting again with the highway at Navy Street.

Another tunnel option is building it directly under the existing BQE from Kane and Hicks streets in Cobble Hill to North Portland Avenue near the Brooklyn Navy Yard. After it is build, the existing highway would be taken down.

While this plan would have little impact on homes, it could drastically increase traffic on city streets. Vehicles would no longer be able to access the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges from the highway.

The third tunnel option is similar to the second. It would also begin and end roughly in the same locations, not require taking private land and force traffic on to city streets to access both East River bridges.

However, part of it calls for running directly under the Brooklyn Heights piers being used to build the 85-acre Brooklyn Bridge Park, potentially causing problems for that project.


With bridge access and limiting displacement priorities, the first option shown in this post's leading graphic would retain the existing iconic cantilver BQE and its approaches, restriped with fewer yet wider lanes while continuing to serve the more local traffic such as that destined for the bridges, and relieved with the new tunnel.

Not only does this improve things by seperating the more local and longer distance traffic, the tunnel can be built while the existing BQE segment remains in service, minimizing construction disruptions.

The re-striping of the existing BQE cantilever segment to two lanes per direction, with the new tunnel segment with two lanes per direction, (with each having one full shoulder), results in increasing the BQE from three to four lanes in each direction.

Friday, May 21, 2010

An alternative to petro mercantilism

Here's a far more useful alternative to the jesuitical guilting over driving, and feel goodism of canceling freeways in order to divert traffic to less affluent areas as prevalent in Washington, D.C. and New York City;

I say, fight petro mercantilism- require ALL new automobiles be flex fuel

From George Washington's Blog:

As Robert Redford writes this week:

Thursday, May 20, 2010, marks one month since BP's oil rig exploded in the Gulf Coast ....

This is the clearest picture we could have of our failed national energy policy -- which extends over many decades and administrations.

And if Alan Greenspan, John McCain, George W. Bush, Sarah Palin and others are right, the costs of that failed energy policy might be even higher.

Many still believe that alternative energy is an expensive, unrealistic pipe dream.

But that is no longer true.

As I have previously pointed out:

One of the world's leading experts on trend forecasting says that producing our own energy for our homes and cars (called "micro generation") will become a huge trend in the next couple of decades.

What's he talking about?

Well, energy and food prices will keep going up. Every dollar we don't have to pay to the energy utility or food producers is a dollar we get to keep. And the technology for producing it ourselves is getting better and better.

So increasingly over the next couple of decades, we will generate our own energy and food.


Due to high oil prices, major breakthroughs in energy production are happening every day.

For example:
  • And new approaches to solar energy [see below] are making residential solar very cost-competitive
  • It has been discovered that alcohol made from donuts, grass and other abundant materials can run cars and all other engines [see below]
With recent breakthroughs, individuals can now generate enough energy to get off the grid and power their own homes. Indeed, some companies will even provide the equipment for you (and see this).

Indeed, an new government study shows that North Sea wind and wave power could make Britain the "Saudi Arabia of renewable energy". For more on microgeneration and solar energy breakthroughs, see this, this, this and this.

Moreover, Japan and other countries are funding large-scale projects to place solar collectors in orbit, and then send clean energy to Earth.

And as I've written before, alcohol has more alternative energy applications than you might know:

There's a secret history regarding alcohol that you won't hear on the six o'clock news:

  • Cars and everything else running on internal combustion engines can run on alcohol at least as well as they can run on gasoline. Indeed, engines were built back in 1870 that could run using either alcohol or gasoline
  • A New York Times article from 1908 (and here) enthusiastically states:
"Autoists Discuss Alcohol As Fuel; Great Future Ahead For Use In Commercial Wagons, Says Prof. Lucke. Tests With Motor Truck E.R. Hewitt Tells Engineers Of His Results With Gasoline And Alcohol In Same Engine"
  • Henry Ford said that alcohol was "a cleaner, nicer, better fuel for automobiles than gasoline" (James Brough, The Ford Dynasty: An American Story, p. 118, and cited in "Ford - The Men and the Machine", p. 365). The Model T Ford had a knob right on the dashboard to adjust the fuel-air mixture for either alcohol or gas
  • Alcohol does not corrode or shorten the lifespan of modern cars, and an inexpensive adjustment to regular cars will make them run smoothly and inexpensively on alcohol

Moreover, those in the know actually are using alcohol as a fuel today. For example, there are many millions of cars being driven in Brazil that run on alcohol.

And many government and car fleets are actually required to be able to run on either alcohol or gas. The car companies simply forgot to tell the American consumer that these kind of cars are available. See this and this.

Indeed, as I've previously noted, running equipment using alcohol should not increase food prices:

The leading proponents of alcohol as fuel are not talking about corn. Corn is a lousy crop for making alcohol, and there are many other crops that are much more efficient. Indeed, the leaders in this field promote growing a wide variety of crops (appropriate for whatever specific climate you live in) , and many of the crops they suggest are also valuable food crops.

And you don't even need to use plants . . . you can make alcohol fuel out of rotten fruit, stale soft drinks or donuts.

And see this and this.

And as I pointed out last year:

Heat can be used to generate electricity. This is true not only on the industrial scale, but even on the level of your home faucet. Indeed, inventors have already built home faucet kits which turn the unused heat from your hot water into electricity.

In hot climates, black thermal-electric mats could be installed on roofs to generate electricity.

Heat is a byproduct of other processes, and so nothing special needs to be done to create it. Just about every human activity and many natural processes create heat, so we just have to utilize it.


Another use of a free, wasted byproduct to generate electricity is piezo-electric energy. "Piezo" means pressure. Anything that produces pressure can produce energy.

For example, a train station in Japan installed piezo-electric equipment in the ground, so that the foot traffic of those walking through the train station generates electricity (turnstiles at train, subway and ferry stations, ballparks and amusement parks can also generate electricity).

Similarly, all exercise machines at the gym or at home can be hooked up to produce electricity.

But perhaps the greatest untapped sources of piezo-electric energy are freeways and busy roads. If piezo-electric mats were installed under the busiest sections, the thousands of tons of vehicles passing over each day would generate massive amounts of electricity for the city's use.


Scientists have figured out that solar collection is much more efficient if you focus the sunlight:

And see this.


One day, virtually every surface will be turned into an energy-production medium. Instead of having discreet energy-producing machines, roofs, exterior walls, sidewalks, roads and many other surfaces will be coated with "smart materials" which convert light, heat, pressure and other inputs into useful energy, which are then collected, stored and distributed as needed.

Hundreds or thousands of years in the future, mankind might even learn how to collect the virtual particles which are constantly popping into and out of existence.

Harvesting The Ocean of Energy

Perhaps the biggest evolution needed in people's thinking - in any area of life - is how we think about energy.

The current paradigm is that energy is produced expensively by governments or large corporations through gigantic projects using enormous amounts of money, materials and manpower. Because energy can only be produced by the big boys, we the people must bow our heads to the powers-that-be. We must pay a lot of our hard-earned money to buy electricity from them, and we can't question the methods or results of their energy production.

Our life will become much better when we begin to understand that energy is all around us - as an ocean of electromagnetic forces and as a byproduct of other processes in the form of heat, pressure, etc. - and all we need do is learn how to harvest it.

The Gulf oil spill disaster must not be in vain.

We must use it to finally find the vision and the will to make the switch to alternative energy.

Monday, April 19, 2010

NY TIMES on the X-Bronx
“On the Cross Bronx, Torture, On the Stoop, Entertainment”

Describes the intersection of the Cross Bronx Expressway and the Bronx River Parkway s “the single worst bottleneck in the country.”

They are talking about the intersection that I wrote up here this January; they fail to mention the deficiency of the ramp used by northbound traffic from the short Sheridan Expressway to get to the northbound Bronx River Parkway.

In this article they fail to mention:

The difficulty of widening the X Bronx, particularly its western portion
Its heavy use by truck and automobile traffic - as a relatively scarce east-west highway

Of course they reflect the standardized conception.

“Few roads in America have histories as tortured as the Cross Bronx Expressway. The master builder Robert Moses gouged the highway through crowded neighborhoods, displacing tens of thousands and critics say helping set the stage for the arson and crime that ravaged the borough for a generation.”

No mention that neighborhoods near it thrive while those further away floundered.

“Today, the Cross Bronx Expressway is among the busiest roads in New York City, and its problems are legion. Of the four worst bottlenecks in the United States identified by Inrix, a traffic research company, three of them were on this highway.”

“The Cross Bronx carries 184,000 cars a day, according to the State Department of Transportation, and Mrs. Moore’s intersection is congested 94 hours a week, with cars traveling at an average speed of 11.4 miles per hour, according to Inrix.”

“Log portions of the expressway have no shoulder, so even minor accidents can snarl traffic for miles. The lighting is poor and exit and exit ramps are too short. Most of the road sits inside a trench, leaving commuters to stare at concrete walls, longing for the distraction of scenery. After too long the trench can feel like a crowded coffin.”

“But when you live hard by the Cross Bronx, special compromises must be made. On Fteley Avenue, where Mrs. Moore lives, the children on her block know not to play past the stop sign where merging traffic lurks. But unlikely pleasures can also be won”.

The article goes on to consume much of its space, saying precious little about the Cross Bronx Expressway not the larger system that it’s a part of.

“I go as far out of my way as I possibly can not to have to take the Cross Bronx”, he said. “I avoid it at all costs to the point of adding 20 or 30 miles to a trip I’m taking.”

The article helps display the mindset why the highway is so congested, ending with the line:

“She lit a cigarette, leaned back, and settled in to watch the chaos.”

Ah, just sit back and smoke Virginia Dope rather then think about solutions- something which the New York Times and the elites generally have a morbid fear about considering improving the interstate highway network, particularly where most needed.

Hey New York Times, assorted politicians, officials, etc: how about instead an RX:

Logic dictates taking advantage of opportunities to provide extra capacity along the CBE as well as nearby

The CBX itself is difficult. Ultimately it will need major reconstruction. However, the general lack of space will make that more disruptive to maintaining traffic, let alone idea of widening the right of way given the proximity of its retaining walls, and overpasses/tunnels and apartment buildings. Sure it can gain capacity with a series of smaller projects, reconstructing these walls and eventually its overpasses/tunnels with some extra width, prioritizing full shoulders, extra collector-distributor lanes and ultimately a 4th continuous lane in each direction with the spot removal and replacement of some buildings.

However, apart from these physical feasibility of widening, the corridor can only take so much traffic given the infeasibility of widening the main river crossing it feeds, the 14 lane George Washington Bridge, fed not only by the 6 lane CBE, but also 4 lanes to and from the Harlem River Drive, and 2 apiece from the Deegan and the Henry Hudson Parkway. At best, adding capacity to the Cross Bronx Expressway would best serve local traffic and indirectly longer distance traffic by providing the extra space for the local traffic to stay more out of the way of the latter. So beyond the extra capacity on this road itself, extra ‘capacity’ will be needed elsewhere for diverting away some of this traffic. So beyond identifying the varying feasibilities of improving various segments of the CBE, including the idea of continuous service roads, and improved ramp designs providing improved pedestrian safety, NYSDOT needs to identify such regarding diverting some of the traffic from the CBE, onto alternative routes that are less congested and/or are physically more feasible to add capacity.


Study the network, to see the varying feasibilities of traffic re-routing.

Remember that the Cross Bronx Expressway was designed to work as part of a network with at least 2 other parallel routes: the Mid Town Manhattan Expressway and the Lower Manhattan Expressway, respectively connecting to the Long Island Expressway and the Bushwick Expressway- the latter not built.

Of these, the MidTown Manhattan was the most environmentally feasible, possessing an under street right of way for a set of cross island tunnels.

The other plans, including the earlier version of the Midtown Manhattan would have had high real estate costs, and even the latter versions of the Lower Manhattan Expressway, though designated as tunnel, would have nonetheless required clearing a swath of buildings from historic SoHo.

The un-built Cross Brooklyn Expressway had its existing right of way of the LIRR Bay Ridge line, with the latter plans having it encased in cut and cover tunnel with new development – a linear city – atop. However, it merely ended at the already over capacity Gowanus Expressway to either the Verrazano Narrows Bridge or towards Manhattan via the Battery Tunnels or the Brooklyn Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges- all three leading merely to surface streets. Of these the Battery Tunnel has the best right of way, though would lead to the overcapacity antiquated Holland Tunnel.

Of all of these options the easiest’ (relative term) would be the Cross Brooklyn Expressway linear city tunnel together with a Cross Harbor tunnel to New Jersey with both rail and highway, and most worthy of pursuit, among other reasons as an evacuation route from Long Island., followed by the Mid Town Manhattan Expressway Tunnels, which already has its connecting express highway in New Jersey and Queens. However either would be further off in the future simply for their costs and complexities, physical and political. Of these two, the Cross Harbor-Cross Brooklyn Railway-Highway Tunnel should be the next major project pursued within New York City, in conjunction with that to reconstruct the Gowanus and Brooklyn Queens Expressways.

Map- showing Cross Harbor Cross Brooklyn Tunnel, Cross Sound Tunnel and Tappan Zee Bridge Replacement

Within the broader regional area, this project should happen with the next two major projects within New York State: of constructing the Cross Sound Tunnel to Long Island connecting I-287 in Westchester to Route 135 in Long Island; and of constructing the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement.

Like the Cross Harbor Tunnel, both of these should be multi-model, including highway and rail (or at least the capacity to add a rail line).

Like the Cross Harbor, the Cross Sound would be a valuable evacuation route from Long Island- something that should matter to our government which has instead shown its interest in warrant less domestic surveillance.

Both could ultimately be connected as the south-eastern part of the greater metropolitan New York City area I-287 Beltway, via a new Route 27 Sunrise Highway corridor express highway, perhaps via drilled tunnel, connecting to an upgraded Belt Parkway-Conduit Avenue corridor, providing another set of express routes to JFK international airport.

Amongst the existing highways, extra capacity would be physically easiest along the Cross Westchester I-287 corridor, particularly as its Tappan Zee Bridge has undergoing planning for its replacement.

Because completing gaps in this I-287 metropolitan beltway will attract greater amounts of traffic, the Cross Harbor and especially the Cross Sound Tunnels will require upgrading the existing approach corridors, particularly the I-287 Cross Westchester Expressway and its overlap with I-87 that includes the Tappan Zee Bridge.

As the 1st main parallel route to the I-95 Cross Bronx Expressway, the I-287 Cross Westchester Expressway provides a far more feasible source of new capacity for diverting some of the traffic from the former, particularly with its Tappan Zee Bridge’s replacement not yet fixed, making additional capacity there even more feasible. With the difficulties of establishing a new east west route to the south –the best would be via a set of land tunnels connecting each end of the Cross County Parkway respectively to I-95 and a new bridge from Yonkers to Alpine New Jersey – providing extra capacity along the I-287 Cross Westchester/I-87 Tappan Zee corridor would provide the best bang per buck for providing extra capacity in the area.

To accommodate both the new Cross Sound Tunnel and to divert some of the traffic from the Cross Bronx Expressway, the Connecticut I-95/Cross Westchester I-287 corridor should be expanded, across a new wider Tappan Zee Bridge. In Connecticut, I-95 from New Haven to the I-287 connection just inside of New York, should have at least one additional through lane in each direction – widening it from 6 to 8 lanes -- which the existing right of way could accommodate, whether as a single project or over a series of projects, such as those for replacing the existing overpasses. So should the Cross Westchester Expressway, which since the 1990s, primarily in White Plains and further west has been reconstructed with extra capacity or at least the space for such, as should be done with its entire length. Fortunately, an upcoming project in the White Plains area near Westchester Avenues and Route 22 will add a short collector-distributor roadway at least for the eastbound side. Ideally this should be extended, with a segment to the west beneath a new freeway lid/cap, for some mitigation of the wider more heavily traveled highway, and an all new interchange with I-87 appears to provide the space for one additional lane in each direction.

Because the I-95/I-287 interchanges is so close to the Long Island Sound, the Cross Sound Tunnel’s connections to I-287 must extend further west, and due to the issue of maintaining I-287 traffic as the tunnel is constructed, its approaches will almost certainly flank the existing I-287, emerging in the area between Route 1 and Westchester Avenue displacing some dwellings built after the freeway’s initial construction, and eventually merging with I-287. Because of the relatively short distance between this area and the ramps leading to the interchange with the Hutchinson River Parkway and subsequently I-684, it’s highly plausible these outboard lanes will extend at least this far, with improved ramp connections to I-684 for encouraging traffic to divert (given that I-684 is even easier to widen then I-287, and should be widened with an additional lane in each direction incrementally via projects replacing its various overpasses as they come due for replacement).

Because of its multiplicity of uses, the entire I-287 Cross Westchester Expressway corridor should have a minimum of 4 lanes per direction, plus generous collector distributor lanes, particularly between I-95 and I-684 for the proposed I-287 to Long Island Route 135 Cross Sound Tunnel, as well as the I-87/I-287 overlap, not only for diverting traffic from the north away from the I-95 Cross Bronx Expressway, but for that from the south away from that road and instead straight up the relatively under-utilized I-87 corridor. The new Tappan Zee Bridge[s] should have at least 6 vehicular lanes in each direction (rather than the current 7 total), and include the proposed heavy rail from Suffern, though extended at least to White Plains with the corridor’s design allowing extending the rail to the New Haven line and ultimately through the future Cross Sound Tunnel. To mitigate the widened highway approaches, construct new urban decks atop segments in Tarrytown and Nyack, plus at least one segment in White Plains. This set of movements along I-287 will provide an alternative for traffic from Connecticut I-95 to avoid New York I-95, and with the Cross Sound Tunnel, improved I-287, an alternative from the I-495 Long Island Expressway, and the Throgs Neck , Whitestone Triborough [RFK] and George Washington Bridges. The new wider Tappan Zee Bridge will be undeniably crucial in providing as an enhanced alternative to the far more difficult to widen George Washington Bridge. Obviously it is way more practical to begin to improve our outer metropolitan area bypass than the Cross Bronx-Trans Manhattan-George Washington Bridge corridor, and it is safer for everyone when truck drivers have adequate areas established for rest. Nonetheless, the current plan for the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement fails to go beyond adding a single lane plus a rail line extending to Suffern but failing to extend to White Plain- ignoring the future potential of the I-287 Cross Westchester office park corridor, and truck stops are rare, despite the need for expanding such facilities on I-87 in Yonkers, and I-684 to the north of Mount Kisco. It is apparent, from such things as this latest New York Times article, that highway planning is one of those things very far away from the thinking of our inner city elites.

In a nutshell, the most feasible needs as alternatives to the cross Bronx Expressway

NYC to the south:

- Cross Harbor-Cross Brooklyn Tunnel with railway and highway
- Mid Town Manhattan Tunnels connecting New Jersey 495 with Queens-Long Island I-495, with design accommodating two pairs of cross-town tunnels with 3rd Midtown Tube and 4th Lincoln Tunnel tube

NYC to the north:

- Continue the 4th northbound lane of I-95 past its current end at the Pelham Bay Parkway to past its 1st crossing of the Hutchinson River Parkway to Co-Op City, and add the room for added capacity to I-95 through NY incrementally as bridges etc are replaced over time, allowing at least 4 lanes per direction.

NYC to the East:

- Construct an additional lane along the Clearview Expressway-Grand Central Parkway interchange to and through the latter’s interchange with the southbound Cross Island Parkway, which should be incrementally widened to the south, furthering the utility of this route as an alternative way to JFK international airport.

NYC Greater Metro Area to the North:

- Connecticut I-95, Westchester I-287 additional capacity with at least one additional lane in each direction, plus spot improvements via collector-distributor roadways.

- Cross Sound Tunnel, with improved I-287 connections to Hutchinson River Parkway and I-684, with the latter incrementally widened with an additional lane in each direction.

- Tappan Zee Bridge replacement with at least 6 lanes in each direction up from the current 7 total, possibly with separate local and express lanes. It’s the only vehicular crossing between the George Washington Bridge and the Bear Mountain and I-84 Bridges, so it definitely makes sense to give it more capacity, including the addition of the new railway.

- Further north, construct a new expressway continuing from I-87/ I-287 through Elmsford’s industrial flats and then via an improved Route 100/9A corridor to the existing expressway along the Hudson River north of Ossining.

- And even further north, preserve the New Haven Connecticut Route 34 Freeway corridor, with air rights development atop an extended below ground freeway, incrementally first to surface upon the existing frontage roads, with $1 paid apiece for the irresponsibly placed buildings, and ultimately via bridge or tunnel beneath the WW1 memorial to an extension ultimately to NY Route 17/I-86

- NYC Locally:

- Deegan Project- to improve with additional capacity and a radical redesign particularly at its southernmost areas for improved pedestrian accessibility to the waterfront. Traffic from the George Washington Bridge would have an improved connection to the Hunts Point industrial area and the Triborough, while northbound traffic from such places would have the I-87/I-287 Tappan Zee combo as an increasingly viable alternative.

Where To Start: The upcoming project for reconstructing the High Bridge I-95/I-87 interchange.

Expand it to include:

- Re-opening the 178th and 179th Street Tunnels alongside the I-95 Trans Manhattan Expressway for non-George Washington Bridge bound traffic.

- Widening the northbound I-87/Highbridge interchange merge to facilitate transferring some of the potential I-95 CBE bound traffic to the northbound I-87 Deegan cantilevering the existing service road overhead, and ultimately adding capacity to Westchester via a new southbound roadway to the west, and the two existing carriageways used for northbound traffic, re-striped with the righthand most lane as a merge rather then strictly continuous lane.

- Widening the Deegan southward from the High Bridge interchange to 4+ lanes per direction with generous ramp lineage, with Fort Washington Way scale project for depressing and ultimately covering along the Cromwell Avenue corridor past a new under-crossing past 238th Street, facilitating a more human and holistic approach to this south of Yankee Stadium/Mott Haven area recently rezoned, also covering the depressed segment at Willis Avenue, as well as reconstructing the ramps and service roads with greater use of short tunnel underpasses for providing greater pedestrian safety.

Instead, our political ‘leadership’, while at best proceeding with peace-meal planning, is allowing itself to become beholden to a theology so against any additional highway capacity – even ramps and choke-points – seemingly requiring creating new choke-points as some sort of symbolically distracting ‘moral’ crusade’ against driving.

LINK- Jerry Brown A Beholden Doctrine

The most egregious example is that in New Haven Connecticut with the substitution of Yale University’s skybridges for the underground Route 34 freeway, now blocked by the irresponsible placement of a trio of buildings, with the first constructed being a Pfizer research facility, followed by a new cancer hospital directly butted up to block the right of way.. Unfortunately the lure of this pseudo moral crusade is sufficiently strong to lure even the Regional Plan Association

Short of that, the worst example is allowing the Deegan to be chocked by new real estate development projects…

This has already happened in the north Bronx with the erection of a building substantively closer to the Deegan, within the underused right of way to its immediate west.

The Deegan is often dangerously congested in the area of the interchange with 238th Street.

This segment was built over 60 years ago. It lacks shoulders. The southbound ramp is particularly problematic, largely because much of its traffic is straight through (does not turn onto 238th Street) yet has to stop for the traffic light at the surface intersection with 238th Street. The elevated segment to the north overshadows Cromwell Avenue while that to the south is a solid wall flanked by heavily used service roads to and from the Wills Avenue Bridge[s]. That area deserves something better.

Current Moot Haven Community Board votes to increase pollution risk maintain Deegan in its existing divisive configuration.

NYSDOT take the results of a sole public hearing announced only 3 days previously and the pronouncements of Streetsblog and the Tri State [anti] Transportation Campaign about the unanimity of opinion there expressed by a number of people in attendance not reported. Of course there was no notice to those using the facility- say via NYSDOT being required to purchase the existing billboard space to let motorists know of this one opportunity to express their opinions. NYSDOT presents the sole idea of widening the existing highway configuration – IOW widen its viaduct and add a wider ramp to replace a narrower one for southbound off ramp traffic from I-87 to the 238th Street intersection.

This is a total travesty of the concept of ‘democracy’.

The total lack of reporting other then by a cluster of seemingly centrally directed internet present organizations (notably Streetsblog and TSTC) is highly suspect) with their spin of a decision to place some 10,000 new residences next to what they consider a health hazard, without consideration of the added truck traffic through the antiquated ramps, all as the will of the community. A charade that places the public interest beneath the whims of the political pyramid that appears to be strong enough to have stifled debate.

LINK- Chock the Deegan

LINK- My conversation with a developer shill

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Route 34 Giveaway Continues

New Haven elitist driven Mayor continuing his mission to subvert transportation so a few developers -- such as big pharm Pfizer which took the right of way for a $1 sweetheart land deal -- don't have to pay for the beams for their buildings to span rather then fill New Haven's below ground level Route 34 freeway

According to an article in the New Haven Independent:

The developer is Carter Winstanley.

The name of the project is 100 College Street.

It will close the segment of the route 34 freeway with its exits 2 and 3.

The Mayor intends to take this to the New Haven alderman for their approval sometime in 2010, with ramp demolition starting in late 2010 or early 2011.

This has already received $5 million in Federal funds, plus State of Connecticut approval, and is awaiting a decision upon a request for $40 million in stimulus funds.

Public response to this, from the comments section to this article, appears to be growing more negative then that to such right of way blockage projects to te west of the Air Rights Garage, given its application to an existing segment of highway.

posted by: Our Town on February 2, 2010 9:29am

To all of you who may think this is a good idea (removing Rt. 34), good luck to you getting around in New Haven in the future. This “re-knit the city” jargon is crap. Johnny is blindly pushing ahead without a care about how it will work. Even with the highway in place and without the development, there is gridlock in this area daily. Now we’re building more in this tight corridor adding thousands of trips, and we’re going to reduce capacity to serve it. Gateway College alone will overwhelm the street system. There is no transit component to this. There will be MORE cars on WIDER streets around the hospital. I just hope some of the “traffic calming” groups see through this and realize that conditions around the hospital will get worse, not better. Build over the highway. DO NOT REMOVE IT. You will regret this if it is built as planned.

posted by: Pioneer on February 2, 2010 11:08am

It is not wise at all, as Our Town said to remove Rt. 34. This isn’t so much of a highway to nowhere as everyone thinks. It connects downtown and the highway to Westville, Edgewood, Whalley, yadyyadyaya. It is always crowded, it cannot be removed. This road must stay, somehow. So while we are tearing up the highway and we’ve got a big hole, lets fill it! Lets put a tunnel going from where Rt. 34 will leave off, going to the other end, towards the other end where it will leave off.

posted by: Scot on February 2, 2010 12:43pm

I love the idea of reconnecting those parts of the city and having a nice-looking, pedestrian friendly way for people to walk around. Also love the idea of building some new office space and residential to increase tax revenue and make it more vibrant. First and foremost I want the city to be walkable and safe. That said, I’m also realistic and realize many people commute, and we need to accommodate cars, bikes, and buses too. The idea of building over the corridor, and creating a tunnel sounds logical, as long as it could be done attractively. You could build almost anything you want over the tunnel -walkways, a park, condos, offices, etc. People needing to drive from across town to the interstate can zip through without endangering any pedestrians. A tunnel would actually remove a lot of cars from the walkable parts, rather than just slowing them down. Does anyone know if the city is looking into that? Of course if they have other plans that could truly accommodate the traffic without a tunnel, even better. But definitely dont want more gridlock, which creates more smog, etc.

posted by: westviller on February 2, 2010 5:25pm

While I appreciate the Utopian sentiments of those who want to do away with rt. 34, we cannot simply ignore the prospect for gridlock that these plans create. The potential for even more impediments to access to YNHH is not just a philosophical matter about privileging automobiles or bikers/pedestrians. It is a public safety issue. Any plan to redesign this corridor must absolutely assure that emergency access to the hospital is not impeded. I have not seen a word in any of these discussions about this public health issue. Apparently, it is okay for patients to die in ambulances stuck in traffic, as long as we have nice bike lanes and the cars all move slowly, if at all.

posted by: Chris O on February 2, 2010 9:22pm

Boston downtown (I93?) works fantastically well in the tunnels exiting onto pedestrian oriented streets with ground level retail. Keep 34, fill the side, build over it and give us a tunnel. Tunnels, bridges and cities go together. We need higher density in the city and this is the right place. Over the next century the city will probably grow in two directions from downtown; South to the Harbor( Longwarf) and North of YNHH along 34 to and along the Boulevard. We need to build a smart network of roads to handle traffic volume and easy and expensive parking.

posted by: Joe H on February 2, 2010 9:47pm

What is it? New Haven doesn’t have enough vacant land, so it’s forced to incur expensive projects and build over an existing highway?????
What about the former site of the Colosseum?

I think it’s a major mistake messing with the current Route 34. It will tighten a major artery into the city and limit options in the future. The city should have continued the highway under the air rights garage and under the Pizer building. It would have alleviated some of the traffic congestion. But it’s too late for that now. Don’t make another mistake. Bridge to the Hill neighborhood? Big woop-de-doo?!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Northbound Sheridan Pinch

Groups as Tri State Transportation Campaign and Streetsblog are fond of calling for the removal of New York City's Sheridan Expressway, largely upon the grounds that it is underutilized.

But what do they say about the reason why such traffic, particularly that going northbound, is so sparse- namely the ramp that once must use to continue northbound past the Sheridan’s northern end via 177th Street, in order to get to the northbound Bronx River Parkway?

Particularly wicked is the substandard width of the lanes where that from the roadway from 177th Street used by traffic from the northbound Sheridan joins the eastbound service road- aka the northbound Sheridan ‘pinch’.

Illustration: the pinch

The bridge that carries this eastbound (regionally northbound) I-95 Cross Bronx Expressway service road, has a mate to the north that carries the other direction with 3 lanes of traffic, while the eastbound one has 4 lanes. As both bridges appear to be about the same width, the eastbound direction gets its 4th lane not via extra pavement but rather with lanes that are narrower. Although I have not gotten out a measuring stick, if for instance the roadways are 36 feet wide, then the westbound side has 3 lanes that are 12 feet wide apiece, while the eastbound side has 4 lanes that are 9 feet wide apiece- assuming they are all the same width.

The eastbound service road bridge which cross over the Bronx River Parkway was apparently not designed to accommodate the full array of traffic flow movements that it accommodates (barely) today, consisting of, from the perspective of the photo directly above from left to right:

- Ramp from 177th Street
- I-95 CBE exit ramp to eastbound service road
- Ramp from southbound BRP to eastbound service road- local road

For whatever reason , whether the addition of one of the ramps, or perhaps an upgrading of the ramp from 177th Street and/or that from I-95 to be freeflowing to help prevent backups onto I-95, as well as to accommodate the traffic from the northbound Sheridan Expressway which ends at 177th Street with the cancellation of its planned extension to Co-Op City with NYC Mayor Lindsey’s across the board cancellation of all of the area’s planned yet not yet built highways in 1971.

The sort of attitudes behind such an across the board cancellation, regardless of the relative merits as well as the feasibilities of further design evolution to better serve both regional and local concerns, reflects itself in the accompanying disregard for the consequences of such highway cancellations, aka addressing just where such decisions will place the traffic. This ramp from 177th Street onto the eastbound service road to regionally northbound I-95, is an excellent example of this disregard, one encompassing a distain for facilitating traffic flow efficiently and safely for vehicles and for pedestrians throughout this CBE-BRP mixing area, with a continuation of merely band aid type method of simply accommodating the eastbound service road’s 4th lane by re-striping, rather then a strategic widening.

Such a widening would involve only perhaps another 12 feet of pavement, which could be designed with a cantilever to minimize reconstruction of the bridge itself, in order to provide 4 lanes each with the standard 12 foot width, for intercepting a lane apiece from this 177th Street ramp, the I-95 Rosedale Avenue ramp, the southbound Bronx River Parkway ramp, and the local road. Such a widening would take no buildings and involve land that appears to be publicly owned.

Nonetheless the authorities have simply added a set a plastic stanchions briefly separating the most serious part of the pinch between the 177th street ramp and the I-95 offramp.

Illustrations: the pinch from the I-95 off ramp service road lane

Illustrations: the pinch from the 177th Street Ramp

Note the signage, that this is a free-flow, without any stop signs or yield signs, but rather of two separate roadways joining into one roadway as two separate continuous lanes.

Also note, not only the substandard lane widths, but how the lanes were recently striped to indicate that the left-most lane, the ramp from 177th street, basically juts into the space that one could likely presume is the space for the immediately adjacent lane. Just imagine the confusion that can result particularly if the lane stripings are worn away.

I was a victim of this in the form of a traffic ticket #AAM2778366, issued to me on August 6, 2009 alleging a right of way violation of NYS 1143

1143: The driver of a vehicle about to enter or cross a roadway from any place other than another roadway shall yield the right of way to all vehicles approaching from the roadway to be entered or crossed.

I was the vehicle from the leftmost lane; the Officer was in the immediately adjacent lane. It was here where we both stopped in my response to his turning on his lights as we were alongside, with him informing me through a his drivers window, my passenger window conversation that I was guilty of failure to yield the right of way, and for me to follow him to the right so he could safely issue me the ticket.

On January 22, 2010 at a hearing scheduled for 8:30 AM, and which was over by 9:12 AM, the Officer would testify that I had a yield sign – wrong – and that there were no plastic stanchions between our roadways – also wrong.

Though he would testify correctly that the road had been subsequently repainted since the incident, he would mischaracterize that as a restriping rather then a repainting. The solid lines now shown appeared sometime in Autumn 2009, and match the previous dashed lane markings that existed on the nite of the incident but, for perhaps a 40 foot length of the road right at these lanes meeting where the paint was worn away. He would also testify that I came into his lane, a belief sustainable by the paint being worn away at the point later shown by the solid white line showing my lane jutting into the space that one would otherwise presume to belong to the adjacent lane.

He would testify that I was on an ally – hmm, an ally passing directly crossing beneath I-95 – before being cross-examined about whether it was in fact upon not an ally but a roadway, and hence answering that yes, that it was a roadway.

The distinction is critical because the former does not require the presence of a stop or a yield sign.

In this instance, there is no stop or yield signs, but instead a single ‘no merge’ sign showing two separate roadways, each with a single lane that each continue past the point of these roadways joining: a sign visible to the lane the officer was in.

I wonder how many people have gotten this sort of ticket at this pinch, and indeed the collision rates there, and have as a result NOT used the northbound Sheridan.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Global Warming and Fast Cars -- A Perfect Match

From Becker's Environmental Law Update:

Global Warming and Fast Cars -- A Perfect Match

There is an under-reported fact that may very well save the world from those who fear global warming. It will do it without government mandates and it will do it following tried and true capitalistic principles. The fact? Electric cars are faster than gas-powered vehicles.

A while back I posted about Lamborghini’s foray into hybrid cars. It seemed odd to me that a gas-guzzling race car would want to “go green” by using an electric engine. Then Ferrari did the same thing. What I didn’t focus on was that these manufacturers were just being true to their sport—they wanted to go faster. The green advantages were just a fortunate by-product.

Now we have Tesla Motors, which has already sold 700 all electric vehicles. A few facts about their cars:

• For $128,000 you get a car that goes 0 to 60 in 3.7 seconds;
• For $101,000 you get a car that goes 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds;
• The federal government has provided Tesla with a loan for $465 million to produce an all electric sedan to sell for $50,000.

These are all sorts of other facts about Tesla that are interesting . . . but none of them matter. Zero to 60 in 3.7 seconds. There are only two gas-powered production vehicles currently being built that can beat it and neither of them have a fixed gear box.

You see, we love speed. That’s why NASCAR is the second most popular spectator sport . Now that there’s a car that can go faster, particularly without putting gas in it, people are going to want it. And if the consumer, the capitalist and the environmentalist all want it, it will be built. This time, no one is going to kill the electric car.

There are a lot of details to work out. How do you store the energy? How far can they go on a charge? How do you get the price down? But the tipping point has been reached. Like the dinosaurs that wondered what that big explosion was, the internal combustion engine for cars is dead — it just doesn’t know it yet.

It’s conceivable that Tesla will go the way of DeLorean, but the concept has now been made feasible. When people start demanding the speed provided by the electric car in the body of a family sedan, Ford, Toyota and Honda will find a way to make it affordable. Most car manufacturers have already made major inroads into electric cars. Expect to see the first big wave of them sold to those “kooks” in California. Then Florida and Washington, D.C. (GM ought to call it the GoreMobile). Finally, Iowa. Once it hits Iowa, you can relegate the internal combustion engine to the Smithsonian.

So in the end, what does it mean for the environment? You already know the answer. Emissions from cars is the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. In the United States alone, auto emissions account for 33% of carbon dioxide emissions as well as 70% of the carbon monoxide, 45% of the nitrogen oxide and 34% of the hydrocarbon emissions. Driving a car is the largest source of pollution for most individuals. With the widespread use of the electric car, this source will be gone. It will be gone whether you are a Democrat or a Republican. It will be gone whether or not you believe in global warming. It will be gone whether or not we have a “Copenhagen protocol." It will be gone because electric cars are faster than regular cars and we love speed.

When the CD replaced the music album, I thought it was a fad. It wasn’t, because CDs are more convenient, smaller and (arguably) produce better music. It took a worldwide change of mindset to change from albums to CDs, but the change was inevitable once the advantages became clear. And so it is with the electric car. It’s fast, so we want it. All that is left is to make it cheap. And there are whole countries that are willing to do that.