The Connector Road Non-debate

The proposed campus connector road (our update library page) has been lingering in the background since we launched this site, but we finally have something to bring to the table. After weeks of waiting and a lot of persistence, the folks at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center were kind enough to send us a copy of a Preliminary Feasibility Study for the highway. The study was conducted in 1999 and, although fairly small, is one of the few primary sources we can find on the project. It explores 4 proposed alternatives and notes considerations for each: environmental (wetland, superfund sites, endangered species), social & cultural (historic, community impacts), and costs.

We’ll continue to vigorously pursue more information and documentation on this project and post everything just as soon as we can. Indeed it’s difficult for anyone to even have a meaningful debate on the connector road because there is more speculation than information about it.

Preliminary Connector Road Study – Examines highway alternatives to campus.
Transit Corridor Study– Examines a garage at the interchange linked to campus by a bus.

Connector Road drawing

7 thoughts on “The Connector Road Non-debate”

  1. Cutting through the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center appears to more trouble than it’s worth (environmental issues, required Congressional action, neighborhood opposition, etc). I’d propose the road follow the Pepco power line corridor to Metzerot, which it would cross at an acute angle toward the SE, run along the very northeastern edge of the golf course and finally empty out at University Blvd near that little used entrance to Comcast. The road would thus run almost entirely on Pepco and university property, thus reducing the number of bona fide stakeholders with whom to negotiate.

  2. The pepco power cooridor presents a whole slew of other problem. It also is very pricey to move powerlines around.

  3. I think Rob has a point in asking why the funding going to this now and in the future doesn’t instead go to Rt 1. It is also interesting that Eric argues we need both. I have in fact heard it suggested that funding for the two projects be tied together . . . any thoughts?

  4. Interesting idea but considering the SHA is now dividing the reconstruction of Route 1 into 3 sections (to make it not look so expensive) it seems unlikely that you can tie everything together into one massive project. I guess I would say- does it really make sense to build the connector road, rebuild route 1, and build the purple line? It seems you should do the most expedient, economically and environmentally feasible projects first- and the others not at all. The flaw of the connector road is that they disguise it as a solution to safety issues on Route 1. I don’t pretend to be a traffic engineer, but won’t Route 1 be in just as bad a shape with the connector road than without it?

  5. Route 1 is dangerous for people in cars and on foot and the safety issue alone warrants a massive reconstruction. I haven’t read the SHA studies, but is there evidence that an improved Route 1 would alleviate congestion on the road? It’s likely we’d go from a terribly congested Route 1 to a slightly less terribly congested—though safer—Route 1. Improved safety and congestion reduction are both important goals; the latter often aids the former, too.

    Other routes to the Beltway (to go west and to get to 95 north in particular) are few in number. Though I’ve often found that the New Hampshire Ave-Adelphi Rd route carries less traffic, it seems unfair to make the residents whose houses and driveways face Adelphi Rd deal with the immense amount of university traffic. A connector road would presumably relieve a good deal of traffic on Adelphi Rd and relieve some traffic from Route 1, which will face even higher loads as redevelopment in the corridor takes hold.

    That’s primarily why I believe we need both projects. Admittedly, there are other factors I haven’t considered here and any armchair urban planning mini-thesis is fraught with unintended consequences.

    Any thoughts?

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