Whitehurst Teardown Study: An Open Letter from FBA President Asher Corson

Dear Neigh­bor,
Once again, cer­tain elected and appointed offi­cials have engaged to take action to tear down the White­hurst Free­way and I wanted to alert you.

It is impor­tant to note that, unlike pre­vi­ous attempts to study tear­ing down the White­hurst, the most recent pro­posal did not orig­i­nate directly from the Dis­trict gov­ern­ment. This time, the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Coun­cil of Gov­ern­ments (COG) National Cap­i­tal Region Trans­porta­tion Plan­ning Board is vet­ting the process through a study pub­lished in a report that indi­cates, “The pur­pose of this project is to pre­pare an Envi­ron­men­tal Impact Study (EIS) to exam­ine improve­ments to the George­town area trans­porta­tion net­work and water­front access, and to pro­vide safe and effi­cient mobil­ity to and through the George­town area per­tain­ing to the removal of the White­hurst

It is equally impor­tant to note that COG mem­bers that cre­ated this doc­u­ment are appointed by the Mayor of Wash­ing­ton DC and the Gov­er­nors of Mary­land and Vir­ginia. So although this does not nec­es­sar­ily rep­re­sent imme­di­ate plans for the Dis­trict, it does indi­cate that offi­cials in our gov­ern­ment or the sur­round­ing gov­ern­ments are push­ing to study tear­ing down the White­hurst. It seems unlikely that Vir­ginia or Mary­land would ben­e­fit from tear­ing down the White­hurst (in fact many of their tax­pay­ers work­ing in the dis­trict would be fur­ther incon­ve­nienced by traf­fic). And, no mat­ter whose del­e­gates authored this sec­tion in the report, the fact remains that an EIS is the first nec­es­sary step towards remov­ing the freeway.

There are many rea­sons that neigh­bors have his­tor­i­cally opposed tear­ing down the Whitehurst.

Some of those rea­sons include:

  • 1. The White­hurst has at least ten years of use­ful life left.
  • 2. The Dis­trict, MD and VA face a bud­get gap and con­tin­ued reduced tax rev­enue: why waste resources to con­tinue costly and unnec­es­sary studies.
  • 3. All pro­pos­als to tear down the White­hurst have included mas­sive destruc­tion
    of park­lands between Foggy Bot­tom and Georgetown.
  • 4. The tear­down would cause adverse traf­fic impacts for 26th Street, K Street,
    23rd St, M Street and Penn­syl­va­nia Ave.
  • 5. Increased con­ges­tion, air qual­ity issues and noise from an already con­gested
    urban traf­fic corridor.
  • Need­less to say, COG’s report is a sur­prise. Dur­ing the District’s last may­oral elec­tion, can­di­date Fenty pledged to our com­mu­nity that the White­hurst Free­way would not come down if he were to be elected Mayor. It seems that this promise will be kept as the COG trans­porta­tion report plans per­tain to the upcom­ing 4 years. How­ever, none of this is meant to indi­cate that the White­hurst is safe mov­ing for­ward. There is no way to know what this study will mean for the future of the free­way. It is dis­cour­ag­ing to note that such effort and con­sid­er­able tax monies would be allo­cated to give a green light to remove the Whitehurst.

    What­ever the future may hold for the White­hurst, the Foggy Bot­tom Asso­ci­a­tion will con­tinue to mon­i­tor any devel­op­ments and as always, we ded­i­cate our­selves to ensur­ing that the White­hurst is secure.

    Asher_Corson_smWarm regards,
    Asher Cor­son, Pres­i­dent, Foggy Bot­tom Asso­ci­a­tion

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