Posts Tagged ‘trails’
During the oversight hearing for the Bicycle Advisory Committee, the Pedestrian Advisory Committee, and the District Department of Transportation on Mon., March 4, WABA Executive Director Shane Farthing testified on the importance of installing the M Street cycletrack and identifying and prioritizing a cycletrack project to follow M Street, as well as the necessity of completing trail projects like the Metropolitan Branch Trail and the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail.
Read Shane’s testimony below.
In April 2012, Mayor Gray cut the ribbon for the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail bridge on the river’s west side. This was the first of two riverwalk trail bridges planned to pass over the CSX tracks. The second bridge, on the east side of the river, should have been completed this past July. But in January 2013, we still don’t have a finished bridge.
According to the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, the contractor for the project struck an underground object and needs to move or redesign the final few supporting structures. The project is stalled while DDOT and the contractor hash out who pays for the changes. The AWI team says a completed bridge is months away, if not longer.
Completing this bridge will link the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail from the Frederick Douglas Bridge to Benning Road. In 2014, when the Kenilworth Garden trail section is complete, the Riverwalk Trail will link D.C. to Maryland’s Anacostia Tributary Trail System, which is over 50 miles.
We hope DDOT will find a solution soon to complete the bridge.
Over 1,800 bicyclists crossed the 14th Street bridge on Sept.13th, 2011.
That number has no doubt increased by now. Most cyclists riding on the bridge during the morning rush are coming from Virginia to major employment hubs: Federal Triangle, downtown D.C., and Capitol Hill. Those “in the know” riders are conditioned to the fractured connection between the 14th Street bridge and the 15th Street cycletrack. That’s not typically the case with new riders and visitors to the city who don’t know about, or can’t find, this important connection.
The connection between the bridge and the 15th Street cycletrack simply does not accommodate the amount of traffic that crosses it. Improving the connection would also allow cyclists to easily access from the bridge D.C.’s growing network of protected bike lanes outside of 15th Street, including those on Pennsylvania Avenue, L Street NW, and, soon, M Street NW. Extending the 15th Street cycletrack would give cyclists access to downtown bike lanes and multi-use paths on the National Mall.
Three easy projects, described below, would help to better connect the 14th Street Bridge to the 15th Street cycletracks.
Extend the 15th cycletrack one block south, to Constitution Avenue
Currently, the cycletrack on 15th Street NW ends at Pennsylvania Avenue. Bicyclists headed south are dumped onto a wide street with many tour buses and fast-moving traffic. Less experienced riders often choose the sidewalk, which has heavy pedestrian traffic and can be filled with vendors selling T-shirts and hats. DDOT’s original cycletrack plans included an extension one block south, but that was never built. So let’s build it!
Sign the route
The Mall is filled with multi-use sidewalks to view our national memorials. There is plenty of space on these paths that pedestrians and bicyclists can share. But new riders and tourists do not know the bike routes across the Mall. Wayfinding signs, which can explain the bike route for those traveling between the 15th Street cycletrack to 14th Street Bridge, should be installed. Those signs should also tell pedestrians to be aware of the presence of bicyclists. Bicyclists who feel comfortable using the road can still do so, but signing the route would give an alternative to inexperienced riders.
Fix the path to the 14th Street Bridge and multi-use sidewalks around the Tidal Basin
The paved path from the Jefferson Memorial to the 14th Street bridge needs serious repair. The 8-foot width is insufficient, and DDOT long ago placed an interstate sign support directly in the path of trail users. The path needs to be widened to at least 12 feet, and the sign needs to be moved. Also, the multi-use sidepaths around the Tidal Basin, between the bridge, need attention. There are pinch points along desired riding routes, especially at intersection of 15th Street SW and Maine Avenue SW. Fixing these small issues would go a long way for improving the riding experience.
The 14th Street Bridge is a major river crossing for area bicyclists coming to downtown from Virginia. Now is time to finish the connection with a few immediate fixes.
View Connect Virginia Cyclists to DC in a larger map
Last month, we wrote here about DDOT’s failure to provide, via the new 11th Street Bridge, a direct connection for the east and west sides of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail.
Councilmember Tommy Wells’ staff followed up with DDOT to ensure that trail access would be included in the construction of the new bridge. DDOT responded thusly:
To clarify, there WILL be a direct connection from the bridge to the trail on the east side of the river. DDOT will build a temporary path connecting to the existing path (which links directly to Good Hope Rd and the Riverwalk Trail). This is a temporary solution because DC Water will be working on the site long term as part of the Clean Rivers Project. When finished, DC Water will build a permanent ADA-compliant trail in its place.
As for the width of the sidewalk on the bridge itself, there will a 12 foot wide clear space between the railing and the outside wall for bicyclists and pedestrians to use.
Many thanks to DDOT and Councilmember Wells’ staff for their assistance with this important connection for cyclists and pedestrians.
In a few months, DDOT’s largest project to date will be finished without promised bicycle and pedestrian connections built in. The 11th Street Bridges is the largest element in the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative and is a critical way to connect bicyclists and pedestrians from both sides of the Anacostia River. It is also necessary for use of the entire Anacostia Riverwalk Trail.
But the finalized bridge will not directly connect the Riverwalk Trail on both sides of the river to each other. This is a failure.
The 11th Street Bridges project represents a $370 million investment in the regional transportation network. Missing interstate connections are being built to remedy the awful cut-through traffic that communities east of the river have experienced since the first 11th Street Bridges were built over 50 years ago.
The new local 11th Street Bridge is to include a “14 foot sidewalk/bikepath” to connect local communities and the Riverwalk Trails, which run parallel on both sides of the river. The resulting project will be a 14-foot sidewalk, minus the space occupied by lamp posts, streetcar catenary supports, railings and fences—so, effectively, 10 feet or less. And, it will not connect directly to the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail on the east side of the river!
In the project’s current state, bicyclists coming south from the Ward 7 and Maryland (via the new Kenilworth Garden Trail section) wishing to get to Capitol Hill will have an extra and unnecessary route to the bridge. Traveling south along the Riverwalk Trail, trail users will have to bike or walk on-street along Good Hope Road into Anacostia. Then, they will have to turn left at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Good Hope Road onto 11th Street towards the bridge. This circuitous route adds an additional one-third mile of walking or biking to access the bridge from the Riverwalk Trail. The actual distance between the Riverwalk Trail and the local bridge sidewalk/bikepath is about 200 feet part.
The old 11th Street Bridge, which was recently removed, did have a direct connection to the trail along the downstream side. This shouldn’t be lost with the new bridge—because it wasn’t planned to be lost.
Planning for the new bridge began when DDOT completed a Final Environmental Impact Statement in October 2007. The FEIS includes a direct connection between the Riverwalk Trail and the local bridge (see page 60). DDOT chose a design-build construction process to speed up project delivery and stay within a constrained budget. The result of the design-build process has been frustrating for those trying to stay involved.
In June 2012, I contacted DDOT to inquire about the lack of a direct connection from the local bridge to the Riverwalk Trail. A few emails were sent around, with more people copied each time. In the end, there was no answer for the lack of this important trail connection.
At last night’s the Ward 8 Transportation Task Force meeting, representatives from DDOT and the project team were on hand to give a progress report. When asked about why the trail connection was not being built, two answers were given. The DDOT representative said the previous trail connection on the old bridge was “not ADA compliant,” so it wouldn’t be replaced. And when pressed on the fact that the FEIS includes the connection, project manager Pete McDermott said DC Water was planning to dig in the area, so no connection would be built.
The community was promised a world-class waterfront with recreational and transportation amenities, including the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. The construction of the 11th Street Bridge fails to provide the high-quality direct connection between the east-side and west-side Riverwalk Trails it assured from its outset. WABA hopes to see this critical connection completed while this project is still under construction and amenable to improvement.
Arlington County is planning to construct a bike trail connection along Washington Boulevard. The trail would be built on the west side of Washington Boulevard between Route 50 and South Rolfe Street.
Recently, the project has come under criticism from the Penrose Neighborhood Association due to the number of trees that would be impacted by construction. The local blog Along the Pike has complete details of the projects, impacts to the environment and the many health and environmental benefits to come with the bike and pedestrian path.
Your support for the Washington Boulevard Trail is needed tonight at the Penrose Neighborhood Association meeting. A representative from Arlington County will be present to explain the project and answer questions from the community. The local bicycling and trail community needs to have its collective voice heard tonight.
Penrose Neighborhood Association Meeting
Date: Tuesday July 17, 2012
Time: 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Location: Trinity Episcopalian Church at corner of Wayne and Col Pike – Google Map Bicycle Directions
Thank you for your help in creating a more bicycle friendly Arlington County.
NPS Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Alternative Concepts for Gravelly Point and Roaches Run Enhancements
The National Park Service George Washington Memorial Parkway (GWMP) is conducting the Gravelly Point and Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary Environmental Assessment (EA). GWMP is now seeking public comment on alternative concepts intended to enhance visitor access, safety and education for a study area that includes Gravelly Point, Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary (Roaches Run) and a segment of the Mount Vernon Trail.
NPS invites you to a public meeting on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Indigo Landing Restaurant on Daingerfield Island. The meeting is being held so interested public can ask questions, learn more about the alternative concepts for the EA and submit written comments.
This planning effort was initiated in 2008 and included a public meeting and comment period. The alternatives now presented look solely at proposed actions on NPS property including revisions based on public comments and renewed internal scoping. More details about the project, including maps and descriptions of alternative concepts, are available at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/
Public comments will be accepted from May 23, 2012 through June 22, 2012. Comments can be made electronically at the website above. Next steps in the process include further development of alternatives and environmental impacts analysis. There will be further opportunity for public comment when the EA is released which is anticipated later in 2012.