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Thread: Commuting from Chevy Chase MD to downtown DC (City Center)

  1. #1
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    Default Commuting from Chevy Chase MD to downtown DC (City Center)

    Hello we are looking to buy in Chevy Chase MD (Martinís Addition) and Iím scouting routes to work, most likely thru Rock Creek Park. Looks like I can get down to Beach Drive on the Bingham Drive trail .. and a bike path runs along Beach Drive down to Military ... after that itís either up Morrow Drive (no bike lane) or take Beach or Ross down to Broad Branch where the bike trail picks up again. Iíve only ridden that stretch of Beach once during morning commute and it wasnít great. Any advice on routes?


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    There are many people who ride that route. I did it for 8 years and still do on occasion. Most riders just stay on Beach Drive all the way to where it connects to Broad Branch, then pick up the RCP Trail there. Drivers there are not universally wonderful, but they are pretty accustomed to cycling commuters and generally behave well. The key is to be visible and ride with confidence, and you will be fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crickey7 View Post
    There are many people who ride that route. I did it for 8 years and still do on occasion. Most riders just stay on Beach Drive all the way to where it connects to Broad Branch, then pick up the RCP Trail there. Drivers there are not universally wonderful, but they are pretty accustomed to cycling commuters and generally behave well. The key is to be visible and ride with confidence, and you will be fine.
    Thx! this is helpful ... did you feel comfortable riding that stretch at night (assuming proper lighting etc)?


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    I'm a daily commuter through RCP and instead of taking Beach Drive between Broad Branch and Joyce, I take Ridge Road and Ross Drive. There's more climbing, but practically no traffic at all.

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    The stretch of RCP between Calvert and Pierce Mill has seen a few high profile security issues in the past, though mostly a decade or more ago. I often avoided it more because the trail was so rutted in the past that it wasn't fun in the dark, and so I usually went up through Adams Morgan to do one of several things: hop on the RCP at the zoo (but after the tunnel), hop on the RCP at Porter, or pick up Park Road and then hop straight onto Beach Drive there. So I can't be of much help for that. Not sure where you're picking it up downtown. I'm not sure what the current arrangement is for the trail at the tunnel is. I know it was closed from flood damage, not sure it still is, and I think I remember there being some issues with the zoo not allowing that trail to be used after dark (thus requiring you go through the tunnel). 18th Street in Adams Morgan is fine, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crickey7 View Post
    The stretch of RCP between Calvert and Pierce Mill has seen a few high profile security issues in the past, though mostly a decade or more ago. I often avoided it more because the trail was so rutted in the past that it wasn't fun in the dark, and so I usually went up through Adams Morgan to do one of several things: hop on the RCP at the zoo (but after the tunnel), hop on the RCP at Porter, or pick up Park Road and then hop straight onto Beach Drive there. So I can't be of much help for that. Not sure where you're picking it up downtown. I'm not sure what the current arrangement is for the trail at the tunnel is. I know it was closed from flood damage, not sure it still is, and I think I remember there being some issues with the zoo not allowing that trail to be used after dark (thus requiring you go through the tunnel). 18th Street in Adams Morgan is fine, though.
    The path through the zoo is completely closed since July 2018 and you have to use the tunnel. Eventually it will get rebuilt as part of this project, but it's already been delayed for over a year. Most of the rest of the trail south of Pierce Mill has been reconstructed and widened so it's quite nice. To avoid the un-rehabilitated section of the trail between Porter Street and Bluff Bridge (the narrow bridge near Piney Branch), use the paved side path along side Beach Drive to the Porter Street ramp.
    Last edited by DCAKen; 11-25-2019 at 12:08 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DCAKen View Post
    I'm a daily commuter through RCP and instead of taking Beach Drive between Broad Branch and Joyce, I take Ridge Road and Ross Drive. There's more climbing, but practically no traffic at all.
    Thx! I rode a little bit of Ridge yesterday ... will try that as an alternative.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Crickey7 View Post
    18th Street in Adams Morgan is fine, though.
    It can be fun if you're willing to ride more aggressively, but 18th in Adams Morgan always feels like a clusterfuck to me. I'd imagine it being pretty busy with rideshare drop-offs and pick-ups most evenings or later.

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    I dunno. It's so chaotic that drivers have to be careful and drive slowly. I think order and smooth flow lulls drivers into driving too fast, and on mental auto-pilot.

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    For this reason, I've typically found that streets with a lot of unpredictable activity feel quite safe for cycling. The chaos actually helps, as long as you are not too shy to take the lane when necessary. Some other examples: M Street in Georgetown, 14th St in Columbia Heights.

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