The Papal Visit might affect your bike ride

The Pope is visiting DC next week, and everyone’s bracing for transportation chaos. Your bike ride may well be affected. DDOT has a set of maps at, but there’s not much useful information for bicyclists.

Pertinent points are:

  • Roads that are closed to cars are also closed to bicyclists. Note that this also means you won’t be able to walk your bike through the restricted areas.
  • Bikeshare stations inside closed area will be inaccessible, but there will be Bikeshare corrals at major papal events.
  • Don’t lock your bike to temporary security barriers.
  • Expect crowds of people on foot, including lots of folks from out of town, so be polite and cautious.

Here’s a day-by-day breakdown:


Starting Tuesday and continuing through Thursday, Masschussetts Ave NW around the Observatory will be closed. DDOT’s recommended detours to Wisconsin or Calvert & Cathedral are probably your best bet.Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 10.00.19 AM


Avoid the area around the White House and Washington Monument entirely if you can.

  • You will definitely not be able to connect from the 15th St NW protected bike lane to the Pennsylvania Ave lanes.
  • To get across town East-West, your best bet is probably the L & M St Protected Bike Lanes, though there may also be intermittent closures on M Street at 17th during the morning.
  • North-South, you’ll be able to reach the Memorial Bridge from the West side of the Lincoln Memorial, although 23rd St is not a particularly bike friendly street.
  • Also North-South, the 14th St Bridge will be open, but the popular commuter route up 15th SW to Jefferson St SW will be closed. The lowest-stress detour is probably to take Maine Ave to the 4th St SW bike lanes.

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 10.00.38 AM

Major connections will also be closed around Catholic University and in the Brookland and Edgewood neighborhoods.

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 10.01.26 AM

Most notably:

  • The section the Met Branch Trail along John McCormack drive from the Brookland Metro to the Taylor St Bridge will be closed. For through traffic on the trail, we recommend Taylor -> 10th St NE -> Franklin. Note that Franklin St will have extra car traffic as it is serving as the auto detour for Michigan Ave.
    Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 10.49.25 AM
  • If you normally ride on Michigan and Irving to cross from Northeast into Northwest, your lowest stress detour option is to take the Met Branch trail south to R St and head west.
  • the 4th St bike lane from Franklin to Michigan will be inaccessible.


The streets around the Capitol Building will be closed Thursday morning.

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 10.04.13 AM

  • You will not be able to ride through the Capitol grounds to connect from Capitol Hill to the Pennsylvania Ave protected bike lanes.
  • Though Massachusetts Ave will be open, Columbus Circle around Union Station will probably be pretty chaotic.
  • The lowest stress connection from Capitol Hill to downtown will be the bike lanes on 4th & 6th NE and K St through NoMa and Mt Vernon Triangle.

There will also be closures on Thursday around the National Portrait Gallery and St. Patrick’s Church.

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 10.03.38 AM

  • If you normally ride in the bike lanes on G St NW, your best detour is to use the bike lanes on E St NW instead.
  • If you normally ride in the 9th or 10th St NW bike lanes, your best detour is to use the bike lanes on 11th St NW.