The purpose of the Whitehurst Freeway Deconstruction Feasibility Study is to determine the impacts of removing the Whitehurst Freeway on the study area in terms of traffic, access to Georgetown and the future waterfront park, land use and value, and other factors. This information is used to develop and evaluate alternative roadway configurations and connections to accommodate current and future traffic patterns if the Whitehurst Freeway is removed.
Over the course of the study, the project team of the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and consultants worked closely with city officials, community and business groups, and individual members of the public to identify goals and objectives for the study and a range of alternatives that would be analyzed. This outreach took the form of technical groups and public meetings in which the project team learned about the options that were preferred by a variety of groups. Members of the public suggested several new alternatives, which the project team then added to the study. In all, the project team evaluated 19 alternatives, which are discussed in detail in Section 2 of this report.
The evaluation of the alternatives was based on the ability of the alternative to meet several key objectives identified by the project technical advisory committee and the general public. The 10 key objectives of the study are to:
- Accommodate future traffic volumes without significant deterioration in peak period traffic operations
- Improve traffic operations on M Street NW during congested periods
- Improve pedestrian access to Georgetown businesses, parking facilities, and the future waterfront park
- Improve transit operations
- Improve vehicular access to Georgetown businesses, parking facilities, and the future waterfront park
- Improve urban design and the visual environment by minimizing the presence of visual barriers at the waterfront
- Avoid impacts on water resources
- Avoid disruption to existing land uses
- Maximize public participation to develop transportation improvements that are supported by the community
- Avoid impacts on historic structures
With these objectives in mind, the project team established a set of criteria to evaluate the alternatives. The 28 criteria are divided into categories: 1) meeting key study objectives, 2) minimizing transportation impacts and traffic, 3) maintaining neighborhood character, and 4) minimizing cost. Details about the study’s evaluation process are described in Section 3 of this report, and the evaluation results are presented in Section 4.
Section 5 of the report describes the results of a traffic simulation and impact assessment that was conducted for the best performing alternatives from the evaluation. Section 6 summarizes the key findings of the study and the next steps for the project.