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.