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View Full Version : Route Advice Requested: National Mall to Route 50 and S. George Mason in Arlington



KeithInHillEast
05-14-2015, 04:03 PM
Hello!
I am thinking of riding to work and wanted to get some route advice. I previously commuted from Capitol Hill to Crystal City but now am employed near the intersection of route 50 and S. George Mason Dr.

Does anyone know a nice way to get from the mall over to the bike trail that runs along route 50 and ultimately to S. George Mason Dr? Google suggested a route across Arlington Memorial bridge and through Arlington Cemetery but I wasn't convinced that's the best route. Can anyone confirm or suggest another way?

Its about a 9-10 mile commute one way that I am looking forward to.
Thanks
8604

lordofthemark
05-14-2015, 04:16 PM
Hello!
I am thinking of riding to work and wanted to get some route advice. I previously commuted from Capitol Hill to Crystal City but now am employed near the intersection of route 50 and S. George Mason Dr.

Does anyone know a nice way to get from the mall over to the bike trail that runs along route 50 and ultimately to S. George Mason Dr? Google suggested a route across Arlington Memorial bridge and through Arlington Cemetery but I wasn't convinced that's the best route. Can anyone confirm or suggest another way?

Its about a 9-10 mile commute one way that I am looking forward to.
Thanks
8604

The route you show does not go through the cemetery, but skirts around it. It is eminently doable - I, not particularly fearless or strong rider, did it once http://bikearlingtonforum.com/showthread.php?7879-Tell-me-about-the-Memorial-Bridge

If the riders more knowledgeable about North Arlington see this before tomorrow AM, you will probably get some better info.

Emm
05-14-2015, 04:21 PM
Hello!
I am thinking of riding to work and wanted to get some route advice. I previously commuted from Capitol Hill to Crystal City but now am employed near the intersection of route 50 and S. George Mason Dr.

Does anyone know a nice way to get from the mall over to the bike trail that runs along route 50 and ultimately to S. George Mason Dr? Google suggested a route across Arlington Memorial bridge and through Arlington Cemetery but I wasn't convinced that's the best route. Can anyone confirm or suggest another way?

Its about a 9-10 mile commute one way that I am looking forward to.
Thanks
8604

I used to take that route almost every day to Rosslyn from DC--it's a pretty route and not too tough. Just be very careful crossing the roads on either side of Memorial Bridge (aka make sure cars in BOTH lanes stop to let you cross before you start moving). You wont actually enter the cemetery proper--you're mostly on NPS land since they run the land the Iwo Jima memorial is on.

Enjoy the hills--the one right before the Netherlands Carillon was the bane of my existence for a good month before I learned how to drop gears correctly ;).

DismalScientist
05-14-2015, 04:35 PM
The part on the map looks fine up to 50 and Pershing. IMHO, the paths on either side of 50 suck west of Pershing. I would suggest taking Pershing street from the end of the southside Arlington Blvd trail all the way to George Mason rather than attempting the paths along 50.

KeithInHillEast
05-14-2015, 04:47 PM
Thanks everyone this is all great advice. :cool:

baiskeli
05-14-2015, 07:51 PM
I've done this route many times. Just rode it home Wednesday.

Stay on the south side of 50 to catch the trail. The trail starts at an off-ramp - cars will be coming off 50 right at you, fast, so be careful when going from road to trail. You'll see what I mean.

Like Dismal said, once you get to Pershing you can cross 50 and follow it to G. Mason, just north of 50, and turn left. You even pass a bike shop on the way.

dasgeh
05-14-2015, 08:19 PM
I did the reverse of this commute whenever I do/did preschool drop off (so from the church on the switch corner of 50 and Mason, last year it was to the Capitol, now just to the Vietnam). In the eastbound direction, I recommend taking the trail along the south side of 50 (start on the 50.access road.by fsi, then get on the sidewalk/trail by the CaBi station) until right after Glebe. Turn right after going down the little hill past the Glebe intersection and take that to 2nd Street South. That will put you into Fort Myer - you have to have photo id to get in. Then you should turn left at the 3 way stop and right at the next stop sign to get onto the cemetery. BEST COMMUTE IN DC runs down the cemetery and out onto the Memorial Bridge.

In the other direction, you can't come up through the cemetery, and you can't get onto fort Myer from Marshall Drive unless you are military or a federal employee (in which case cut through the base again). If you're not able to go through the base, your route looks good. I take 7th and 5th Streets through lyon park and Ashton Heights over Pershing to avoid some hills and traffic but I'm usually biking with kids when I'm in that area.

bobco85
05-14-2015, 08:50 PM
This is a route I take frequently although not on a daily basis (I live in the Buckingham neighborhood). I would go with the south-side Route 50 trail -> Pershing route with the options of using the neighborhood streets (7th St and 5th St) once you cross Washington Blvd as dasgeh recommends if you feel like riding on low traffic residential roads over the moderately trafficked Pershing Dr. Pershing Drive is wide enough that even with a fair amount of drivers, there's still enough room for them to pass you without you having to ride in the door zone.

Here's a map (I mapped between Lincoln Memorial and Arlington Hall in case you're wondering about time estimates) with some notes I added.
http://bikearlingtonforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=8606&stc=1

Notes on this map:

the ramp having right-of-way (NE red circle) is at Rolfe St
the ramp crossings at the Washington Blvd/US-50 interchange have very poor sightlines, and drivers do not expect anyone to be crossing the ramps, thus they are dangerous
2nd St S has bike lanes/sharrows between Glebe Rd and Fort Myer, so it might be an option if you're heading back into DC (use George Mason Drive -> south side US-50 sidewalk -> Old Glebe Rd -> 2nd St S)

Brendan von Buckingham
05-15-2015, 09:34 AM
I second all those maps. The route is very manageable. I've been doing it daily (inbound in a.m.) for 3 years.

One tricky spot not mentioned is near the Arlington Cemetery Metro station. Your route will put you on the southside sidewalk of Memorial Avenue. There isn't a better option. Traffic coming off George Washington Parkway have a stop sign, but half of them only look left and roll the stop sign not even thinking that traffic or pedestrians from the right is a possibility. You must make eye contact with drivers and be certain that they stop before you cross. Even cars that stop are only looking left and hit the gas again after a split second. After that spot you have your first chance to cross to the proper side of Memorial Ave.

The route between Rolfe Street and Pershing is the new Fort Cass bike trail. It's much better than the bike trail on the other side of 50, but bobco85 is very correct. You must use extra caution at Rolfe since oncoming traffic coming off of 50 has the right of way and coming fast. It's easier inbound, but still a unique enough intersection you have to pay attention inbound too.

Pershing is very comfortable for cyclists. You'll have it down in 3 or 4 passes. Don't be afraid to take the lane on your frequent downhills; at least stay out of the door zone.

Between Thomas and George Mason there's a pedestrian tunnel under 50. I assume it goes to the Arlington Hall Station campus. That would let you avoid the left turn off of Mason.