Thursday, February 28, 2008

Recycling Right of Ways and other existing swaths

This is the routing philosophy of minimizing the creation of all new right-of-ways that would bisect residential neighborhoods affect parkland corridors, via maximizing the use of existing right of ways and other cleared swaths for constructing grade separated new highways.

Such existing right-of-ways would include:

existing roads: particularly where an existing arterial has spawned adjacent strip development, lining the arterial with a generous zone of parking lots-

railroad-industrial corridors: where a RR has spawned an adjacent strip of industrialized properties, including such paved areas as loading docks, bus stops and parking lots, including those for utility vehicle storage.

power line and other utility line right of ways:

Because this design philosophy is meant to minimize dislocation and preserve public resources, it would not *necessarily* use what are known as "highway reservation corridors", if doing so meant employing wooded corridors which -- due to approval of real estate development projects -- become the sole neighborhood woods, as everything else is taken for subdivisions and local, non grade separate surface roads. Though portions of such "highway reservation" wooded corridors may be sufficiently wide, the narrowness or other factors regarding other portions might make a detour preferable, even if requiring the removal of houses, particularly those recently built when this potential conflict would tend to became more obvious.

Because such existing right of ways and other linear brownfield properties are limited in number and nature, preserving them for future use is essential. This does not mean that they must lay fallow, but rather that planning assign them such uses that avoid significantly increased future costs, allowing an evolutionary development over a time span of at least several decades that avoid the haphazard placement of expensive and immovable structures, especially residences, including those directly in the path, and those close enough to an existing structure -- such as a freeway retaining wall -- to increase the cost of its future replacement. Such uses would include multi-model transportation transfer points: e.g. sidewalks and pavement relating to mass transit access, bus bays and road, drop off (kiss & ride) areas, open air markets, town square type areas, along with movable and lower cost structures, such as kiosks, public information/service booths, movable vender stands and lower cost retail structures (perhaps with a 25 year amortization). This would utilize land, even providing revenue, while preserving design flexibility for future generations.

By preserving existing corridors and protecting them from misplaced real estate development, we use land more efficiently, ultimately allowing its use for multiple purposes, and reducing or eliminating the need for paving through much in the way of wooded suburban highway reservation corridors, hence making it more likely they will forever remain as wildlife corridors. By preserving urban brownfields in particular, we preserve potential for future projects to improve the transportation and greenspace networks via burying railways and highways beneath new linear promenades for bringing communities closer to each other locally and regionally with shorter more direct routes.

Historical Examples:

Larchmont (Westchester County), New York

I-95 New England Thruway: where the use of the previously acquired wooded corridor for the not-to-be-built Pelham-Port Chester Parkway, would take a detour through the parking lots along the Metro North New Haven RR line which previously served as the railbed for the defunct New York Westchester and Boston RR (1912-1937), with a 1930s parkway bridge now amidst a city park.

Washington, D.C.

I-66 North Leg West segment of the Inner Loop: new open depressed swath paralleling Florida Avenue-U Street, versus a cut and cover tunnel beneath K-Street

Brooklyn, New York

Cross Brooklyn Expressway: new swath paralleling Bushwick Avenue (I-78), versus double decked elevated or triple decked depressed atop or within the existing 50 foot wide LIRR Bay Ridge RR right of way (I-287 or I-878)

Examples of Why:

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