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Thread: Eisenhower Ave Connector to Ballston

  1. #1
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    Default Eisenhower Ave Connector to Ballston

    Hi all,

    Looking at a potential job change which would switch my commute from Eisenhower Ave Connector to Crystal City (easy on bike trail/metro path) to Eisenhower Ave Connector to Ballston. Any tips on that commute? Looks like it would be about 13 miles if I stay on my current commute but switch to W&OD and take Bluemont Junction. There seems to be a 9ish mile option if I head straight north with a mix of Holmes Run Trail and roads. Any tips?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    The Alexandria folks will be able to speak to this more, but the shorter Holmes Run and roads option might be tricky. I recall some stream crossings through the Holmes Run area, and many of the roads between there and Ballston are fairly hilly. Both instances might be fine for a weekend ride, but troublesome when commuting (especially with luggage). That said, they may know secrets.

    At least with the WO&D its smooth, car separated, sailing, with a gradual elevation rise heading too Ballston, and downhill coming home.

  3. #3
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    I live near the Holmes Run Trail (Sanger Ave/Beauregard St a.k.a. "Mark Center" area), work in Ballston, and bike commute every weekday, so I'm your guy for a good route!

    One important thing to know about Holmes Run Trail: due to construction of a new bridge just downstream from Van Dorn St, the section of trail between Beauregard and Ripley St is closed off, and an on-road detour is in effect. I factored that in for both routes. Another important thing: unless you go the longer but flatter way to the east (Commonwealth Ave or Potomac Yard Trail), you're going to have to climb 2 hills (first out of the Holmes Run Valley, second out of the Four Mile Run Valley).

    These 3 routes represent multiple sections you can use to build a preferable commute:
    1. https://goo.gl/maps/ubVSGt69iHk - (9.8 miles, 58 minutes) - this uses the Holmes Run Trail a little longer with Chambliss St to get onto Seminary Rd just as it becomes George Mason Dr; once on there, it's an easy mostly downhill ride to the W&OD then Bluemont Junction Trail
    2. https://goo.gl/maps/BqNfpSq6WHU2 - (9.0 miles, 56 minutes) - this uses Pegram St (long but not steep hill) to get to Seminary Rd, cross the pedestrian bridge over I-395 to get to Beauregard St where you'll have a nice downhill to the W&OD; crossing US-50 (Arlington Blvd) on Henderson Rd which becomes Quincy St
    3. https://goo.gl/maps/nywaHgZ3HsF2 - (9.6 miles, 60 minutes) - this route eschews most of the Holmes Run Trail and takes you through Fairlington and Shirlington to get to the W&OD, but there is one steep hill on Howard St you'll have to deal with - (use this on Wednesday mornings so that you can come to Hump Day Coffee Club at Best Buns in Shirlington!)


    Btw, for heading to Ballston, I rank the routes in terms of rider comfort as 1, 2, 3, but for returning from Ballston, it would be 3, 2, 1. Beauregard St and George Mason Dr are both great when you're riding downhill with traffic, but drivers aren't as nice when you have to go uphill.

    Hope this helps!

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  5. #4
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    I'd guess the straight shot on the W&OD would be almost as fast as trying to navigate the other option.

    (Plus I will earn another toll payment).

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    This is the way that I would go:

    https://goo.gl/maps/EQfq8i2Z5Zp

    I would add two Hains Point laps though.


    In seriousness all three of Bobco's routes are good. With three options, you also have the opportunity to mix up the commute a bit, which a few folks on the forum do.

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judd View Post
    This is the way that I would go:

    https://goo.gl/maps/EQfq8i2Z5Zp

    I would add two Hains Point laps though.


    In seriousness all three of Bobco's routes are good. With three options, you also have the opportunity to mix up the commute a bit, which a few folks on the forum do.
    I was just driving past that weird wiggly bit you got there at the Eisenhower connector the other day and wondered about it. It's this weird series of ramps that go to some mysterious area hidden behind huge faceless concrete fortress walls. Like if the gates to Mordor were designed by a stuffy bureaucrat in the 90s. Gonna have to check out what lies behind there some time.

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  9. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeprosyStudyGroup View Post
    I was just driving past that weird wiggly bit you got there at the Eisenhower connector the other day and wondered about it. It's this weird series of ramps that go to some mysterious area hidden behind huge faceless concrete fortress walls. Like if the gates to Mordor were designed by a stuffy bureaucrat in the 90s. Gonna have to check out what lies behind there some time.
    Clermont Ave. and its surrounding neighborhood lie beyond the ramp/stairs. Decades ago, before Metro, I believe Clermont Ave. used to connect with Eisenhower Ave. at this point.

  10. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeprosyStudyGroup View Post
    Like if the gates to Mordor were designed by a stuffy bureaucrat in the 90s.
    I've ridden through there. You nailed it.

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  12. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeprosyStudyGroup View Post
    I was just driving past that weird wiggly bit you got there at the Eisenhower connector the other day and wondered about it. It's this weird series of ramps that go to some mysterious area hidden behind huge faceless concrete fortress walls. Like if the gates to Mordor were designed by a stuffy bureaucrat in the 90s. Gonna have to check out what lies behind there some time.
    Here are a few photos of the connector

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    Looking south towards the connector

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    The view from the top of the connector looking north

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    The sound wall

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    Beyond the sound wall

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  14. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starduster View Post
    Clermont Ave. and its surrounding neighborhood lie beyond the ramp/stairs. Decades ago, before Metro, I believe Clermont Ave. used to connect with Eisenhower Ave. at this point.

    Metro was not a factor. It is about a 1/2 mile from the ramp/stairs.

    The Beltway was completed in this section in 1965 and likely severed whatever the connection was between Fairfax and Alexandria. In 1980, Alexandria requested that an interchange be built to connect the Beltway to the yet to be built Eisenhower Avenue (Eisenhower Avenue was completed in 1985) and to extend up to Duke Street. The interchange connection from the Beltway to Eisenhower Avenue was completed in 1997. The connection to Duke Street was never completed after years of arguing over where it should connect on Duke Street.

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