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Thread: Bike lane for Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park

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    Default Bike lane for Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park

    New to this forum, so hello everyone. I was wondering if there anyone knows if there has ever been consideration to building a bike only lane next to Beach Drive. There are bike commuters on that road every day and I bet there would be more if there were a dedicated bike lane.

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    Welcome! Tell us a little more about yourself. What kind of commute do you have and what is your usual bike?

    I bet there would be a lot more bike commuters if there were more facilities for cyclists, especially separated facilities!

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    Thanks Tim. I infrequently bike from Chevy Chase to Chinatown on a circa 1999 Marin San Anselmo via CCT. I would like to start commuting via bike more regularly and using a bike to run errands, so I am looking at getting an Edge Runner this fall. I think a cargo bike will meet my needs real well.
    Like a lot of people, I used to ride a lot (circa 1999) and got out of habit. I think it is time to get back into it. The few bike lanes that have been installed in DC are an improvement to what we had when I was a frequent rider.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rotund Baker View Post
    New to this forum, so hello everyone. I was wondering if there anyone knows if there has ever been consideration to building a bike only lane next to Beach Drive. There are bike commuters on that road every day and I bet there would be more if there were a dedicated bike lane.
    Most of Beach Dr. parallels the Rock Creek Trail, which is unmaintained and unrideable for much of its length. Beach Dr. itself is too narrow for bike lanes, and the presence of what's left of the trail is probably seen by the powers that be as a good excuse for not widening Beach to accommodate a bike lane.

    I commute every day on Beach between the Beltway and 355/Grosvenor, and it's really not too bad during rush hour. I've also commuted through the city to Virginia on Beach and the trail, and Beach isn't too bad until you get down to Broad Branch where traffic gets a lot heavier, and you have to choose between angry drivers and potholed and cratered trail. I ultimately gave up that route and find it safer to ride through the city on regular roads.

    There was a lot of talk a few years ago of closing off Beach Dr. in DC to motor vehicles, but the proposal was shot down. Too bad, that would have created an ideal cycle commuting route from Silver Spring and points north.

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    PotomacCyclist is offline I spend all day thinking about bikes and talking to people on the internet about them.
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    There was also discussion about repairing and widening the Rock Creek Park trail a couple years ago. The National Park Service issued an Environmental Assessment and sought comment from the public. But it doesn't appear that there has been much action on the plan since late 2011. I have no idea if NPS still plans to pursue this project.

    http://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectH...rojectID=34546

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Hole View Post
    There was a lot of talk a few years ago of closing off Beach Dr. in DC to motor vehicles, but the proposal was shot down. Too bad, that would have created an ideal cycle commuting route from Silver Spring and points north.
    Oh how beautiful that would have been!

    As it is, I pretty much avoid Beach (at least the section between Broad Branch/Blagden intersection and East-West Highway) except when it's closed off on weekends. Around rush hour it's non-stop angry drivers and the exhaust seems to settle down there (especially on humid days) which makes for a singularly unpleasant experience.

    It would actually add a few miles to my commute (Takoma to Arlington), but would be much more zen than my current route through Manor Park, Petworth, Columbia Heights and Adams Morgan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dsilly View Post
    It would actually add a few miles to my commute (Takoma to Arlington), but would be much more zen than my current route through Manor Park, Petworth, Columbia Heights and Adams Morgan.
    Sounds like my route before I started working in North Bethesda: Piney Branch -> 13th -> Colorado -> 14th -> Columbia Rd. -> Ct. Ave. -> Fla. Ave -> P St -> through G'Town to Key Bridge. Really not a bad route, especially in the AM. PM could get a little tricky due to some narrow, crowded roads, but at least I didn't have to stop once a week or so to fix a pinch flat or to bolt something back on after the trail rattled it off.

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    I commute daily through Rock Creek Park from Dupont Circle to Silver Spring. I take the trail to Broad Branch, then Beach Drive the rest of the way. Fortunately, since I'm going against the main flow of commuter traffic, I rarely have more than a dozen cars pass me. It's been quite a while since I last encountered an angry driver, but there are plenty of careless or impatient drivers.

    As for the reconstruction of the trail, according to the District of Columbia FY 2013-2018 Transportation Improvement Plan, work will start in 2014 and go through 2015. If only the NPS would do any remedial work on the trail like grinding down buckled pavement caused by tree roots, filling potholes, repairing the crumbling edges, etc

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Hole View Post
    Sounds like my route before I started working in North Bethesda: Piney Branch -> 13th -> Colorado -> 14th -> Columbia Rd. -> Ct. Ave. -> Fla. Ave -> P St -> through G'Town to Key Bridge. Really not a bad route, especially in the AM. PM could get a little tricky due to some narrow, crowded roads, but at least I didn't have to stop once a week or so to fix a pinch flat or to bolt something back on after the trail rattled it off.
    Yeah, very similar. I'm 3rd -> Kansas -> 13th -> Columbia Rd -18th -> Fla Ave then follow the rest. It isn't bad in the mornings, but given the option I'd rather go through the park down to G'Town sans traffic.

    Quote Originally Posted by DCAKen View Post
    ...It's been quite a while since I last encountered an angry driver, but there are plenty of careless or impatient drivers.

    As for the reconstruction of the trail, according to the District of Columbia FY 2013-2018 Transportation Improvement Plan, work will start in 2014 and go through 2015. If only the NPS would do any remedial work on the trail like grinding down buckled pavement caused by tree roots, filling potholes, repairing the crumbling edges, etc
    Good karma for you! I get aggressively honked at/yelled at to get off the road and on the trail on the section between Garret Park Rd and E/W Hwy. pretty much at least once every weekend riding Beach. I've also been forced off the road and hashed the drive train on my race bike when I chose dumping into the curb over fighting for road with the car in that section (Which could be part of the problem. I was trying to be nice and not take too much road, someone tried to pass on a section they shouldn't have. Lesson learned, no more Mr. Nice Cyclist on those sections.).

    While I tend to avoid trails/MUPs (I've had more issues shiny-side-down problems on them due to oblivious walkers/dog walkers/families, etc. than I have on roads) it would be nice to have more stretches (if not the entire thing) redone on Beach like the tarmac they laid last summer on the short section of hill just North of Sherill...
    Last edited by dsilly; 08-22-2013 at 11:10 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dsilly View Post
    I was trying to be nice and not take too much road
    I think one of the reasons why some cyclists complain of too close passes in the park is that they ride too close to the curb. My general practice is to ride about two feet away from the curb, usually where a car's right tire would be. This mostly prevent drivers from trying to pass with oncoming traffic, but there is the occasional idiot.

    Quote Originally Posted by dsilly View Post
    it would be nice to have more stretches (if not the entire thing) redone on Beach like the tarmac they laid last summer on the short section of hill just North of Sherill...
    Yes, this short stretch of smooth pavement going up the hill to Wise Road is so nice. It's too bad that the worst pavement on the road is on the right side, where we cyclists usually reside.

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