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
    [email protected]

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