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Thread: Best Commute from Upper NW to Downtown DC

  1. #1
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    May 2013
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    Chevy Chase, DC
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    Default Best Commute from Upper NW to Downtown DC

    Looking for advice on the best route from Chevy Chase DC / Barnaby Woods to Penn Quarter. Connecticut Ave or RCP? Any bike friendly streets that will make my commute less dangerous and more enjoyable. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Jan 2013
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    Hi! I have a very similar commute. I take Connecticut Ave to Adams Morgan in the mornings. If you're on Connecticut during rush hour times when the parking restrictions are in place and drivers have plenty of other lanes to pass you in, it can be pretty fun.

    In the evenings I prefer to take side streets to the west of Connecticut Ave. It's a bit longer and hillier, but I'm not that fast on hills and I rarely make it out of work before the parking restrictions are lifted at 6:30 so I feel more comfortable on quieter streets. I roughly follow the bike route with sharrows (you can see it in Google Maps when you hit the bicycling option). I make a few tweaks to that -- the biggest one is that I don't try to take Warren St across Reno Rd, instead I take Van Ness St to 38th St to Albemarle St -- but overall it's a really nice ride.

    I'm afraid I don't have much experience taking RCP -- it's not that accessible from my apartment and I prefer being on streets for my commute.

    Hope that helps!

  3. #3
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    Alexandria (Groveton)
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    I used to live just across Rock Creek Park from you. If I were you, I would probably meander over to RCP and come down Beach Drive down to around the Zoo and then Irving over to 15th St Cycletrack and then all the way down to Pennsylvania and pickup that cycletrack. I forgot the exact road out of Beach. I would have to see it to remember, but I've done that a few times. You don't want to take Beach all the way down because then it will dump you out by the Kennedy Center and that's way out of the way. The 15th St Cycletrack is a good option. 14th St has a lane painted on it, but I find it a little tougher given the frequent bus stops.

    With that said, I've done some background riding there too and 16th St. I would avoid 16th St as drivers seem oblivious. I'm not too sure on CT Ave so I would have to take Oxies word on it. Generally RCP/Beach is very friendly for bikes and aside from getting into/out of the park, the gradient really isn't too bad. Traffic doesn't speed much because of the narrow road and Park Police station. I find the drivers aren't as obnoxious there as other places, probably because they expect cyclists on it.

    Forewarning, I've never done that commute during rush hour.

  4. #4
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    Dec 2010
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    Re: 16th vs 15th vs 14th - Don't ride a bike on 16th. It's just not worth it. 15th is fine northbound if you don't mind the hill at Meridian Hill Park. 15th southbound is SLOW because of the light timing - you pretty much hit every light right as it's turning red. I take 14th south almost every day and it's not terrible. There are a ton of bike commuters on 14th, and cars at rush hour are generally pretty aware of bikes.

    It's currently difficult to do RCP to Irving because of the construction, though I haven't tried in a few weeks, so maybe it's better now.

  5. #5
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    I totally agree on avoiding 16th St. I usually take 17th Street southbound most of the way and then cut over on L St. 17th is a lot faster than 15th but not as hectic as 14th AND you get to ogle cute dogs at the S St dog park. Going north from downtown I usually take 12th, sometimes 11th, and then cut over on R St to 18th. Both 12th and 11th are a little stressful before the bike lanes begin, but not too bad.
    Last edited by oxie; 05-07-2013 at 12:35 PM.

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