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:
Thanks for your help!