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Terpfan
10-12-2011, 12:22 PM
New to bike commuting and quick question on route. I'm taking Mt. Vernon Trail, over 14th Street Bridge, but the directions always want me to loop around the Tidal Basin rather than simply going up Ohio Drive to 15th Street. I realize Ohio Drive is one-way there and i'm wondering if the issue is that sidewalk riding is prohibited there up to 15th Street? (Should add my final destination is just northeast of White House a few blocks off 15th Street).

Dirt
10-12-2011, 12:50 PM
Welcome!

There are a few ways to traverse the area that you're talking about. A lot depends on where you're comfortable riding. When I was commuting on my recumbent trike, my bridge-taking options were reduced because of vehicle width. I tended to take 14th street bridge, hop to the sidewalk next to Thomas Jefferson and follow that around the tidal basin. From there the sidewalks are wide enough that I could ride all the way up 15th street sidewalk (on the west side of the street) past Constitution. Lots of folks ride that on their 2-wheelers.

These days I tend to take the street. Rather than ride the wrong direction on Ohio Drive, I loop around through Hanynes Point and come in through the south, thus I'm not going against traffic. It takes me an extra 3-4 minutes, but it is generally a pleasant ride. I do this all the time when I'm going down to do some intervals at Haynes Point. I've never had problems with traffic and it seems to work pretty well.

Here's what it looks like: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/765633

I see lots of people who ride the sidewalk along Ohio Dr. and then cross over at the crosswalk to take to the street.

Rock and roll!

Pete

KLizotte
10-12-2011, 01:01 PM
Everyone crosses the one way street once they get off the trail and continues along the extra wide sidewalk to go around the Tidal Basin on the eastern side. Some cyclists do go down the street the wrong way a block or two to get to the sidewalk but I wouldn't advise it. You then cross Maine Ave to pick up 15th Street at the lights; again, most people just use the sidewalk to do this route (as I do every day). The only time I run into problems is during Cherry Blossom time when the tidal basin area gets overrun with tourists (in which case I take Memorial Bridge instead). The route is really quite easy and it's nice that you can avoid traffic during rush hour; just be careful of peds who aren't aware that this is a heavily used cycle route so lots of ring-dinging is in order.

Arlingtonrider
10-12-2011, 01:17 PM
Welcome to bike commuting! I use KLizotte's route daily also. It's actually legal to ride on those sidewalks, as shown on the DC and Arlington bike maps. I'd like to try Pete's route, however, on a day when I'm not in a rush to get to work. My commute needs a little lengthening from time to time, especially when it's nice out. Thanks for posting that route, Pete - it looks like a sweet little detour if the traffic is light there.

cephas
10-12-2011, 01:22 PM
I'll echo the sidewalk route, with the note that on the way into the city in the morning, there's almost never a pedestrian problem. In the evening, when there is almost always an overflow of pedestrians on the sidewalks, I'm usually headed out of the city, and since I'm going the same direction as the traffic, I take to the street.

Terpfan
10-12-2011, 06:42 PM
Thanks all

DaveK
10-13-2011, 09:09 AM
I always ride up the sidewalk from the bridge until the mid-block crossing north of the intersection that takes you to Potomac park/Haines Point. I use the crosswalk to get on the street and ride from there up into the city on 15th St. Never had a problem with traffic doing that but I reverse commute, so your mileage may vary.

dbb
10-13-2011, 07:46 PM
When the area is crowded around the Tidal Basin and Jefferson Memorial (typically in the Spring and Summer in the afternoon), I go up on L'Enfant Plaza towards Banneker Circle and take the bike path to the Case Bridge. The connection between Banneker Circle and the bike path needs a curb cut and that has been requested of the District. On the Hain's Point end of the Case Bridge, I ride towards Buckeye Drive (past the bus facility) and towards Ohio Drive by the river. Back towards Jefferson Memorial (with a bit of riding on the sidewalk along East Basin Drive until I get to the cutoff to the 14th Street Bridge. I avoid the peds along the mall and around the Tidal Basin.

Winter is cleaner - Tidal Basin both ways.

Have fun!