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Thread: Beginner question: commuting from Palisades to downtown DC

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    Default Beginner question: commuting from Palisades to downtown DC

    Newbie here--please be gentle... Want to start bike commuting from the Palisades to downtown, near the World Bank. Google Maps produced two options:

    1. CCT via Norton St entrance. 6.1 miles.

    2. MacArthur Boulevard. 4.8 miles.

    So, option 2 would be shorter and likely faster. But should I assume that option 1 would be safer?

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    ShawnoftheDread is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Italian_Kayaker View Post
    Newbie here--please be gentle... Want to start bike commuting from the Palisades to downtown, near the World Bank. Google Maps produced two options:

    1. CCT via Norton St entrance. 6.1 miles.

    2. MacArthur Boulevard. 4.8 miles.

    So, option 2 would be shorter and likely faster. But should I assume that option 1 would be safer?
    Yes, and your ride past Key Bridge and through Georgetown will be much nicer on the cct while you’re still getting used to things. One mile longer is negligible.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Welcome! You'll have lots of company on option 1. It's a great commute.

    After exiting the trail, some people keep straight on K Street into downtown. A larger crowd heads to the intersection of Virginia Ave & Rock Creek Parkway and makes its way into Foggy Bottom up Virginia, with routes from there seeming to vary quite a bit. I find it mostly comfortable, though it might take you a few rides to find your preferred route up (and especially down) Virginia Ave. Usually when going back toward the CCT in the evening, I cross to the south sidewalk around the gas station and then use the pedestrian crossing. I think that's the best way, since that intersection has its quirks.

    Please let us know how it goes! There's a regular coffee group that meets on Friday mornings at Swings on 17th and G, which I wish I could attend more often.
    Last edited by secstate; 01-22-2019 at 10:25 AM. Reason: misplaced (

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    Don't forget there are no lights or stop signs on the CCT, so your average speed will be higher. Honestly, I'd do it just to avoid riding the surface streets through Georgetown.

    Note that L Street is an alternative to K depending where you're going. The cycletrack there is very good till Connecticut.
    Last edited by Crickey7; 01-22-2019 at 10:31 AM.

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    You've gotten good advice so far, and I'd definitely start out on the CCT.

    Quote Originally Posted by Crickey7 View Post
    Don't forget there are no lights or stop signs on the CCT, so your average speed will be higher. Honestly, I'd do it just to avoid riding the surface streets through Georgetown.

    Note that L Street is an alternative to K depending where you're going. The cycletrack there is very good till Connecticut.
    I've found Georgetown is fine in the morning, but less so at night. For the World Bank, the streets south of K are all fine. Just remember that when you're in the middle of GW's campus just before or after class, students seem to treat all streets like the quad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by secstate View Post
    (especially down) Virginia Ave. Usually when going back toward the CCT in the evening, I cross to the south sidewalk around the gas station and then use the pedestrian crossing. I think that's the best way, since that intersection has its quirks.
    I work at GW and as I'm thinking about getting back in the saddle I'd like to try a different route home taking Virginia Ave to the Rock Creek trail then the new PBL along K/Water Streets under the Whitehurst Freeway, up and over the C&O up to Key Bridge. I haven't ridden down Virginia Avenue in rush hour, so I'm curious when you cross Virginia Ave near the gas station do you use the Crosswalk at 27th & Virginia? Google maps doesn't show any pedestrian signal button, do the lights change fairly frequently? Cheers!
    Last edited by Dewey; 01-23-2019 at 05:06 PM.

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    VA Ave westbound is downhill, making it relatively easy to keep up with traffic. I get on VA at New Hampshire and quickly get in the far left lane. Around the gas station there are two cutouts in the divider — it’s very rare that I fail to get through to the opposite sidewalk at one of those. It seemed dodgy the first few times I did it but nearly always works out fine.

    Hopefully the gaps in the divider I’m talking about are clearly visible here (I’m posting from my iPad, which doesn’t always play nice with the forum software):

    Name:  7AC288CD-B65B-4AC9-95FF-94021482D884.jpg
Views: 97
Size:  20.4 KB

    If you’re feeling cautious, there’s always the option of riding to the Kennedy Center and using the stoplight & crosswalk to cross the parkway there.

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    Thanks!

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    OP here. The CCT was indeed great. I tried Macarthur Boulevard, but after 5 minutes changed my mind and went back to the CCT...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Italian_Kayaker View Post
    OP here. The CCT was indeed great. I tried Macarthur Boulevard, but after 5 minutes changed my mind and went back to the CCT...
    Today? What time? Tree fell down on the CCT this morning, and is blocking the whole trail. So you really need to take the Canal Towpath as far as Fletcher's Cove, after which the CCT is again great. (Make the CCT great again?)

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