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Thread: Getting from Pentagon to Mt. Vernon Trail

  1. #1
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    Default Getting from Pentagon to Mt. Vernon Trail

    Hi all,

    Newbie here looking to save money on my way to work. I want to be able to get from the Pentagon up to Courthouse. I'm not looking for the "straightest" route or the shortest, just one where I can avoid being in as much traffic as possible.

    What is the best way to get from the Pentagon bus bays to the Mt. Vernon Trail? Google maps has a route going up S Washington Blvd but I have heard from a commuter that that is not the most practical way. I forgot everything he said, but I recall him saying there is a way using the Connector Road?

    Any good routes, tips, advice, and things to look out for would be much appreciated. Thanks!
    Last edited by gpk; 08-28-2017 at 12:44 PM.

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    To the 14th St. Bridge entrance from pentagon lot via LBJ Grove:
    Turning left on and riding on Boundary Channel is a lil sketch because of nearby highway on/off ramps but this route is the preferred route by most people I know. The entrance from the small parking lot to the bridge to cross over the river into the grove is annoying.


    Via Washington Blvd trail

    This has a lot of dangerous crossings. It gets impassable during winter thanks to snow plows. Try it once just to see what it's like. At the end point you can split left to go to the Memorial Bridge, or go right to cross the parkway -again- and get on the MVT to go north to Rosslyn or South to 14th st bridge and then Crystal city.

    Boundary Channel to Long Bridge Park to Crystal City Connector
    This way seems obscure but it is usually pleasant. Going in the bridge tunnel under 395 feels more dangerous than it is. Watch out for potholes in the road.
    Alternatively you can just head straight down Eads St from the Pentagon into Crystal City, but you have to be brave around buses and heavy traffic to make it out of the parking lot that way.

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    Oh going to courthouse changes things. There's a way to get there that avoids the MVT by going via washington blvd trail to around the south side of memorial circle and then into and around the north east edge of arlington cemetery (like going past the Carillon), but I can't get google maps to fully cooperate on the route I'd like to draw.

    kind of like this:

    You can also get to the washington blvd trail going along the south side of the pentagon and jogging up like you're gonna go into the 9/11 memorial but hugging the left branch of the sidewalk(I did this for years, its fine). But the construction along that bridge there right now is not a pleasant route.
    Last edited by LeprosyStudyGroup; 08-28-2017 at 01:27 PM. Reason: Since it's coming up soon, don't try to bike around the pentagon on 9/11, it's not worth it!

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    Thanks for all this LeprosyStudyGroup! Glad to know there are so many options. I like the looks of the Boundary Channel to Long Bridge Park to Crystal City Connector route. I don't mind going the long way to get to the MVT.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gpk View Post
    Thanks for all this LeprosyStudyGroup! Glad to know there are so many options. I like the looks of the Boundary Channel to Long Bridge Park to Crystal City Connector route. I don't mind going the long way to get to the MVT.

    No real point to doing that if you are going NORTH on the MVT from the Pentagon (IE to Courthouse). I used to use the route via LBJ Grove when I first began bike "commuting" (I took the express bus from Annandale to the Pentagon, then biked to DC via the 14th Street bridge) I was riding an undersized beater mountain bike, I was new to bike commuting, was not in great shape, etc (suffice it to say joggers often passed me on moderate uphills). The only part of the route that was "uncomfortable" was the Connector Road portion (and even that I got used to) - on Boundary Channel I just took the sidepath. And the route LSG suggests to get to Long Bridge Drive from the Pentagon means you need to ride on Connector Road anyway. But by all means, have fun exploring.


    Note, if you are uncomfortable making the vehicular left from Connector Road to Boundary Channel, you can cut through a parking lot and use a crosswalk across Boundary Channel - just be cautious using the crosswalk there.
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 08-28-2017 at 02:23 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    Note, if you are uncomfortable making the vehicular left from Connector Road to Boundary Channel, you can cut through a parking lot and use a crosswalk across Boundary Channel - just be cautious using the crosswalk there.
    Only things that concerns me about that left turn is traffic volume on Boundary Channel Drive around 6:30 - 7 am. Any insights on this? Thanks for the parking lot tip!

    I guess its not that much of a problem if this is the preferred, most practical route to the MVT among commuters?
    Last edited by gpk; 08-28-2017 at 02:49 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gpk View Post
    Only things that concerns me about that left turn is traffic volume on Boundary Channel Drive around 6:30 - 7 am. Any insights on this? Thanks for the parking lot tip!

    I guess its not that much of a problem if this is the preferred, most practical route to the MVT among commuters?
    You are more of an early riser than me - I only get on the bike that early to go to coffee club Never was at Boundary Channel and Connector that early. I do recall making the vehicular left most of the time, but using the crosswalk (where the sidepath comes to an end - and then crossing the little pentagon shaped thingie on the way to the parking lot) on the way home - I guess that was because traffic was lighter in the morning. Or maybe because I found it less awkward making the left from Connector in the morning, than making a left on to Boundary Channel from the crosswalk going the other way in the evening (plus in the evening taking the parking lot meant avoiding taking the lane on part of the uphill on Connector)

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    Personally, I'd take the 27 Trail to the 110 Trail (by the ANC Metro) to the 50 Service Road to Rhodes to 15th, but I'm usually late and want the most direct route. The 27 Trail sucks, but it's not that bad. Until the winter, and then none of your options will be plowed.

    But, yeah, Connector Road to Boundary Channel to Crystal Drive to the Crystal City Connector to MVT is hella scenic. But a lot longer, and not really more comfortable than Connector Road to Boundary Channel to LBJ Grove to under-Humpback-Bridge to MVT. In fact, the latter lets you skip Gravely Point, which may make it more comfortable.

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    Yeah I agree with all that. The traffic volume on connector and boundary channel has never once been more than negligible in my experience.

    The main benefit to go through crystal city is to stop by Tuesday morning and spend time with all us folks at crystal city coffee club in the water park there between 7 and 8 am . Or come to the whole foods in Pentagon City on Thursday same time and say hi

    Area morning cycling commuter nerd coffee clubs list:
    http://bikearlingtonforum.com/showth...432#post159432
    Last edited by LeprosyStudyGroup; 08-28-2017 at 04:48 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gpk View Post
    Only things that concerns me about that left turn is traffic volume on Boundary Channel Drive around 6:30 - 7 am. Any insights on this? Thanks for the parking lot tip!

    I guess its not that much of a problem if this is the preferred, most practical route to the MVT among commuters?
    Hey gpk, welcome to the area! My last posting was at the Pentagon and I would commute to/from there often. The connector isn't too bad at those hours (I usually arrived slightly before then). I would come in from Crystal City along Boundary Channel and found that B.C. was more of a traffic challenge than the connector itself.

    It's a quick dash from the connector to LBJ park and as long as you're well lit, my experience has been that it's a fairly safe ride. Once you're in the park it's an easy trip to the 14th street bridge.

    The Crystal City route is also safe; however, as you pass under the bridge heading toward Long Bridge Park I recommend staying in the left lane as the road is all tore up under there. Once on the east side of the underpass, a few lanes merge into one seemingly ungoverned traffic mess which fortunately never seems too busy. Once you're in Crystal City the bike lanes and sharrows are well adhered to (in my experience). Biggest threats IMO are car doors. Join up with the MVT and enjoy the scenery. I think it'll tack on about a mile or so vs. going through LBJ Park.

    At any rate, no matter which option you choose, odds are you'll see other cyclists nearby and the more I ride in the area the more I realize that most of them are happy to take you on their wheel to where you need to go. Never hurts to do a dry run on the weekend either....

    Again, welcome to the area. This forum got me started in bike commuting and I hope you have many enjoyable rides ahead of you!

    Cheers,
    CT

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