Monday, February 28, 2011

Some Highly Needed Freeway Projects: U.S.A.

all new crossings

Cross Sound Tunnel- New York, Westchester County I-287 to Suffox County (Long Island). Proposed as a triple tube (3 lanes each outboard tube; middle tube for emergency access: modified proposal to increase center tube bore for additional lower level railway; added modication to also increase outboard tube bore for 3 lanes atop and 2 below) VITAL potential evacuation route. Although bored rather then cut and cover, it detours unneccessarily to the east of Oyster Bay, yet is apparantly politcally sabataged- aka the scandal of 'Emperors Club' client #9 NYS Gov Spitzer (with scant mention of any other 'emperor' clients!)

Cross Bay/Cross Brooklyn Tunnel- New Jersey I-78 to and through Brooklyn via the LIRR Bay Ridge to Conduit Boulvard- Upgraded Beltway Parkway Corridor. Combines and upgrades the railway only Cross Bay Tunnel with the cancelled Linear City concept. VITAL potential evacuation route

St Louis I-70 Bridge- vital though hardly requires eliminating grade seperation near Arch. St Louis needs to extend the depressed current I-70 alongside the stadium --requiring it to duck beneath the --- RR, which is why its now elevated

Urban Road Tunnels

Atlanta East Tunnel

Chicago Crosstown- not being proposed as a tunnel, but why not?

San Francisco 19th Street Corridor Tunnel

San Francisco Central Freeway-Octavia Boulevard Bypass Tunnel

San Francisco Embaradero Tunnel

Washington, D.C. Grand Arc-Eastern Star Tunnel- PEPCO I-95 & Downtown Tunnel Loop

Washington, D.C. Wisconsin Avenue Tunnel- Canal Road Duelization- yes let us not forget west of Rock Creek Park

Urban Freeway Reconstructions

New York City:

I-87 Deegan Expressway- expand to 8 lanes minimum (6 lanes as it crosses beneath I-95), each 12 feet wide, with the idea of relieving the I-95 Cross Bronx Expressway by encourging some shift to the Deegan, including for trucks to Hunts Point and Queens, as well as to the north, with expansion via the parallel abandoned railroad and strip of industrial land, with an expansion of the decking to entirely cover, with some additional capacity overall. Project would include a new waterfront cut and cover tunnel perhaps built incrimentally ala Cincinatti Fort Washington Way in the vicinity of Cromwell Avenue, with a new underground southbound ramp crossing beneath 238th Street (eliminating a major traffic backup), as well as a depressing and covering the parkland segment just before the Bronx-Westchester County line, meeting the existing 6 lane I-87, with the 4th lanes connecting to the service roads. Should be a part of the NYDOT project to reconstruct the Highbridge Interchange/Hamilton Bridge, extended to include a reopening of the 178th and 179th Street Tunnels for relieving the I-95 Trans Manhattan Expressway as passages for Manhattan west side bound traffic.

I-87's Plausible Continuation

Improve the Triborough ('RFK) Bridge Queens approach to interstate specifications with 12 foot lanes, 4 in each direction, with new retaining walls mimicking the 1930s design of the originals, in tandem with the other projects for so improving the entire I-278 Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, including a new 10 lane K Bridge, and new tunnels to augment capacity, such as this, and this, down to the Gowanus Expressway segment, crossing the new Cross Bay/ Cross Brooklyn Tunnel, and connecting with the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

I-678 Lower Van Wyck Expressway - southward from the Kew Gardens Interchange: expand to 8-10 lanes, with portions decked. Eliminate Robert Moses apsostsy from basic math via his planning for fewer numbers of lanes from more.

Rural Freeways

New Jersey I-95 to the southwestern I-287 for long distance traffic to go through rural wealthier area to more efficently bypass I-95 through Manhattan and the Bronx, serving to relieve the heavily used Cross Bronx Expressway (where are the environmental justice types at Jesuit Fordham University New Urbanist movement on this?)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

What is wrong with the Pentagon?

Highways and Railways are vitally important as lifelines of commerce and movement, with the U.S. Interstate Highway Act of 1956 establishing the network for purposes of DEFENSE

So what gives with the Pentagon's utter indifference for the nation's transportation corridors, and disregard of the principle of evacuation routes, undermined by the political dynamics of political scandal as distraction

Following September 11, 2001, lip service was given to the idea of improving evacuation route capacity, yet whatever happened even with the overly modest idea of a railway only tunnel connecting Brooklyn with New Jersey, let alone the more reaching, and ultimately multi-model Cross Sound Tunnel connecting Long Island Rt 135with Westchester's I-287 with supplementary rail?

Whatever happened to the post 911 idea of additional likely to be targeted areas evacuation route capacity?

Beholden to a Beholden Doctrine

Homeland Security Would Be Better Served By Reviving D.C. I-270 & I-95 Northern Radial Super Arterials

Was NY Gov Spitzer Felled for Supporting Cross Sound Tunnel?

February 24, 2011 Discussion at Greater, Greater Washington

The Story of the blog "Commuter Outrage"

Monday, February 21, 2011

Michelle Malkin- 'White is Black, Black is White' Inside the Beltway Conditioning to Blame Unions, Disregard Social-Economic Benifits

President Obama calls his latest attempt to revive the economy a “Plan to Renew and Expand America’s Roads, Railways and Runways.” I’m calling it “The Mother of all Big Dig Boondoggles.” Like the infamous “Big Dig” highway spending project in Boston, this latest White House infrastructure spending binge guarantees only two results: Taxpayers lose; unions win.

As if the bidding process for the constrution contracts were a topic unworthy of mention, as she places the blame on 'unions' while defining broad civic benifit as unworthy of mention. M Malkin is a useful tool for the powers that be to have us expect less from our government, beyond more wars and more corruption.

Far worthier things written about Boston's CA/T Project are found on the internet, such as this:

I hate to bust a lot of bubbles in this foam about Charlie Baker and the Big Dig, but I was chronicling the Big Dig for a WGBH documentary series and then Directed a CPB Internet experiment in video narrow casting about it from 1990-1997.

My recollection goes like this-on camera everyone (Democrats and Republicans) said one thing regarding the cost and on occasion when the camera was still on and they didn't know it, they might say a few other things regarding the cost. And the estimates climbed every year. Basically it was a love fest and they were all giddy over 80%-92% federal money for each part of the work, the Democrats who were feeding the unions and the Republicans who were stuffing their fat cat contractor buddies and the owners of the utilities and communications companies.

Anyone who has driven anywhere outside of Massachusetts and anyone who ever sat in lines on the Tobin Bridge or coming from the south or west to Logan knows exactly why they were giddy-everyone else in the USA had gotten their share of federal highway dollars over the years and Massachusetts was finally getting in on the federal bucks. Meantime the Republicans were using the Dig to lay groundwork to break up the Turnpike patronage haven and the Democrats were getting political mileage for every cost overrun by Bechtel.

Clearly I have a bias from living on the North Shore. I think only two mistakes in addition to the shoddy work approvals that cost at least one life were made:

1. The whole Big Dig probably would have cost a lot less if we had shut down portions of Boston for 3 to 6 months and excavated the tunnels under the city, relocating utilities as needed. Of course that would have really POed the businesses, the residents, the contractors, the skilled building unions, the police detail unions and would not have stuffed any political pockets, so stupid me for even mentioning it.

2. Charlie Baker and Jim Kerasiotes should have submitted the required documentation to the Feds to put tolls on 93 north of the city and 93 south of the city as required by the feds before final project finance approval. Then, like New York, every major artery would have a toll into the city and the Commonwealth's portion of the Big Dig would have been paid for by people using the new highway system daily. Instead, money to cover the state's portion of the expenses has been sucked from every from bridge and pothole while the people south of Boston still turn their noses up at the commuter rail. If every commuter into Boston (93 N, 93S, Turnpike extension East and maybe even Storrow Drive east was paying $3.50 a day like we do on the Tobin Bridge or in the Ted Williams Tunnel, the Dig would have been paid off without burdening anyone's grandchildren.

So, Charlie Baker made some BIG Big Dig mistakes and he had lots of company, very strange bedfellows and was typically Republican in the process-taking care of the Fat Cat contractors and not caring if the ceiling falls on Marie's h
- Dale Orlando

As well as this:
...could the Big Dig have cost less?

Like any historical counterfactual, a definitive answer is impossible. However, much could be revealed through a detailed case study. What delays were avoidable? What complications did the engineers overlook? Is there any evidence cost estimates were deliberately manipulated? Should the partnership between the Turnpike Authority and Bechtel/Parsons Brinkerhoff been differently designed to improve accountability? Could the project’s 144 separate construction contracts have been written differently? Were Federal highway standards or environmental laws responsible for excessive costs? In short, could changes to the underlying public policy structure have resulted in different costs and construction time? To my knowledge, these questions have not been deeply examined by scholars. If any readers are aware of studies, please post them below.

The result may not be nefarious scheming by greedy contractors. In fact, scholar Bent Flyvbjerg has argued major causes of cost overruns are systematic under-estimation of costs due to political pressure, and a failure to properly account for the inevitable risks that occur as a result of the complexity of megaprojects.

Far from a matter of historical interest, the high cost of transportation infrastructure is a pressing policy issue in a state currently spending $3 billion re-build bridges and planning an extension of the city’s Green Line, among other proposed projects. The high cost of transportation projects was raised recently on an email list operated by the Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership, in a thread grousing about the $600,000 price for a bike cage and high cost estimates for the Green Line extension. The issue provoked a rare response from the Commonwealth’s Secretary of Transportation Jeffrey Mullan himself, who denied the costs were inflated or the bidding process is faulty. Although the message concedes “things cost a lot; unacceptably so sometimes,” the post omits any speculation as to why.

Perhaps one day the question will be subject to the scrutiny it deserves
.- Rob Goodspeed


Indeed, I'll say, what about the fraternal order connections & featherbeading?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Anti Automobile Elitism Followed Anti Rail Elitism


It's no coincidence that as soon as the automobile became affordable to the masses and ceased being a luxury good for the wealthy, the anti-car crowd swung into high gear. To them, the car is a symptom of an entire lifestyle they find objectionable: that is, mobility and choice for all. And, not surprisingly, the people they criticize tend to be people they have little in common with, who have no chance of becoming part of their social circles. One only has to conjure the names of environmental activists in Hollywood, such as Cameron Diaz or Laurie David--the wife of comedian and Seinfeld creator Larry David--to prove this point. To illustrate the snobbery of
anti-car elitists, car enthusiasts like to quote the Duke of Wellington, who at the advent of the railroad proclaimed the new technology would "only encourage the common people to move about needlessly."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Anti Car is Anti Transportation

Anyone writing that they are against "Cars" is against transportation for just about everything, and a hallmark of the sort of brain dead group reaction where sloganeering substitutes for rational independent thought.


car (kär)
1. An automobile.
2. A vehicle, such as a streetcar, that runs on rails: a railroad car.
3. A boxlike enclosure for passengers and freight on a conveyance: an elevator car.
4. The part of a balloon or airship that carries people and cargo.
5. Archaic A chariot, carriage, or cart.


[Middle English carre, cart, from Old North French, from Latin carra, pl. of carrus, carrum, a Gallic type of wagon; see kers- in Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

car [kɑː]
1. (Engineering / Automotive Engineering)
a. Also called motorcar automobile a self-propelled road vehicle designed to carry passengers, esp one with four wheels that is powered by an internal-combustion engine
b. (as modifier) car coat
2. a conveyance for passengers, freight, etc., such as a cable car or the carrier of an airship or balloon
3. (Transport / Railways) Brit a railway vehicle for passengers only, such as a sleeping car or buffet car
4. (Transport / Railways) Chiefly US and Canadian a railway carriage or van
5. Chiefly US the enclosed platform of a lift
6. a poetic word for chariot
[from Anglo-French carre, ultimately related to Latin carra, carrum two-wheeled wagon, probably of Celtic origin; compare Old Irish carr]


Friday, February 4, 2011

Inadequate Barriars

Video from Canada underscores the inadequacy of freeway center median dividers for heavy trucks