Proposed Southside Freeway in Arlington

Here’s an interesting proposal for the Southside Freeway in Arlington, which never came to be. This graphic is from The Washington Post printed on October 7th, 1960. That date, by the way, is when the famous Kennedy/Nixon presidential debate happened, being held at the WRC-TV NBC studios off of Nebraska Avenue.

Proposed highway in Arlington
Proposed highway in Arlington in 1960

Below is an excerpt from an article a couple days later about the Arlington County Board rejecting the proposed highway.

The unanimous vote ended a 3-hour public hearing which produced evidence that most Board members and many citizens questioned the practice of building more highways to handle mounting traffic problems. Strong sentiment was voiced that a mass transit system, with buses and rails replacing individual automobiles, may be the better long-run answer.

Rather than spend $7 million on a freeway which might simply generate more traffic, the Board decided to wait and see what the new National Capital Transportation Agency can do and push for fast improvements on Columbia Pike and Shirley highway as alternate routes.

It would have required condemnation of several homes in the Rolfe st. area and would have sliced off an 80-acre segment of the Army-Navy Country Club.

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

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Aerial view of the Washington Navy Yard, looking east (top). This shot shows the Navy Yard’s borders: M Street on the north (left); the waterfront on the south; 11th street on the east, and 2nd street on the west (foreground). On the right bank of the river is Anacostia, September 1963. NHHC Photograph Collection, Navy Subject Files, Washington Navy Yard. (214).

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  • Froggie

    The proposal didn’t die then, however. It survived at least to the 1969 Northern Virginia Major Thoroughfare Plan, where it was proposed as the “15th Street Expressway”, so named because of its proposed location roughly along 15th St.