50 years of Interstates

Today is the 50th anniversary of President Dwight D. Eisenhower signing the legislation that established the interstate highway system, the largest public works project of the 20th century. It reshaped America, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Overall, I will say the former more than the latter.

Recent articles:

  • The Superhighway to EverywhereThe Post
  • Traveling down a road of historyThe Sun
  • U.S. interstate system marks 50 years todayUSA Today
  • Highway System at 50NPR
  • Interstate Highway System at a Crossroads; A Crumbling LegacyABC News

    More on Interstate highways:

  • Celebrating 50 Years: Eisenhower Interstate System
  • International House of Zzyzx Interstate list – the original online interstate list. It appears to be rarely updated though.
  • Interstate-Guide.com – AA Roads, updated regularly
  • 3-digit Interstate Highways – Kurumi.com
  • dcroads.net, nycroads.com, phillyroads.com, bostonroads.com – Steve Anderson

    There are more sites linked from my Transportation section.

    For the record, my favorite mainline interstate is I-95, but you could probably guess that already. My favorite 3-digit interstate is probably I-295 in Delaware and New Jersey, though I have soft spots for I-287 (also Jersey) and . My feelings for our own I-495 are love-hate.

    My favorite on-ramp is from I-80 EAST to I-81 SOUTH, near the old school. If you hit it at the right speed, you get a nice slingshot effect.

    How I would do it

    Just for fun, additions I would make to the interstate system, if I could just draw them on the map and make it real

  • Eliminate I-97 in Maryland, since it is too precious a number for what should really be I-995.
  • Promote MD 32 to I-595
  • Stretch I-95 further south in Florida via the Florida Turnpike. Further north, finish the new connection at the Pennsylvania Turnpike quicker.
  • Make NJ 495 an interstate again. I know it is substandard, but a road as cool as the Lincoln Tunnel approach needs to have more recognition than a state highway number.
  • Bring DC 295 up to interstate standards (along with the I-66 extension) a rename it and the B/W Parkway I-295 all the way to Baltimore.
  • Extend I-93 down MA 3 to Cape Cod
  • Extend I-86 from Harriman to Rye along I-87 and I-287 in New York State, eliminating I-287 through NY State.
  • Extend I-83 from Harrisburg to Rochester, NY along the US 15 corridor. There would only need to be 40 or so miles of construction to pull this off.
  • Promote PA 581 to I-581.
  • Upgrade US 15 south of Harrisburg to I-181
  • Extend I-80 across the George Washington Bridge. The road should literally go from New York to San Francisco
  • Extend I-78 from Harrisburg to State College along US 322
  • Make the Leigh Valley Thruway I-278 between Allentown and PA 33.
  • Make PA 33 something like I-478
  • Extend I-76 along the Atlantic City Expressway. Also, make NJ 55 something like I-576 and extend to the Garden State Parkway in an environmentally sensitive way.
  • Create I-170 for US 340 near Frederick
  • Create I-570 along MD 100 (and the north end of US 29). Close by, MD becomes I-470.
  • Extend I-66 down VA 110, across the 14th Street Bridge, down the SW/SE Freeway across the Anacostia Freeway, up Kenilworth Ave. to join US 50 all the way to Delmarva peninsula. The Roosevelt Bridge portion of I-66 would be come I-166. Falling that idea, create Business I-66 along US 50 in the District and have it become regular I-66 when US 50 becomes limited access in NE.
  • Create I-366 along VA 267 (Dulles Toll Road) to Leesburg
  • Upgrade VA 28 to I-166 north of I-66 once the conversion to limited access is complete.
  • Fix the Hampton Road mess — Move the “eastern terminus” of I-64 to the VA Beach oceanfront, replacing I-264. Extend I-664 from Bowers Hill to the current I-64/I-264 interchange.

    And of course

    Rename i-99 to a more sensible number, like I-470. Del. 1 becomes the new I-99

    Lastly

    Bring back button copy signs!

    Here is fun comment that didn’t get migrated:

    “Can’t you people see? This man wants nothing less than utter control of the entire Federal Highway System!”

    – quote from the unwritten WFY biopic…or perhaps from the equally unwritten WFY/TWH film collaboration, “The Punxatwany Candidate”

    # posted by Blogger T William Harrison : Thursday, June 29, 2006 2:59:00 PM

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  • The Vienna Inn: Just about the same as it ever was

    mugs.jpg

    When I still lived in Vienna one of the places I would regularly take visiting family and friends was the Vienna Inn. They all loved the old tavern for the chili dogs, beer and unpretentious atmosphere. I did too, though they may have even loved it too much as it was frequently the only place they wanted to go. Thankfully, we have a much wider variety of happy hour spots right now, but it is always good to go back to our old haunt like we did last Thursday night.

    The Inn, opened in 1960 by the late Mike Abraham, is frequently described as a dive. Abraham himself called it a “crummy beer joint.” Until about 2000, the place was really a hole, with surly waitresses, a perpetually slamming screen door, old windows, and a ceiling blackened by cigarette smoke. I think this all got replaced after the health inspector informed new ownership, “we were letting Mike slide a little bit, but YOU are going to bring this place up to code.” Even now, following those renovations, the tables are unsteady. The cushions in the booths have needed to be re-stuffed since at least the Reagan administration and don’t count on your fries and dogs coming out the same time. Soda is self service too. The surly waitresses seemed to have disappeared — even the remaining mean one (regulars know who I mean) was no where to be found on Thursday.

    Generally, all of these things I have mentioned rarely make for an enjoyable meal, but it all works because there is an uncompromising authenticity to the Inn. It is a small town gathering place in suburbia, an oasis from the generic sprawl of TGI Fridays, Applebee’s, and fast food joints. The Inn helps set Vienna apart from other Fairfax County communities that are merely a series of intersections, strip malls and gas stations.

    Everything is really cheap too. The Inn’s signature chili dogs with everything (mustard, raw onions, chili, and cheese) go for $1.50. A burger is under $4. Drafts cost no more than $3 and come in frosty mugs. Hot and crispy fries will set you back $2. Budweiser, which the Inn has sold so much of over the years that Annhauser-Busch regularly sent the Clydesdales to the Vienna Halloween parade, will set you back about $1.75. Bud tastes better there than anywhere else too and the chili dogs are pretty special. I have been told the carrot cake is also quite tasty.

    Over the years, the Inn’s casual atmosphere has made it a favorite to people from all walks of life, from the laborer to the executive. It was so popular with CIA staff that Langley banned them from going there because the KGB had discovered it as well — or so the legend goes.

    The Vienna Inn is located at 120 Maple Ave. E (VA 123) in the central part of Vienna. Don’t forget to a designated driver!

    Retconned from Metroblogging DC

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    On top of the Nationals TV rights, does Peter Angelo$ control the weather, too?

    Nationals Prevail in a Washington MarathonThe Post
    When I went to turn on UPN 20 last night around 7:00 to watch one of the few Nats games that Peter Angelo$ allows us to watch in “his” territory, it didn’t even occur to me that the rainstorm I had seen, which was violently crossing Bethesda only a few hours beforehand, would factor into the night’s game. (So brilliant of me, I know.) And when I saw the rain delay announced, I thought, “Lovely! I finally get to watch a game on TV, and it rains! Does Peter Angelo$ control the weather now, too?”

    Thankfully the game got underway around 9ish, and I actually did stay up into the wee hours of the morning to see Robert Fick single into right-field, allowing Marlon Byrd to score the game-winning run (around 12:40 a.m.) that felt strangely reminiscent of Wesley Snipes scoring the game-winning run at the end of Major League. ‘Twas a sweet victory!

    More from The Wash. Times: Nationals win in 12 on single by Fick

    The Lerners’ ugly garagesThe Wash. Times
    Am I the only one who doesn’t care where the garages are placed? Underground, above ground–one way or another, people are still gonna be able to park at the new ballpark! I think the real issue should be whether or not there’s enough parking to accommodate all the fans, because I know from too much experience how hellish it is trying to find a parking spot anywhere in the District.

    Cordero welcomes manager’s challengeThe Wash. Times
    The first line says it all. Bobble-head or not; I, for my part, still haven’t forgiven the Chief for that one.


    Today’s postings brought to you by Deputy Editor Fritz Hamme, who is heralding the glorious return of “Evil” Fritz.

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