Thursday, December 12, 2013

For A Cast Iron Friendly Lower Manhattan Expressway

A proper - Cast Iron' friendly Lower Manhattan Expressway (LME)

All of the past proposals for a Lower Manhattan [Vehicular] Expressway have objections making them politically unpopular.




Above is the version from the early 1960s.  2 of 3 of its 'legs' - respectively its approaches to the Holland Tunnel and the Manhattan Bridge are elevated.  However, much of the approach to the Williamsburg Bridge is open depressed, only in need of a roof to become tunnels. Of this, a short -- 80 foot long and wide segment beneath the Chrystie avenue rail transit subway station was actually built in 1962.  It was done as part of the project constructing the rail transit station directly atop.

Early versions had all 3 'legs' including that to the Williamsburg as elevated.

Earlier Version with Elevated Approaches including to Williamsburg Bridge

Different versions of the LME's Holland Tunnel approach featured an elevated design within a line of new buildings.


This LME would have displaced the buildings along the northern side of Broome Street.

Later 1960s versions meanwhile did go to a nearly entirely underground configuration, though as a cut and cover tunnel that would still have displaced the row of buildings along the north side of Broome Street.   By July 1969, New York Mayor Lindsey would declare the LME and the entire list of other planned yet to be built vehicular expressways "dead for all time".  That would be despite his promotion of underground design solutions for such proposed links as the LME and the Cross Brooklyn Expressway

Still there would be a successive effort to promote the LME after 1969.

However its final' versions, at least of those solicited by serious money as the Ford Foundation, was something arguably designed to further de-popularize the LME: the Paul Rudolph design.  That is the design with its 'blade-runner' extreme accompanying building architecture meant to distract from the short-comings of this particular highway design, with vast open -- yes, uncovered -- trenches with space wasting sloped walls rather than say an extra lane per direction, by overwhelming us so that we hopefully forget that this version, like every verion AFAIAA ever proposed, all would have torn a swath through historic SoHo by displacing all those buildings along the north side of Broome Street.

Click on the Thumbs to View a Different Image

Though much of the opposition to the Expressway was its displacement of the highly desirable Cast Iron buildings, not even the Ford Foundation funded design exercises achieved sparing such buildings.

Western Portion LME - Paul Rudolph design

Yet there were also contemporaneous covered with new yet not radical  building versions.  One such proposal exists of an isometric framed watercolor illustration showing the eastern tunnel portal of an underground LME at about Essex Street, with a cut and cover demolish and replace the buildings atop.  Such is much like what we see along and near the Houstan Street area that were demolished and replaced with new buildings, except of course with the greater setback from the street.

 Cut and Cover LME Williamsburg Bridge Approach

That version shows it connecting with elevated segments.  None of the buildings that would be displaced by this Williamsburg Bridge approach 'leg' are 'Cast Iron', even though along the north side of Broome Street, even a block or so west of the 80x80 foot segment of the freeway constructed in 1962 beneath the subway station beneath Chrystie Street.  However this design still had the other LME segments as elevated designs, with the approach to the Holland Tunnel also with new buildings atop, but alas displacing the historic cast Iron buildings along the north side of Broome Street.

So to a take the LME design process further in accomplish that, pair this eastern cut and cover segment with a western segment as a 2 level tunnel directly beneath Broome Street and its sidewalks, from about the Bowery to West Broadway and then turning beneath Watts Street, with the connections to an expanded Holland Tunnel with added outboard tubes.

In lieu of the elevated segment to the Manhattan Bridge, it may be preferable to instead construct a secondary tunneled LME segment beneath Canal Street, perhaps with a new tunnel continuing beneath the East River.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Disconnect With Logic- 4Ever Constrained to 1927 & 1957

Manhattan's Holland & Lincoln Tunnels

That was the year that Charles Lindberg first flew non-stop trans Atlantic. And the year of the completion and the opening of the twin tube Holland Tunnel.

The Holland Tunnel is Manhattan's sole vehicular tunnel directly to New Jersey south of the Lincoln Tunnel.

It was opened with a single twin tube, each with 2 lanes, meaning 4 lanes total.

The Lincoln Tunnel is Manhattan's sole vehicular crossing of the Hudson River between the Holland Tunnel to the south and the George Washington Bridge to the north.

It was open in successive stages with a design ultimately accommodating 4 tubes each with 2 full 12 foot wide lanes, with the first tube in 1937, and the 2nd by 1945, and the 3rd completed by 1957, together with a short mini freeway approach in Manhattan to West 30th Street.

What can be the perpetual reason-excuse for an utter lack of planning for any such further capacity additions?  This can be said about vehicular traffic into and through Manhattan, and about rail freight across the Hudson river any closer than Sedkirk, N.Y. next to I-90, some 140 miles or so to the north.

The existing delays and demand would merit expanding both to at least 8 lanes, with the construction of the 4th tube of the Lincoln Tunnel, and a multi stage project adding a multiple set of under-river least a set of additional tubes in each direction for the Holland Tunnel, and perhaps a parallel set somewhat to the north connecting to say Houstan and or 14th Streets.

The authorities collect a standard toll from these existing crossings into Manhattan at $13.50, with a mere 5% going towards their maintenance, being siphoned away.   Social and environmental concerns point towards such a sensible agenda of Cross-Hudson road capacity additions, along with a re-assessment of the failure to plan for the undeniable 'desire' lines between these tunnels and their comparable East River crossings, regarding the logical cross town land tunnels.

Planning authorities need to address the need for such  sort of tunneled land approaches- aka a Cast Iron District friendly Canal Road Delancy Street Vehicular Tunnel ultimately connecting to the Williamsburg Bridge, plus a set under such streets as 29th and 30th Streets to connect with a Midtown tunnel with at least a 3rd tube bringing it up to 6 lanes total.

Strange is not it that we heard mere lip service by the planning authorities to improve evacuation capacity.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Center Loader vs Side Loader Urban Freeway Access Ramps

Critical to a tamed street environment conducive to this air rights development, are center loader access ramps for the freeway- IOW the ramps to or from the freeway have short tunnels to thus not load by the left hand curb but rather from the middle of a frontage-service road.

This center loader design preserves the curbside for lower speed uses, and can be seen in renderings of the proposed Washington, D.C. I-395 redevelopment project just south of Massachusetts Avenue in Washington, D.C.

This design should be a mandatory retrofit for existing urban freeways- at least those built below ground level, as it has been the ramp interface rather than the existence of the mainline freeway itself, that causes the ripple of intimidation for pedestrians and to a degree local vehicular traffic depending upon the design and location of cross-streets.

An example of such as a retro-fit can be found in the recent proposals to construct 'air rights' development atop I-395 (re I-95) in Washington, D.C.

As far as I know, the issue of center rather than side loader freeway access ramps remains unaddressed by transportation planning advocacy organizations, owing to a dogmatic doctrinaire stance against the very concept of urban freeways preventing them from finding let alone appreciating such critically needed design improvements.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Another doctrinaire production against urban freeways ignoring basic design and routing issues

Norquist- "it's hard to design..." "grade separated' highway's don't belong in cities- anymore then multi-level structures- have everything on a single level, like a ranch house.

He's with the organization Congress for New Urbanism, cloaks a more doctrinaire stance against urban freeways initially via discussing such that are elevated- from their web site:

America's twentieth century highway building era included elevated freeways which cut huge swaths across our cities, decimating neighborhoods and reducing quality of life for city residents. This massive concrete infrastructure had devastating effects on urban economies. It blighted adjacent property and pushed access to basic amenities further out. With the Federal and State Departments of Transportation confronting shrinking budgets and cities looking for ways to increase their revenues, it is an ideal time to offer less expensive, urban alternatives to the reconstruction of urban expressways.

New York City, Portland, San Francisco, Milwaukee and Seoul, South Korea have confronted this problem by replacing elevated highways with boulevards, saving billions of dollars and increasing real estate values on adjacent land. The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) believes that teardowns offer an attractive option for cities struggling with aging highway infrastructure. The strategies are proving themselves in adding value and restoring urban neighborhoods decimated by highway construction.

That this organization slips in Portland - involving the essentially surface level Harbor Drive -- with these other cities referring to *elevated* freeway removal, is but a hint of this agenda, hinted at by its cry for 'less expensive' alternatives against the broader political prioritizations- e.g. Pentagon, domestic surveillance and the drug war/cigarette-pharm criminal mercantilism, while of course neglecting the freeway benefits altogether rather then attempt any true cost benefit analysis.

This video does the same thing: its start with showing elevated freeways with unattractive underside environments, before then showing below ground level and surface freeways as examples to of its freeway elimination program.

It cuts to a man talking about the freeways in Buffalo, N.Y., particularly that which blocks the view and/or access to the waterfront, as the video then cuts to a shot of the below ground level Kensington Expressway. Its a project I don't yet see on his organization's web site, but which is being nonetheless so targeted by various entities, such as this. Accordingly this expressway built as an uncovered -- but for some cross streets -- trench via the right of way of the previously there existing Humbolt Parkway -- has already been proposed by local community groups to be reconstructed with a lid- essentially as a cut and cover tunnel beneath a new linear park to essentially restore the Humbolt Parkway. NYSDOT has two basic proposals, one for such a linear park somewhat elevated, the other for such as street level, with the existing trench deepened, as the clearances are deficient by about one meter, for accommodating larger trucks.

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.

Retaining the trench for a new tunnel would place the least amount of vehicular traffic directly in front of the houses facing this Humbolt Parkway-Kensington Expressway corridor- a factor leading to its support. The Norquist freeway removal doctrine of conversion to surface level boulevards is being promoted here - filling in the existing already paid for trench excavation -- for the sake of instead here placing an 8 lane surface boulevard.

“Having through traffic not have to slow down through town should not be a priority for the City of Buffalo,” Norquist says. “It hasn’t done Buffalo any good to have that criterion. If the objective of the expressways was to eliminate congestion, they worked perfectly, because congestion is not a big problem in Buffalo—not just traffic congestion but money congestion, people congestion. Everything’s been decongested because of this narrow objective of fighting congestion.”

An expressway, he says, is a rural form that doesn’t belong in the city. Few European cities have expressways within their city boundaries. Vancouver, which has some

Read more:

Norquist is being quite disingenuous- confuses rural form with urban form how many rural freeway have such retaining walls?

Norquists ends by dismissing the concept of grade separation- a dismissal that would include Washington, D.C.'s traffic circle under-pases, as that beneath DuPont Circle.

That 'greens' would support the travesty of filling in already paid for ground cuts, while altogether neglecting the issue of ramp design - aka center rather than side loader access ramps - belies an ideo-idiotology favoring depopulation over innovation - speaks volumes about what the so called environmentalist groups are really all about; a disgusting elitist contempt for commoners.

I-95 West New Jersey Environmental Affrontry to the Bronx

The Failure to Fill The Gaps is linked to environmental and ethnic (less affluent) bias, with the more affluent areas being able to outright stop a freeway, diverting the traffic burden disproportionately upon less affluent areas.

A textbook example is the failure to complete the missing link of I-95 in western New Jersey from the Trenton area to the vicinity of the southwestern corner of I-287, which makes it less convenient for traffic to use I-287 to go around New York City rather than staying on I-95 via the Trans Manhattan and Cross Bronx Expressways.`

Known as the Somerset Freeway, it was the original planned route for Interstate 95 in New Jersey. Besides offering a direct route between New York City and Philadelphia, it would have also offered a bypass of New York City for those traveling to Upstate New York and New England. The plan was killed in 1982 when it faced fierce opposition from communities along the route fearing sprawl and development. Today the sprawl and development is well in the region nearly thirty years later.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Hidden Overly Influential Opposition

Back in the day, opposition movements to road projects were on the up and up.  We knew who the opponents were, and we knew of their arguments, such as the I-480 Embaradero freeway blocking the view of the waterfront in San Francisco, or the mis-routed 1964 North Central freeway project in Takoma Park, MD and Washington, D.C.

In response, road planning has evolved, with a far far greater deference to local concerns, leading new proposals to include significant design alterations, such as being underground and or designed to include transit.   Cases in point in New York-  the proposed Cross Sound Tunnel, and the replacement Tappan Zee Bridge project- both involving I-287.  The former is a replacement proposal for Robert Moses' Cross Sound Bridge which was never built- canceled in 1973.  The latter replaces a span built during the mid 1950s with 6 lanes plus a 12 foot median.  Neither the canceled Cross Sound Bridge nor the existing Tappan Zee bridge were designed to accommodate transit asides from buses in mixed traffic.

The concept of tunneling for both links has been studied, and for the Tappan Zee, discarded due to the grade requirements as that crossing involves a high buff on the Westchester side, but adopted for the sound crossing.

The concept of a design for rail transit, not included in the initial 2007 Cross Sound Tunnel proposal was later added by increasing the size of the center maintenance bore.   The new Tappan Zee bridge for years was to include a commuter rail line extending from Suffern New York to Rye NY, latter cut back to White Plains and then Tarrytown.  The method of including rail upon the new Tappan Zee Bridge included placing it in the median between the proposed twin spans, and better yet, a design featuring space for a lower deck= far superior for providing extra space for separate commuter and FREIGHT rail.

NY has NO rail freight crossings of the Hudson River south of Sedkirk just outside Albany.  freight trains must detour 160 miles north then south in order to cross from New jersey into the New York metropolitan

The design with the lower deck would have the best cost benefit ratio, which is essentually why both the George Washington and Verrazano Narrows Bridges were so designed.

The Tappan Zee Bridge replacement designs in 2011 featured the option of the lower deck.

Yet for 2012 the designs were changed, with an EIS that excudes the lowerdeck option from its cost benifot anylysis.

I have been following this project planning for year, and have searched the internet without success to find out about who/what brought this change in planning.  Try searching the interest for Tappan Zee Bridge- lower deck or double deck and one will find nothing asides from my blog posts here at Cosmobile.  My comments left at various transportation and environmentalist organizations as the Tri State Transportation Campaign, which acquiesced, and even encouraged to this bad planning decision, and to "Riverkeeper" go unansweed.

The town closest to the Tappan Zee Bridge is Nyack.

I have been told that the parties involved with scrapping the lower deck on the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement was the celebrity Rosie O Donnel, who had a house in Nyack and formerly of the tv show 'the View'.  Yet nothing so far in any internet search of Rosie O'Donnel, Tappan Zee Bridge, and protests.

Likewise with who ever is getting away with thwarting the proposed Cross Sound Tunnel- despite what has already been noted about this and the concocted former NY Governor Eliot Spitzer sex scandal: aka 'client #9' at a brothel service named 'Emperors Club' from which we never heard about Clients #1-8 and 10+.

This is secreted planning by cloaked elites who KNOW their strident opposition would be laughed at if placed in an open and widespread public light, and is facilitated by a political process in serious need of reform.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Decrying Anti Road Faddism

whether against railroads or freeways

(One can find comments as this which are way more sensinble than the faddish ideology of "Streetsblog")


It's based on the mistakes that were made in Ireland and Britain during the 1960's when too many railways were shut down and in some cases, removed - 'ah sure, there was no need for them as everything would eventually be done by road - sure why have trains when you have buses' - now our generation knows why we need rail and we very much regret what was done 50 years ago (we only have the very main lines left in Ireland).

You guys will probably have the same regret in 50 years time and balk at the idea of 'sure everything can be done by rail' and think instead - 'oh why, oh why did we get rid of the freeways like the 280?' - it will just be like the Harcourt Street Railway Line in Dublin that was shut at the close of 1958 - we have just spent hundreds of millions in putting much of it back as a light rail transit route.  How many million dollars will SF spend in 50 years rectifying the probable mistake of tearing down the I-280 and the other freeways?  Tearing down the I-480 along the Embarcadero I can understand (you will probably end up having to provide a link to the Golden Gate by 2050 though), especially with the nice ferry building at the end of Market Street - I could even see the logic of taking out the section of the Central Freeway over Market Street (I take this as your main thoroughfare) - however, I seriously see no case for tearing out the I-280 - to me, it's just a fad - I mean what civic amenity is there in the vicinity of the 280???

All I'm saying is that we had exactly that 'let's get rid of' attitude (in Ireland and Britain) to the railways in the 1960's - in London, they simply can't provide enough railways to keep pace with demand - AFAIK, the latest stats show that in Britain, there's as many passengers on the railways as there were in the 1920's - all for there being no need for railways - I'm almost prophesying here regarding SF and freeways in the future!!!  In short, you need freeways and railways - two essential tools for getting around - Back in Ireland, I have a car and regularly use both the M1 Freeway and Northern Railway - every week that is!  I wouldn't like to make do without either tool - life would just be too difficult!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Extremism in Transport

A pair of transportation corridors near and within the U.S. Capital attest to the ideological extremism in transportation policy advocacy.

Cases in Point:

Virgina's Dulles Corridor and Washington, D.C.'s NE Red Line

12 vehicular lanes
0 rail tracks

4 rail tracks (2 WMATA and 2 MARC/CSX)
0 vehicular lanes- a few service roads which are non continious.

One would think that a more balanced and mult-model approach would be to yes add a WMATA transit line along the Dulles corridor, and yes add a highway along the Metropolitan Branch corridor- while acknowledging the greater needs of the latter for environmental mitigation.

But no.

Many oppose adding a rail line - and they call themselves pro-road.

And few dare support adding a freeway link- and they call themselves pro-urban providing no continious link freeway alternative to surface streets.

I've had the thought that some of the pro-highway people oppose Dulles rail out of resentment that I-95 through Washington D.C. was never completed; yet reletively few of these people dare complain about the lack of a continious DC I-95

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Norway Connects

A single-span suspension bridge, and a 25 km (about 15 miles) two-lane tunnel, along with all of those other tunnels, including underwater, in a low-traffic rural area to connect all of those little towns, Norway believes in fixed connections- in contrast to the propaganda in the U.S.A.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Build it Over

By John Norquist - Congress for Rational Urbanism – ghost-written by Douglas Andrew Willinger April 1, 2013

Freeways like anything need to be well thought out, and not critiqued over-simplistically

Depressed vs Elevated vs center loader vs standard left hand curb  loader ramps

Localities that had their urban freeways depressed, that is an open trench with the road below ground level, with the money spent upon the cut, chose the best freeway option.

Those that went with elevated freeways fared worse as the money instead went to an elevated structure that needs to be entirely replaced.

Those that went with the depressed roads have the existing foundation of the cut and hence the rehabilitation funds can go towards the super structure, walls, columns, etc. and funds can be ultimately obtained via the sale of air rights.

Critical to a tamed street environment conducive to this air rights development, are center loader access ramps for the freeway- IOW the ramps to or from the freeway have short tunnels to thus not load by the left hand curb but rather from the middle. This center loader design preserves the curbside for lower speed uses, and can be seen in renderings of the proposed Washington, D.C. I-395 redevelopment project just south of Massachusetts Avenue in Washington, D.C. This design should be a mandatory retrofit for existing urban freeways- at least those built below ground level, as it has been the ramp interface rather than the existence of the mainline freeway itself, that causes the ripple of intimidation for pedestrians and to a degree local vehicular traffic depending upon the design and location of cross-streets.

Utility, convenience and safety of freeway is shown in Yale University’s freeway experimentation project, with the idea of truncating freeway despite its “Air Rights” garage designed to accommodate extended freeway underground beneath buildings. So truncating freeway, with new Yale and Pfizer demolition specials blocking extension, was done with Yale Architectural school dean arguing against requiring developers to include necessary substructures, girders, to preserve underground easement for freeway, never-mind one of these lots being given to the developer for only $1. The traffic mess being envisioned includes having pedestrians dodge traffic to and from the freeway across an upwards of 5 lanes in each direction. Simply continuing the freeway beneath the “Air Rights” garage with 3 lanes in each direction upon the submerged freeway would have mean not 5 but 2 lanes in each direction on the surface, and with less traffic there.

The New Haven Route 34 site is to be a text book example of the fallacy of the anti-urban freeway movement, particularly its disregard for the basic design of the freeway, as well as overlooking the issue of the design of the freeway access ramp in general.

New York’s Buffalo has a splendid opportunity to have the best of both worlds. We must not waste the cut by filling it in- rather we should adopt it to modern specifications beneath a new landscaped lid to better re-invoke Olmstead’s lost parkway.

Property values are affected by noise and other pollution. Sometimes traffic “disappears” when a freeway is removed, particularly when there is a grid to absorb it, and when done when much traffic disappeared for other reasons, such as an automobile fuel shortage in late 1973 and some of 1974.

Other times though the “desire line” is unavoidable, such as with the Lower Manhattan corridor. Not building the expressway, is mainly wishing the vehicular traffic away from the Holland Tunnel – Williamsburg and Manhattan Bridge triangle, local asthma rates there are comparable to those along the Cross Bronx Expressway.

Why then, have not local environmentalist and planning organizations worked towards a tunneled and exhaust filtered Lower Manhattan Expressway with drilled tunneling at its western end for preserving historic So Ho? Why indeed, have not the Holland Tunnel remained at only 2 lanes in each direction, rather than supplemented with a pair of newer tubes in each direction?

And why not as well the plausibly simpler to build Mid Town Manhattan Expressway Tunnel?  Robert Moses favored idea would have displaced too many buildings by taking a ½ wide block swath along the north side of 29th Street for a 6 lane MME; but not his alternative project of a tunneled version with a 2 lane tube under 29th Street, and another 30th Street would have provided 4 lanes, and theoretically could be supplemented with a second set for 8 lanes beneath the existing street grid right of way. Though the grid is tight, the building’s stable foundations facilitate the excavation, and mid town has a logical grid, with little or no need to demolish historic buildings.

In Northern Germany, a project to both widen (from 3 to 5 lanes per direction) and cover the north-south radial autobahn is moving forward. Undergrounding is the clear preference. Cut and cover offers the potential advantage of a direct interface into the existing street grid and the possibilities of profound surface improvements, as with a multi-model railway-highway tunnel/railroad industrial corridor dig out, resurfacing of the long buried Tiber Creek, and creation of a linear park. Drilled offers the potential advantage of deviating from the grid for a more direct route, particularly for longer routes, as set up costs become proportionately greater with the development of more durable drilling equipment. However, as done on Berlin, and as proposed in 2009 for Seattle’s waterfront, enclosed aerial tunnels via new buildings are another possibility.

The Failure to Fill The Gaps is linked to environmental and ethnic (less affluent) bias, with the more affluent areas being able to outright stop a freeway, diverting the traffic burden disproportionately upon less affluent areas.

A textbook example is the failure to complete the missing link of I-95 in western New Jersey from the Trenton area to the vicinity of the southwestern corner of I-287, which makes it less convenient for traffic to use I-287 to go around New York City rather than staying on I-95 via the Trans Manhattan and Cross Bronx Expressways. Another is the failure to complete a mid-town Manhattan expressway tunnel facility, which would provide some relief for Queens-Brooklyn/Long Island bound traffic. Others are the failure to build freeways in northern Washington, D.C., leading to a disproportionate burden upon the areas just east of the Anacostia River, with the ghastly configuration now present in the vicinity of East Capitol Street, along with the ghastly failure to let decades go by without a cut and cover project to both modernize and expand the freeway and to do so in a fashion to engender a more livable local environment, placing freeway underground beneath a boulevard with landscaped linear park. Freeways by their nature and scale are amiable as the foundations not merely of allowing the mass and fast movement of vehicles, but also as a platform for cover-way uses, as a linear park, town square and buildings; and as a figurative or literal backbone for various transit-ways.

These can be barrier separated lanes that can be assigned any of a number of uses, HOT/HOV/bus or even ultimately, express truck lanes, as expansion of the expressway corridor can ultimately include a roughly parallel railway, with modularity of designing said corridors for such ultimate expansion achieving a greater bang for the buck. Bang for the buck is a concept evident with the ‘duel deck’ option shown on New York State’s I-287/I-87 Tappan Zee Bridge replacement. According to a N.Y.S.D.O.T. representative at an official presentation in 2011, the duel deck option would cost about $200 million more for the basic structure- adding any roadbed would be additional. That would be substantially less costly than adding a separate parallel span, an idea the project’s EIS compares not with the duel deck, but with a third idea, of straddling the “median” area, which would provide less such added road-space (and with the “H” Honda tribute outward canted towers would run into vertical clearance issues with such rail cars).

As of late March 2013, the group Riverkeeper has thrown in the towel regarding the issue of ultimately adding rail transit to I-287. In the meantime, the greater New York metropolitan region has NO Hudson River crossing for freight rail anywhere south of the crossing at Selkirk, near Albany next to I-90. To avoid the 141 mile each way diversion, authorities are looking at a double-stack rail only tunnel beneath New York Harbor connecting the I-78 corridor in New Jersey with Brooklyn at a cost of $4.8 billion for s single track or $7.4 billion for a double track. Yet it throws away the opportunity of a rail crossing that would eliminate much of that diversion at a fraction of the cost, with far greater capacity and a greater bang for the buck even if the $200 duel deck figure is not quite double stack height. 

Freeways and railways serve important functions and should not be broadly judged upon worst case/least useful examples. The cancelled freeway in Milwaukee has a parallel freeway to the south, while the cancelled New Orleans Vieux Carre freeway had relatively little utility though with an interesting segment built, a short cut and cover tunnel segment.

Meanwhile urban railways once included what we would call the ghastly juxtaposition of steam locomotives right outside people’s windows- imagine that on the front cover of a book. Perhaps New Orleans might discover the utility of burying freeways within earthen flood control walls, taking the concept of tunneled roads into yet another dimension.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

E Groups Throw in the Towel on TPZ

 Nothing from these environmentalist organizations about safeguarding the rail component of the Tappan Zee Bridge corridor.

Riverkeeper and Scenic Hudson may no longer be enemies of the new Tappan Zee Bridge but the two environmental groups said they are still watchdogs of the massive construction project in the Hudson River.

The former foes of the $3.9-billion undertaking that is expected to bring years of disturbance to the river agreed on today to support the new bridge.

They signed on after the state strengthened its oversight of the project, boosted an environmental mitigation fund and created a special account to help communities near the construction with riverfront improvements.

By doing so, groups as "Riverkeeper" have surrendered, and can not be rationally seen as protectors of our transport corridors.  Failing to build the design with the structure for the lower deck at a cost of $200 now means having to spend $1 billion or more additional to add such space by a connected or separate structure with the "Honda" style towers infringing upon the median space vertical clearance thereby preventing double stacked rail cars.

Tappan Zee EIS FAILS to Address Lower Deck

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Mental Conditioning #3 The U.S. Somehow Can't Afford Freeways AND Transit


a quote of an interview with Angela Rooney, an activist with the organization "Emergency Committee on the Transportation Crisis" that took a hard not another inch of freeway stance, often under the slogan, 'no white mans roads through black mans homes".

 Our first rallying cry was: "No White Men's Roads Through Black Men's Homes!"  We had to do that as offensive as it was to some people because it was absolutely the truth. It was indeed Black men's homes and businesses that were being confiscated. It was a very personal kind of insult, especially in a city where many blacks worked for the Federal government the city, to find out that your home could be gone just like that. The highway proponents felt no compunction about this. I don't remember whether it was the highway lobby men or the representatives from the FHA but they would say, "yeah, we built that road and we didn't even have to give them the moving money. They didn't know they were supposed to get it...

Our other rallying cry was: "Freeways No!, Metro Yes!" That was in everything we put out to focus hard on the fact that we needed good public transportation. If they built I-95, the inner loop, the outer beltways and all the other roads, there was no hope for a Metro being built because there would be no money. So we fought long, long and hard for years to break open the trust fund for other kinds of transportation. People had no idea that they had an option.

Even in the 1960's, we were calling loud and clear for a multi-modal, interdependent, complete transportation system.

What is strange is that the officials had been calling for just that, building transit and freeways, yet Rooney appears to not know that.

The November 1, 1962 transportation report commissioned by the Administration of John F. Kennedy included both transit and freeways.

By neglecting that, Rooney was playing into the hands of those seeking to condition people to expect less from the government in terms of the general welfare.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Ending Defeatism in Lower New York

" But the traditional model of urban expansion followed by new roads has created a vicious spiral where new roads beget more cars, which beget the need for more roads." - the typical defeatism that sadly appears in the schedule for the upcoming event -

What the New York Times and others need to examine.

#1- the lower deck of the replacement spans for the Tappan Zee Bridge.  Scuttled by the Cuomo Administration and by an EIS neglecting even a cursory review of the cost and benefits, the lower deck would potentially serve three separate modes of rail: passenger-commuter, freight, and even light rail at some point in the future with a far more developed I-287 corridor.

#2- the political nonsense stopping the I-287 Cross Sound Tunnel (or bridge with tunneled land approaches), that is wierdly tolerated even after 911.  Must be built with somewhat greater diameter to accommodate adding railway.

#3- the failure to construct the highway and augmented rail corridor for the I-287 link from existing LI Route 135 to the Belt-Conduit Avenue corridor, and onward via a new LIRR Bay Ridge multi-model tunnel across Brooklyn and beneath New York Harbor to New Jersey I-78.  An updated version of the late 1960s proposed Linear CityProject, with the tunneled highway and railway to New Jersey is totally justified.

#4- the long over-due modernization of the Cross County Parkway (CCP) from its interchange with I-87, westward to a new bridge crossing the Hudson River, from downtown Yonker's "Bridge Street" to Alpine New Jersey with a cut and cover extension towards the New Jersey Turnpike.

#5- the eastern extension of the Cross County Parkway (CCP) via a tunnel starting beneath Willow Avenue to beneath Rochelle Park to connect with I-95, plus improvements to the CCP east of I-87, at least bringing it up to 8 lanes, and preferably with dropping its grade in Mt. Vernon to make much of its trench into a coverway.

#6- the upgrading of the various tunnel corridors connecting Manhattan to the outside world to 8  lanes, particularly the Lincoln and Holland.

#7- the construction of tunneled replacements for the previous proposals for the Mid Town Manhattan, Lower Manhattan and Bushwick Expressways, combining cut and cover with drilled segments to preserve and enhance areas as historic SoHo and minimize real estate displacement; plus a continuous primarily cut and cover expressway tunnel for the West and East Sides, perhaps as a "Beachway" to provide a much needed pedestrian promenade.

#8- the completion of an I-95 link in western New Jersey to roughly the southwest corner of I-287, to facilitate an around the New York City bypass relief for the Cross Bronx Expressway, which is limited by the capacity of the George Washington Bridge. and the lack of express service roads that in Manhattan would be facilitated by reopening the 178th and 179th Street tunnels.   This failure to complete I-95 is a classic textbook example of environmental fraud by entities as Princeton University against wealthier areas having to share the traffic burden.

#9- Reconstruct the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (including the Gowanus) augmented with tunnels for a minimum of 5 lanes in each direction.

#10- Reconstruct the I-87 Major Deegan Expressway with a minimum of 4 lanes in each direction, except the segment beneath the crossing of I-95 with 3 lanes per direction.  Include extra decking in the northern area- demolish that one particularly stupidly placed building, and construct south of Yankee Stadium segment much like Cincinnatti's I-71 Fort Washington Way with new Cromwell Avenue 'Boulevard' to better facilitate traffic and waterfront development.  Resist short-sighted development plans for new cul de sac style waterfront development.

#11- Spot improvements: such as an extra lane from the southbound Clearview to eastbound GCP, and then the southbound Belt, requiring replacing some overpasses on the latter, but way cheaper than a tunneled extension of the Clearview; and continuing the 4th lane on I-95 past the Pelham Bay Parkway and the HRP to the vicinity of Bartow Avenue at Co-Op city.

#12- Explore light rail extensions from the 'subway' system into Westchester County and elsewhere, including perhaps along the old right of way for the 'NY, Westchester &; Boston railway', Mt Vernon, and even up to Yonkers Raceway, the CCSC and Central Avenue- good for future corridor development densification over the next 100 or so years.  Suitable corridors include I-287 are suitable, given the real estate development potential of the existing footprint of the automobile friendly regional mall and office park for future densification.  What's happening with Tyson's corner just outside Washington D.C. in northern Virginia will happen here to.

#1 Fallacy of the Pseudo-Intellectuals

" But the traditional model of urban expansion followed by new roads has created a vicious spiral where new roads beget more cars, which beget the need for more roads."

Fits with:

#2 Did one encounter any traffic?

Never-mind that all of us compose traffic, and that the proper terminology would be 'delays' or 'congestion'.

Just imagine such a philosophy adapted at any other point in time/history.  

What bridges or tunnels would have not been built under such a defeatism.