View Full Version : Getting around Greenbelt (the good, the needs improvement, and the ugly).

03-14-2011, 10:40 AM
So I've started playing with a handlebar camera to illustrate rides. First efforts were to show some recreational rides (http://www.vimeo.com/20492595) in my area and illustrate some commuting routes from Greenbelt to DC (http://www.vimeo.com/20608189).

I'm still learning about how to edit all this raw video down, and how to put in captions and voice-over narration, so that it's easier to track the route while viewing. One thing I want to do eventually is create some shorter highlights videos to give local officials and planners sort of a bike's-eye view of some the areas around town where small improvements could make a big difference right away (like improving the area around Greenbelt metro drive), or where they need to take a radical re-do approach to planning (like along Greenbelt Road).

Anyhow, I took a couple rides this weekend to show some of the best and not-so-best areas around town.

Video 1 shows getting from old Greenbelt to the metro station (metro entrance at about 4:00 -- no bike lanes), the options for getting toward College Park via the Lake Artemesia road or the Indian Creek trail (starts around 14:00), and the pretty awful pedestrian and cycle-scape along Greenbelt Road in the Beltway Plaza area -- starts around 19:40).

Video 2 shows getting from Beltway Plaza back to Old Greenbelt (hint, take Ivy Lane and the connector trail to the 201 crossing at Crescent Road), the Spellman Overpass (over the BW Parkway to Greenbelt East, starts at about 16:45), getting to the Post Office (about 20:00) and Greenway Center (21:45), and the Northway/single track unofficial connection from Old Greenbelt to the Goddard Space Flight center access road (30:45 and featuring an unintended dismount and four-letter word).

Video 3 features a clip-in slip and accidental groin bang on the top bar (beginning), shows the Eleanor Roosevelt HS pedestrian crossing (3:00); the Schrom Hills Park area (about 8:20), and the difficulties with access to the Greenbelt National Park (which by the way is nevertheless a great place to ride -- starts about 24:45).

04-13-2011, 02:06 PM
Thanks for the virtual ride. It would help those unfamiliar with the route to possibly sketch it in google maps.

You seem like an excellent person to ask about commuting in Greenbelt. Starting in August, I'll be living in Alexandria and working at Goddard. I'm hoping to take the Metro to Greenbelt Station and keep a bike there to get to work, but the few times I've been there, Greenbelt Rd seemed very unfriendly to bikes. Could you suggest a route that is safer?

Thanks again,


04-14-2011, 04:42 PM
Yes, absolutely. Here are a few thoughts. I don't actually work at Goddard, so I'm not sure of the entrance system. First, I'm pretty sure there are some available lockers at Greenbelt (expensive, though -- $200 a year). Try to request one on the Greenbelt side (not the College Park side), if possible. The lady who runs that program for Metro was very nice. Second, I recommend avoiding Greenbelt Road. As you know, it is extremely bike hostile -- more like Greenbelt speedway. There are lots of good posts on access to Goddard by bike at Thewashcycle.com (blogger works or worked at Goddard I think).

Here are several options:

1. Ivy Lane and connector trail to Crescent Road, Spellman Overpass, and a short stretch of Greenbelt Road to the front entrance. From the Greenbelt metro exit road, go left on Cherrywood Lane, and right on Ivy lane. Just before the bank, there's an access road, which then extends into a narrow paved trail down to Crescent Road by the entrance to the state highway department office. Cross 201 at the light, and follow Crescent Road to Garden Way and straight on to the Spellman overpass trail. Then, take a left on Hanover and a right on Mandan Road to get to Greenbelt road fairly near Goddard. The middle video above show the Ivy Lane to Spellman overpass section of this route starting at about minute 9:00.

2. Long way around through the farms. Coming out of the metro, take a left on Cherrywood, then a left on 201 (it's a high-speed road but has some shoulder and lots of cyclists use it). Then a right on Beaver Dam road and a right on Soil Conservation service Road.

3. Unofficial Northway single track. Take the 201 crossing at Crescent as under the first option, but take a left on Northway, and continue on to the dirt road. At the end, there is a single-track (wide tires only or walk) path that gets to the off ramp for the Goddard employees entrance. The dirt part of this route is shown on the middle video starting about about minute 31:00.

04-15-2011, 02:28 PM
Thanks so much! Option 3 looks like it puts me right into the employee's entrance. Perfect.