WTOP has reported that section of Interstate 395 between New York Avenue, NW, and Massachusetts Avenue, NW, could be closed to traffic permanently.
A letter obtained by WTOP from DDOT Director Emeka Moneme to Council member asks for a study on I-395 traffic in a letter to Phil Mendelson.
“Based on a Transportation Planning Board finding that a high proportion of New York Avenue traffic has neither an origin nor a destination within the District, DDOT has requested the option of closing a section of I-395 between its current northern terminus at New York Avenue and its interchange with Massachusetts Avenue.”
At this stage no action is eminent DDOT just wants to leave the option open to explore. GreaterGreaterWashington.org has suggested that DDOT could coincide this move with the completion of the 11th Street bridge improvements that will improve a current bottleneck of the SE Freeway. This will make the SE Freeway the best bet for through traffic and in theory ultimately reduce traffic along New York Avenue.
Impact to the Triangle:
What is the impact to the Triangle? I’m just absorbing and processing this information but at the moment it still feels like a mixed bag.
Let’s first consider the improvements that DDOT already planned for the Triangle because a potential closure would occur 5 or more years down the line.
- 4th Street changed from one way to two way traffic
- New Jersey Ave changed from one way to two way traffic
- L Street extended over I-395 to New Jersey Ave
- 3rd Street extended to meet new L Street extension
- DDOT would allow for a park along the 3rd St extension
- Presumably the District would sell the air rights along the new L Street segment to developers
- These transportation infrastructure improvements help connect Northwest One new community to the MVT
[double click image to enlarge]
So while cutting off I-395 at Mass Ave would allow the city to remove the big divide in the Triangle created by the highway – existing plans were in place to take on this task by building over it. Was a build over more a hypothetical pie-in-the-sky idea than one that would have received enough budgetary funding to come to fruition?
What I wonder is what this closure does to the proposed new end of the highway at Mass Ave. That area has a confluence of roads including Mass Ave, H Street, 2nd Street, 4th Street, and New Jersey Ave. That interchange area could become a mess. The new two way streets at 4th and New Jersey could see a dramatic surge of through traffic. Thoughts?