New York Avenue is one of the major corridors in Ward 5. It supports over 100,00 cars a day. Rapid and cargo rail roar through several times a day. And a growing bicycle community waits for some new pathways to take advantage of this thoroughfare. But a closer look at the overpass on Montana Avenue that supports rapid rail and cargo train traffic might give you pause. I don\’t profess to be a structural engineer. And by no means am I given to hysteria. But, when you look at the decay taking place at the base of this structure you have to begin to think \”this can\’t be good!\”.
This Can\’t be Good
Why do I say this can\’t be good? Let\’s take a pictorial look from both sides of the \”Montana Avenue\” overpass for lack of a better name. The pictures below show some of the signs of deterioration.
Do you think about this overpass when you read about the nation\’s aging infrastructure? Do you think about it when you are sitting underneath it waiting for the traffic to move through the Montana Avenue circle? Maybe not, but you should! Especially when a MARC Train or CSX Cargo train goes rumbling overhead. And what\’s in those cargo trains that pass through Ward 5? Some key findings in the 2006 New York Avenue Corridor Study include:
- daily vehicular volumes ranging from a high of 126,800 east of South Dakota Avenue to a low
of 23,500 just west of I-395
- New York Avenue may be considered a high-accident corridor. Nine of the 36 worst intersections in the District, in terms of accident experience, are located within the study area
- As volumes increase, if no physical/operational improvements are made, it is likely that the number of accidents will increase as well
- Pedestrian safety and accessibility are major concerns throughout the Corridor, but especially to the west of North Capitol Street. As traffic volumes increase, these concerns are likely to grow
And What About the Cargo?
Finally, what\’s in those containers passing through Ward 5. Given some of the recent articles on chemicals transported by train and the May 16th derailment in Ward5, it should make you wonder.