View Full Version : Video showing design flaws of the Washington Boulevard path in Arlington

11-13-2011, 11:35 AM
TheWashCycle posted a video that someone took while riding on the trail and sidewalk on the eastern side of Washington Blvd., going south from Arlington Memorial Bridge to the Pentagon parking lots and Columbia Pike. The cyclist provides commentary and spotlights the many problems with that path. You can't really call it a trail because much of the route is on a sub-standard sidewalk, which is bumpy and far too narrow for two-way bike traffic.

I hope that the county, the Pentagon and the National Park Service coordinate to improve this route and transform it into a real trail. As I pointed out in a different thread, the crossing of Washington Blvd. just to the south of Memorial Bridge can be tricky. The other road crossings are poorly designed as cyclists are forced to make sharp 90-degree turns. The sidewalk cut-outs are insufficient too.

The stretch along the sidewalk needs to be redone. It should be widened and paved to create a smoother surface. The section on the bridge over Rte. 110 needs a lot of work.

I agree that the southern part of this path is fine, on the stretch near the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial.


P.S. This path is not the same as the Washington Boulevard Trail that is being planned between Columbia Pike and 2nd St. S., on the west side of Arlington National Cemetery.

11-14-2011, 06:58 AM
I don't think it was originally designed as anything other than a sidewalk, certainly not a mixed-use trail. The southern portion, around the Pentagon used to be a sidewalk, too. What's there now, is a result of the post-9//11 rebuilding.

I've never had a problem passing runners and non-tourists, but I use a bell and then call out. (Every now and then, I've encountered some tourists who just stand there and look at me, without moving.)

The worst part of the "trail" is the portion just before and after it crosses over Rt 110. Without widening the bridge, there is not an easy solution, since ground drops quickly away on both sides, but it need the most work.

Taking the trail in the direction he takes it, south, I don't find those ramps to be a big problem. (The heaviest traffic is the one at Memorial Bridge.) As he mentioned, they are all worse, traveling the other direction, when you have to look back to see traffic. While I do not dismount at the ramp crossings, if you stop and dismount, you can get a clear, unhurried view of each crossing and walking (or running) across does not take much longer than riding (if you stopped). If you only want to slow down and not actually stop, much less dismount, then they are a problem. Could the actuall crossings be better? Yes, but I don't think they were designed with cyclists in mind.