Pp 175-177 MILLER HIGHWAY PROJECT June 30, 1999 public hearing transcriptHello. My name is Doug Willinger. I’m a Founder of the Takoma Park Highway Design Studio. Where I’m working on a web site to show the differences between community friendlyI ask a rhetorical question of the people here: Who hear likes Grand Central Station? Who here would have been against building Grand Central Station early in this century? Well, Grand Central Station was built upon the site of the original grand Central Station, which was only about 30 years old and had been rehabilitated in 1898 only 6 or 7 years, before they tore it down. This is nothing new here. This is about change for the better.I am very dismayed to see people here arguing in favor of an elevated highway that if it were anywhere else they’d be opposed to it. If they had it going all the way down to the Battery Park, they would be crying to tear it down. We need to move ahead with this. We need to stop giving in to the type of poor planning that actually had us not build this tunnel 10 years ago and we threw away a great opportunity on the West Side to build something that could have benefited everyone with the highway tunnel and with light rail on top.If we really want to save money today, why don’t we suspend the current 9A project and restart it up with a surface-level trolley on top and a highway tunnel beneath, because we’re going to come to the conclusion [in] about 10 years to tear it up and do it again right. Let’s do this project right as it’s being proposed and move ahead with it.I suggest that a lot of the opponents here will be joining on top of that thing with supporters when it is done and saying, yes, this was good. You’d be against Riverside Park. You’d keep it an open rail yard with the types of arguments that we are hearing today. Let’s move ahead and let’s move beyond the hysteria. Thank you very much.
The authorities would not go ahead with this project in 1999, largely because the elevated segment of freeway this tunnel would replace, had been refurbished only about a decade earlier.
However, segments of this replacement tunnel were subsequently constructed starting about 2006, as such would be directly beneath the new southern extension of Riverside Drive alongside the Trump development, thus saving money in so far as avoiding having to tear up that area to construct the tunnel later.
Unfortunately that general idea was not adopted with the 9A 12th Avenue/West Street project which constructed an all new roadbed, which if it could not be delayed for a tunnel, should at least been constructed with the necessary sub-supports to allow the subsequent excavation for a tunnel, to avoid the waste and disruption of having to tear it up for such.