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Thread: How to fix "Deadman's Curve" on the boardwalk near Roosevelt Island?

  1. #1
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    Default How to fix "Deadman's Curve" on the boardwalk near Roosevelt Island?

    Riding down from Rosslyn to meet a friend at Hains Point this morning, I wiped out going around the wacky corner where you have to "turn off" of the Mount Vernon trail to, well, continue on the Mount Vernon trail (just south of the Roosvelt Island parking lot). A little blood on the leg, a big bruise on the hip, and some rather interesting handlebar damage ensued, but nothing that kept me from getting in some laps at Hains.

    But then, on the way back, I learned that it wasn't just my own clumsiness at work: I came across another cyclist who had just fallen and BROKEN HIS ARM in the same place, and watched another cyclist crash (slide out sideways at low speed) while we watched! A sympathetic walker reported that she had seen at least one other crash there just minutes earlier.

    On previous humid days, I've also come across downed cyclists there, usually bruised and/or bloodied but without permanent damage. I always assumed they must have been going at an unsafe speed. Now I'm not convinced at all.

    So the challenge: there MUST be something Arlington / the National Park Service / we as cyclists can do to mitigate the risk on this really insignificant -- yet bloodthirsty! -- corner of trail. When the wood on that boardwalk gets even slightly damp, even a nice, slow ride becomes a gamble. Can the trail be re-designed so 90 degree turns are not required for the majority of cycle/foot traffic? Could we coat the wood planks with a more abrasive or water-repellant surface? Can they just pave the sucker?

    Discuss!

  2. #2
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    All excellent questions. The final answers for which can only come from the National Park Service. I've got a related question for them, actually - what in the world was painting that wood with a slick paint (grey) supposed to accomplish? I mean, that's exactly what I would have done if I *wanted* people to slip and fall on the wood. It was (half) done a couple of years ago, if I recall correctly.

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    Same happened to me and a friend this morning. Luckily no broken bones or bikes though. Any improvements would be great.

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    I suffered a mild concussion in a five-bike wreck on this corner in January 1993. The "black ice" of roads and "bridges freeze before roadways" also pertains to wooden boardwalks, as I learned. No one else was injured. I never understood why this was constructed with a 90 degree turn other than to slow people down in case someone was flying down off Roosevelt Bridge.

  5. #5
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    I've never had a problem with slipping and sliding but have always felt this was a dumb way to set up the trail. Much like what Arlington did along the new 4 Mile Run connector trail after you come under the W. Glebe bridge. Makes for dangerous riding serving no purpose. Seems to me that this forum would be a good place to come up with solutions to present to the Park Service and Arlington County (thinking of both sites). At the simplest, we could think of a way to fix the slipperiness. If it is moss/mildew how about a bucket/brushing of mild bleach and water to kill it and take off the scum? It will take the PS forever to do something and in that time some other cyclist could be injured.

  6. #6
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    Agreed on the 4MR trail at Glebe. Widen it out. and similarly the turn back behind the apartments is 90 degree. Not sure I want to collect a list of 90 degree turns on our trails.

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    I suspect the Four Mile Run intersection is a bit of "traffic calming".

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