Likes Likes:  13
Dislikes Dislikes:  0
ELITE ELITE:  0
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Help! Getting from Curtis Trail to Union Station

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2022
    Location
    Arlington
    Posts
    2
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Help! Getting from Curtis Trail to Union Station

    ADVICE NEEDED:
    I would be VERY grateful for any suggested routes from Curtis Trail to Union Station with safety and speed in mind.

    BACKGROUND:
    I'm working up toward a bike commute from Ballston to my office near Union Station. I did a test ride Saturday. Curtis Trail was great, but getting across the city was a nightmare. I was either in a 2mph slog among cherry blossom loving tourists or nearly getting myself killed riding on the edge of traffic on Constitution Ave. I stumbled on the bike lanes on Pennsylvania Ave. for a quarter mile which offered a brief reprieve.

    Thank you!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    Arlington
    Posts
    129
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    That's partially my commute route. You might try continuing south on the Mount Vernon Trail, instead of crossing the river on the TR. Then cross Memorial Bridge on the south side, and follow the wide sidewalks along the Reflecting Pool, and around the Washington Monument. Then you're on Jefferson Drive down the Mall. One-way, very little traffic in the mornings. That takes you to 3rd St.

    To reverse the process to go westbound in the pm, take Madison Dr. along the Mall. Madison gets a little more crowded in the afternoon, but it's all low speed auto traffic. Filter through that mess. Just watch out for runners and pedestrians who will dart out between the stopped cars.

    Good luck!

  3. Likes viennabiker, Judd, ArlingtonVA, Steve O liked this post
  4. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    DC
    Posts
    38
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Cross town riding

    Quote Originally Posted by ArlingtonVA View Post
    ADVICE NEEDED:
    I would be VERY grateful for any suggested routes from Curtis Trail to Union Station with safety and speed in mind.

    BACKGROUND:
    I'm working up toward a bike commute from Ballston to my office near Union Station. I did a test ride Saturday. Curtis Trail was great, but getting across the city was a nightmare. I was either in a 2mph slog among cherry blossom loving tourists or nearly getting myself killed riding on the edge of traffic on Constitution Ave. I stumbled on the bike lanes on Pennsylvania Ave. for a quarter mile which offered a brief reprieve.

    Thank you!!
    Welcome to the world of bike commuting. Sometimes there is a bit of a tradeoff between safety and speed and sometimes not--but my impression is that the tradeoff seems especially strong when riding cross town. There is a gradually growing list of choices (Pennsylvania Avenue, as you discovered; L Street/M Street; Virginia Ave all have kinda protected bike lanes) which might make you feel more comfortable. But some are used as delivery lanes; they don't always link up; and riding them in rush hour can be very different from riding them on weekends; riding some of them when cherry trees are in bloom can be especially challenging). Here are three suggestions beyond the Memorial Bridge one just posted by arlcxrider that I don't know but sounds like it might be best for you):

    1. You could follow Custis (not Curtis, by the way) to the connection with the Mt Vernon trail (easy enough just by following the trail down the hill after crossing Lynn Street), cross by the Jefferson Memorial following the path to 15th Street, up 15th Street and then following Jefferson Drive the length of the Mall. It has issues (the "Intersection of Doom" at Lynn street; the long boardwalk (slippery when wet; thus the nickname "Trollheim"--where the trail divides going south with the right hand going west over the TR bridge and the left proceeding south); 15th Street (no bike lane); and Jefferson (no high speed traffic but no bike lane).

    2. You could go over Key Bridge; go down to Water Street (underneath the Whitehurst), then to Virginia Avenue perhaps to G Street (a bit of a challenging turn from Virginia Ave but not usually a lot of traffic) where you can cross town. Downsides here? Getting from Key Bridge down to Water Street (either ride on M Street to Wisconsin or going down one of the smaller streets and carrying your bike over the stairs over the C and O Canal); and riding by the White House in which any option you pick may be subject to closure) and then picking an option east of the White House (perhaps using the Pennsylvania Ave lanes you already found).

    3. Some combination of the two: Follow Custis down the hill but go right at the fork to cross the TR bridge and then come out at Virginia Ave near the Kennedy Center, following that to G Street (or perhaps taking Virginia under the tunnel at 23rd street to E Street and then proceeding East to cross town near the ellipse). I find crossing the TR bridge easy but unpleasant--you're right next to high-speed traffic, separated by a guardrail; the path is narrow and you have to slow to a crawl if someone is coming the other way.

  5. Likes ArlingtonVA liked this post
  6. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Dupont Circle
    Posts
    560
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by viennabiker View Post

    1. You could follow Custis (not Curtis, by the way) to the connection with the Mt Vernon trail (easy enough just by following the trail down the hill after crossing Lynn Street), cross by the Jefferson Memorial following the path to 15th Street, up 15th Street and then following Jefferson Drive the length of the Mall. It has issues (the "Intersection of Doom" at Lynn street; the long boardwalk (slippery when wet; thus the nickname "Trollheim"--where the trail divides going south with the right hand going west over the TR bridge and the left proceeding south); 15th Street (no bike lane); and Jefferson (no high speed traffic but no bike lane).
    One small correction to this. There is now a protected bike lane on 15th Street starting at the Tidal Basin.

  7. Likes chris_s, viennabiker, ArlingtonVA, Serdar liked this post
  8. #5
    baiskeli's Avatar
    baiskeli is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    2,591
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ArlingtonVA View Post
    ADVICE NEEDED:
    I would be VERY grateful for any suggested routes from Curtis Trail to Union Station with safety and speed in mind.

    BACKGROUND:
    I'm working up toward a bike commute from Ballston to my office near Union Station. I did a test ride Saturday. Curtis Trail was great, but getting across the city was a nightmare. I was either in a 2mph slog among cherry blossom loving tourists or nearly getting myself killed riding on the edge of traffic on Constitution Ave. I stumbled on the bike lanes on Pennsylvania Ave. for a quarter mile which offered a brief reprieve.

    Thank you!!
    We have almost the same origin and destination. You've already received good advice, so I'll offer to ride in with you some day. I'm sure others here might join you too.

  9. Likes jrenaut, ArlingtonVA liked this post
  10. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2022
    Location
    Arlington
    Posts
    2
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Thank you all for the amazing advice. I'm going to scout these routes and will provide an update in the coming weeks on what's working. Really appreciate the help!

  11. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    DC
    Posts
    38
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ArlingtonVA View Post
    Thank you all for the amazing advice. I'm going to scout these routes and will provide an update in the coming weeks on what's working. Really appreciate the help!
    And if you keep at it, some years from now you'll be able to go halfway across town on K Street: https://www.washingtonpost.com/trans...et-transitway/

    It isn't happening overnight and there are still problems with delivery trucks in bike lanes, drivers unsure/unaware of how to share the road with bicyclits, and other obstructions), but DC seems to me to becoming steadily more bike friendly.

  12. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Pentagon City in Arlington VA
    Posts
    5,656
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    IMO - the Memorial Bridge/Mall option is likely the fastest except during high tourist season. All the others have traffic lights at virtually every block.

  13. Likes Judd liked this post
  14. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    The banks of Lubber Run
    Posts
    494
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Key, M/Pennsylvania, 15th, E Street

    These are not difficult urban routes. You will be acclimated after a dozen trips.

    M Street is much calmer and slower since the streateries have cropped up in the parking lane in Georgetown.
    Pennsylvania between Washington Circle and the White House is a ghost town of wide open lanes. Almost no cars.
    Pennsylvania at the White House is a car free plaza, must be prepared to detour when closed.
    15th Street protected bike lane for a block
    E Street across town is a low speed flat easy ride

    I'm Ballston to DC Waterfront but happy to detour sherpa you to Union Station the first few times. alsatian dot felix at the gmail.

  15. Likes Serdar liked this post

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •