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Thread: Federal Center SW to Rosslyn (a.k.a., "Help me avoid tourists")

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    Question Federal Center SW to Rosslyn (a.k.a., "Help me avoid tourists")

    Hi all-
    I have a new job down near Federal Center SW (3rd and E St SW), and I'm having some route problems. Getting *to* work isn't the issue - it's fairly easy to go across the Memorial Bridge, down the Mall, Jefferson to 4th. At that time of day the tourists usually haven't left the breakfast buffet yet and Jefferson Drive doesn't have many buses.

    Getting home to Rosslyn seems to be a bit trickier. If I wanted to mimic my AM commute, I'd go back up 4th to Madison, then around the mall, but a) Madison is a complete mess of oblivious tour buses by then, and b) biking back via the Mall is playing tourist frogger. On BTWD, I stopped by the Waterfront/"The Wharf" pitstop, so went home via Maine Ave (!!!) to Basin/Ohio Dr., back to Memorial Bridge and Arlington Cemetery/110. That was quite nice, although the Ohio Dr path itself has some major teeth-rattling root bumps. However, I'd like to avoid Maine Ave at all costs, since the construction and pavement is an absolute nightmare to bike on.

    Any suggestions on how to get me home? Would prefer not to have to use the 14th St bridge if possible, since I'd have to deal with 3 GW Parkway crossings in order to get to the Arlington Cemetery/110 trail. (I live behind Iwo Jima, so this allows me to avoid the Custis/Route 29 crossing/Ft. Myer Drive tunnel of hell route.)

    Thanks all! Happy biking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CykelFlicka View Post
    Hi all-
    Any suggestions on how to get me home? Would prefer not to have to use the 14th St bridge if possible, since I'd have to deal with 3 GW Parkway crossings in order to get to the Arlington Cemetery/110 trail. (I live behind Iwo Jima, so this allows me to avoid the Custis/Route 29 crossing/Ft. Myer Drive tunnel of hell route.)
    .
    I work right by you (I'm at 3rd and C), and I also used to live right where you live in Rosslyn (River Place). Honestly--the 14th St Bridge to the MVT to the Custis crossing is the safest bet, even if it's not the shortest. I did it for a few years, and I tried all the alternate routes and they all were miserable in the summer. Battling the buses and crowds along the mall is do-able, but significantly worse than biking Ft. Myer drive IMHO.

    My recommendation--take the Case Bridge to get to the 14th St. Bridge so you can avoid the crowds and buses on the National Mall. Take the MVT to Rosslyn, cross the intersection of doom, and go left on at Ft. Meyer using the right lane and go up the little hill to the light vs taking the tunnel. It feels WAYYY safer than the tunnel, even if the hill is annoying.

    I'm more than happy to show you how to take the Case Bridge to the Mount Vernon trail one evening since it can be a little tricky to figure out the first time since it requires a quick dismount to get over a sidewalk. I generally roll out around 5/5:15, so let me know if there's a day that works for you.

    Here's a general map.

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    Steve O is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    I've become a big Case Bridge fan, which I now always use going to and from Nationals ballpark.

    I guess I'm not as cowed by the GWMP crossings to get to the 110 trail. I generally have to stop for a moment, but if I just do the Heismann like f148vr, I get an opening pretty quickly. I think 14th St Bridge is definitely better in the summer. No matter how you get to Memorial Bridge, you still have to deal with bus and tourist chaos around Abe.

    Winter, though, is a whole different story. Lots of mall to yourself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emm View Post
    How difficult is that turn from Capitol Square Place onto 9th during rush hour?

    Quote Originally Posted by CykelFlicka View Post
    Would prefer not to have to use the 14th St bridge
    You might try using Emm's route to Case Bridge, then Ohio Dr - 23rd - Memorial Bridge, rather than 14th - MVT. You'll encounter some tourists around the south side of the Lincoln Memorial, but it won't be nearly as bad as crossing the Mall. Yes the trail along Ohio is extremely bumpy, but the roadway is very comfortable IMO. Especially when headed northwest (extra lane, no parked cars).

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    Quote Originally Posted by scoot View Post
    How difficult is that turn from Capitol Square Place onto 9th during rush hour?
    .
    Not bad at all surprisingly enough. I maybe wait a few minutes here and there for a gap, but most days I can cross really fast and easily. I think there's a light or something north of this spot, because there tends to be a bunch of cars, then some long gaps where you can safely cross before more cars come down the road. Plus there is actually a crosswalk a few feet away if you really want to use one, but I've never needed it.

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    When I did the Senate Buildings - Arlington, I definitely switched to avoid the Mall on the way home in the summer. I would take Pennsylvania to the White House, then G to the TR Bridge. A bit out of your way, but possibly worth it.

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    Thanks all! This is really helpful. I was walking on the mall next to Madison this afternoon and thought, "Nuh uh. Too much for me!"

    Wish they'd hurry up with a Maine Ave lane or cyclepath, it seems to be a big missing link from connecting safely to SW! Sounds like that sidewalk curb you have to jump could use a late night sneak attach with a sledgehammer...

    Emm - will do! I usually leave at the same time as well. Tomorrow I have to leave earlier than usual but will try to touch base next week after the holiday.
    Last edited by CykelFlicka; 05-24-2017 at 02:27 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CykelFlicka View Post
    Wish they'd hurry up with a Maine Ave lane or cyclepath, it seems to be a big missing link from connecting safely to SW!
    You wouldn't know it from the mess of the construction, but Maine Avenue was redone several years ago to widen the sidewalk and reduce the eastbound lanes from 2 to 1 between the exit to I-295 and approximately the fish market. But that work seemed to occur before cycletracks and protected bike lanes were a thing in DC, unfortunately.

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    I ride Madison daily and honestly don't think it's that bad. Sure there's lots of tourists and tour buses, but the speed limit is 15mph. With all the cars/buses trying to park traffic is often at a stand still, but there's plenty room for someone on a bike to get around.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930AZ using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by bentbike33 View Post
    You wouldn't know it from the mess of the construction, but Maine Avenue was redone several years ago to widen the sidewalk and reduce the eastbound lanes from 2 to 1 between the exit to I-295 and approximately the fish market. But that work seemed to occur before cycletracks and protected bike lanes were a thing in DC, unfortunately.
    Back then we had Water Street parallel to Maine, a great choice for people new to taking the lane.

    The planned PBL will come in 2020, at the earliest I am afraid. They seem to want to complete the development first.

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