As I mentioned in my recap of the Barney Circle-Southeast Boulevard planning study meeting, the District Department of Transportation is planning to reopen the Southeast Freeway between Barney Circle and 11th Street SE by the end of the year. Construction crews are already spending millions of dollars to rebuild and clear portions of the old freeway, which was closed in January 2013 as part of the 11th Street Bridge Project. Once it reopens, it will draw more commuter traffic off I-295 and into our neighborhood, particularly on the already high volume 17th and 19th Street corridors.
Unfortunately, DDOT plans to move ahead with the reopening despite objections from the community. That leaves only one person – Mayor Gray – who can direct DDOT to stop this bad idea.
Please call Mayor Gray’s Office today and tell the Mayor to halt the reopening of the Southeast Freeway. You can reach his office by dialing:
Here are some key reasons why halting the reopening is critical:
- Reopening the freeway undermines the planning and transportation studies underway for this area. The Office of Planning, in conjunction with DDOT and the community, is finalizing recommendations on design concepts for the old freeway space that will extend the neighborhood grid, facilitate pedestrian connections to the Anacostia waterfront and provide a more neighborhood sensitive vehicle connection between Barney Circle and 11th Street. DDOT’s decision to reopen the freeway undermines this study and will continue the decades-long separation between the neighborhood and the waterfront.
- Reopening the freeway is a tremendous waste of taxpayer dollars. These dollars could and should be used to fund the final product of the ongoing planning and transportation study, both of which should wrap up by the end of the year. The money should not be used to re-introduce a mistake of the past.
- Reopening the freeway will not relieve traffic congestion. Instead, it will exacerbate traffic issues in our neighborhood, particularly as the freeway draws more and more commuters off of I-295 and the 11th Street bridge and down 17th, 19th Streets and Pennsylvania Ave.
Again, please call Mayor Gray’s Office today and tell the Mayor to halt the reopening of the Southeast Freeway. You can reach his office by dialing:
If you can’t call, you can also e-mail Mayor Gray at email@example.com. You can also e-mail or copy the other members of the DC Council as well.
Thanks for your help!
Here’s what I emailed:
Dear Mayor Gray
I am a tax paying property owner who lives in Barney Circle (700 block of Kentucky Ave SE). Recently DDOT announced its plan to reopen the Southeast “Freeway” between Barney Circle and 11th Street SE by the end of the year – this after DDOT already demolished the Southeast “Freeway” in 2013.
Construction crews are already spending millions of dollars to rebuild and clear portions of the old freeway. Once it reopens, it will draw more Maryland commuter traffic off I-295 and into our neighborhood, particularly on the already high volume 17th and 19th Street corridors. It will also significantly impede the ability of DDOT and the Barney Circle neighborhood to recreate the Southeast “Freeway” as the Southeast “Boulevard” – a Boulevard that is intended to benefit the taxing paying residents of Barney Circle by extending the neighborhood and creating access to the Anacostia River.
This is the worst possible decision in a serious of bad decisions by DDOT. It appears that DDOT is more concerned with commuters from Maryland (individuals that pay no taxes in the District) than with District residents that are immediately affected by the Southeast Freeway reopening. I urge you to halt the reopening of the Southeast Freeway immediately and order DDOT to work with the Barney Circle neighborhood to develop a Southeast “Boulevard” that is beneficial to the neighborhood, and not residents of Maryland.
Could someone please make a map or graph depicting what this proposal aims to reopen? With all of the construction lately and openings/closings of roadways, I’m not clear what exactly this proposal is for.
The OP diagrams shared in my Aug. 4 BC-SE Blvd meeting recap should be helpful – https://flahaven6b.com/2014/08/07/residents-consider-improved-design-concepts-for-barney-circle-southeast-boulevard-project/
The controversial DDOT announcement simply involves reopening the SE Freeway section that was closed (and partially demolished) in early 2013 – the same old road between RFK / Pennsylvania Avenue and the Navy Yard. I think the details are somewhat unclear because the new 11th St. Bridge structures occupy some of the previous freeway space.
[…] 6B Commissioner Brian Flahaven is urging residents to ask Mayor Gray to halt the reopening of the Southeast Freeway […]
I sent this email to the Mayor this opening:
Dear Mayor Gray,
Please halt plans to reopen the Southeast Freeway!
I live on L Street, SE directly facing the old freeway. It is recognized it was a mistake to build the freeway originally as it cut the Capitol Hill neighborhood off from access to the Anacostia River.
The DDOT, Office of Planing and our community have been working on a plan for redeveloping this area for over a year. Reopening this freeway is a waste of money that could be spent on the final redevelopment project.
I watched while hundreds of dump truck loads of dirt were piled on the freeway over the last couple years. Now I’m watching as hundreds of dump truck loads of dirt are removed. Who is paying for this? We as taxpayers?
Let’s get on with making this area into a world class waterfront space for all DC citizens to enjoy and not waste our money on resurrecting a mistake from the past for some short-term traffic relief!
I phoned this morning and voiced my opposition to the temporary reopening of the roadway. The mayor’s office was very gracious and listened to my statements. I was told that others have been calling and that the mayor is aware of the concerns. I suggest others call. It simply doesn’t make sense to spend money to invite temporary cut-through traffic.
Pardon me if I am confused – but I doubt I am the only one.
I have looked at the proposals and did the city choose any particular one of the Concepts?
How is this supposed to draw traffic off highway and onto the streets? I ask that because I am honestly unsure. Yes I suppose vehicles can enter/exit but the whole highway highway system in that area is different than it was and I don’t know how the the two will play off of each other. In some ways it may be that traffic will use this and not regular streets but since I am terrible at translating all of this I may be missing something. But then since you can go to the SE/SW onto 295 directly now and not get off one and on another why would this be used in such a fashion.
Again I say this because I really don’t understand not because I am for or against it. The fear may come to pass but I don’t think it should be assumed that everyone understands they hows and whys of what this is going to look like and how the new highway configurations might play into it.
Almost all of the impact on 17th/19th depends on whether the illegal access from Barney Circle is restored/tolerated. If the ramps only allow access to and from the Sousa Bridge then the impact on 17th/19th is much less. Has the status of the access road to Barney Circle been addressed at all?
Thanks for the question. DDOT is signaling that it plans to close the access road if the freeway is reopened, which at least would not exacerbate the current situation on 17th. However, 17th will continue to see high traffic volume from folks exiting I-295 at East Capitol as long as it remains a two-lane street with few signals. It would help if DDOT prioritized implementing the planned safety improvements for 17th.
[…] The city has a great opportunity to connect the neighborhood to the Anacostia waterfront and correct a mistake of the past. Let’s not waste it. If you haven’t already done so, please contact Mayor Gray and urge him to halt the reopening of the Southeast Freeway. […]