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Thread: Getting from Arlington to DC

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bentbike33 View Post
    On the DC side, there is an elderly, sad, and neglected asphalt path from the downstream TR Bridge sidepath to a crosswalk that can eventually get you to the south side of Constitution Ave. You can see it on satellite view and zooming to street view on Google Maps. From some directions, it is easier to get to than the upstream TR Bridge sidepath as I discovered one day trying to find the upstream sidepath from the south (I eventually had to cross the GWMP, including hoisting my bike over the fake stone wall in the median, to get to the MVT).
    I sought out this bridge's seldom-seen downstream-side path from the DC side today, and saw that "elderly, sad, neglected asphalt path" first hand. It begins its tortured course from Constitution and 23rd and does make it to the bridge...but much is to be desired on the overall state of things. Improvements to both sides are needed if this is to be used to relieve bicycle-flow pressure on other crossings and not just be relegated to the hardiest of urban-explorer bike adventurers.

    Improvements to both sides of the downstream-side path are needed if it is ever to be used to relieve bicycle-flow pressure on other crossings and not just be relegated to those with the hardiest of urban-explorer bike adventurer instincts and confidence. With so many stakeholders involved and the slow movement of bureaucracy, who knows when this might happen.

    My impression of the downstream-side path: In a word, it appears to me the worst option of any Arlington-DC crossing, comparable in some ways but definitely inferior to the already-problematic upstream-side path. A shame, because as bentbike33 mentions, clearly someone at some point did put the effort to put in paved trail from 23rd and Constitution to the bridge's downstream-side path.

    Specific issues with the downstream side, as viewed from an approach from DC:

    [1] Safety: The same issues the upstream side has low railings and narrow path -- narrower even that the upstream side at certain chokepoints around streetlamps; [2] Multiple highway crossings once you descend onto the DC side; I think about three; [3] Some pothole issues all along the neglected connecting trail, including a major pothole right as the DC 'over land' portion begins, just as the path it begins its descent -- this pothole is situated such that it may not be visible from someone incoming from Virginia, and seems sure to cause injury at an unacceptably high rate as is; [4] No connection to the Rock Creek Park trail right below despite that being, it seems to me, a potentially better cheap drop-off than forcing the cyclist to make three slow highway crossings, loop around all over the place, and inch the way to 23rd and Constitution.

    I did not follow the bridge to the Virginia side because I already knew the most significant problem of all from bentbike33: [5] It dead ends on the Virginia side and does not connect to the MVT or streets without more dashing across highway.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bentbike33 View Post
    I'm guessing this sign on the TR Bridge downstream sidepath is actually a practical joke.
    Hah, so it actually says "End" in the middle of the bridge. Implied: "You're on your own after this; lotsa luck." Thanks a lot, guys!

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    Nice ideas. No surprise that astute people have been making this observation for years. How many years? I see from Wiki that the Roosevelt Bridge opened in 1964; Anyone know how the long the (highly inadequate) sidepaths have existed as is? Can it be they are original, vintage 1964, highly-user-unfriendly paths?

    ____________________

    Dream scenario :

    A nice and wide, pedestrian- and bicycle-only permanent connection of the Arlington street network with Roosevelt Bridge's downstream sidepath, along with comparable DC-side upgrades to finesse an easy cross to Constitution and 23rd St intersection via a bicycle-oriented overpass (no highway crossings), and for good measure a finessing of medians or whatever on the bridge itself to give a few more feet of sidepath -- and decent guardrails.

    Google Map seems to show a straight shot, short crow-fly distance from the Netherlands Carillon area to the terminus of the now-disused (sadly wasted potential) downstream side of the bridge. A short 750 feet from the low-traffic Iwo Jima access road to the point Google Map thinks is the Virginia-side terminus of the path, now a dead-end to nowhere in a field surrounded by highway. That is a tantalizingly short distance. As things are today, there might as well be a fifty-foot wall there now what with the jumble of high-speed roads mashed up in that area.

    This dream scenario means: A quick (direct), safe (no car dodging at all between Netherland Carillon area and Constitution and 23rd), commuting-oriented (relieving pressure on the theoretically-recreational Mount Vernon Trail) connection from North Arlington to NW DC at last. Build it and they will come, as that one movie said. I would guess that perceived difficult crossing the river is the primary deterrent to thousands more from bicycle commuting.

    (I see this was apparently proposed by a commenter at that WashCycle post from 2015, to which the site owner said there is something in the works for the sidepaths circa 2021, but he isn't sure what it may be.)

    I can see a 'veto' on this dream-scenario proposal, even if a magic wand could be waved to put it in tomorrow at no cost, for several predictable reasons. it would put more DC-commuter bicycle traffic through the Iwo Jima Memorial area and potentially past Arlington Cemetery, and for the historic views issue others have raised (which I honestly don't really understand; there are noisy and wide highways everywhere around these so-caled historic zones, do they not detract from all the historicness?). Then there is the strong belief, from some corners -- not from the Arlington side but from federal people seems more likely -- that bicycles are best dealt with by segregating them off onto relatively limited-access trails. (Finally, there is the potential NIMBY-type fear that criminally inclined from that side of the river could use such an easy walkable crossing to target people or homes in the high-rent residential area behind Iwo Jima and beyond in Arlington, an area that is, as of now, cocooned off to an extent by the GW Parkway as a natural wall)

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  5. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yule View Post
    Dream scenario
    Here's a bigger dream. They call off the major work on the Memorial Bridge, ban cars and turn it into a pedestrian/cyclist bridge the way Nashville did with the Shelby Street Bridge.

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  7. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bentbike33 View Post
    I'm guessing this sign on the TR Bridge downstream sidepath is actually a practical joke.
    I dunno. Here's its companion:
    Name:  tr southside bike sign.jpg
Views: 99
Size:  12.9 KB


    (FYI - this was taken walking to Obama's first inauguration. The TR Bridge was closed to vehicular traffic, making it possible for me to take this photo of the sign that I had been noticing for years.)

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  9. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by zsionakides View Post
    If we're only fixing one of the barriers on the TR bridge, my vote is for the one on the water side. That's a long drop with little chance of survival. At least on the highway side, the cars might slam on their brakes to avoid or limit the impact.
    But the one on the water side comes up to one's torso. Less chance of falling over it.

  10. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve O View Post
    I dunno. Here's its companion:
    Name:  tr southside bike sign.jpg
Views: 99
Size:  12.9 KB


    (FYI - this was taken walking to Obama's first inauguration. The TR Bridge was closed to vehicular traffic, making it possible for me to take this photo of the sign that I had been noticing for years.)
    That one is on the same light pole as the "END" sign, but the Google Street View picture of it is obscured by something on the camera lens. An elaborate, but unfunny, practical joke.

  11. #18
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    dasgeh is offline Queen of Family Biking & All Things Kidical
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yule View Post
    Google Map seems to show a straight shot, short crow-fly distance from the Netherlands Carillon area to the terminus of the now-disused (sadly wasted potential) downstream side of the bridge.
    Yes, this is what WABA has been calling for, and what will (hopefully) make it into Arlington's Bike Element.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yule View Post
    I can see a 'veto' on this dream-scenario proposal, even if a magic wand could be waved to put it in tomorrow at no cost, for several predictable reasons. it would put more DC-commuter bicycle traffic through the Iwo Jima Memorial area and potentially past Arlington Cemetery, and for the historic views issue others have raised (which I honestly don't really understand; there are noisy and wide highways everywhere around these so-caled historic zones, do they not detract from all the historicness?). Then there is the strong belief, from some corners -- not from the Arlington side but from federal people seems more likely -- that bicycles are best dealt with by segregating them off onto relatively limited-access trails. (Finally, there is the potential NIMBY-type fear that criminally inclined from that side of the river could use such an easy walkable crossing to target people or homes in the high-rent residential area behind Iwo Jima and beyond in Arlington, an area that is, as of now, cocooned off to an extent by the GW Parkway as a natural wall)
    These are not reasons that folks in Arlington resist bridges like this. In fact, TONS of people bike past Iwo Jima to use the 110 trail to get to Memorial Bridge. I did it last night.

    The main reasons this won't happen quickly are:
    1) Cost.
    2) "Viewshed."
    3) Cost.

  12. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    But the one on the water side comes up to one's torso. Less chance of falling over it.
    Maybe if your on a recumbent or BMX bike it comes up to your torso. On most bikes your waist is going to be above that railing.

  13. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by zsionakides View Post
    Maybe if you're on a recumbent or BMX bike it comes up to your torso. On most bikes your waist is going to be above that railing.
    As much as that railing feels uncomfortable, no one has ever been blown off their bike into the river--even on the windiest of days. One would have to actually leap off to get high enough to clear the railing.
    I am not arguing that it's good, just that the perception of the danger is higher than the reality.

    I would love to see either or both side railings moved off the horizontal surface to widen the walkway/bikeway.

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