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Ah, the TR bridge. A subject near and dear to my heart, since I bike over it each day to work. Of the four bike-accessible Potomac bridges, the TR is like the red-headed stepchild.

I would vote for fixing up the eminently useful upstream walkway for cycling before turning to the currently useless downstream walkway. The walkways are:

1) way too narrow - It's impossible to pass someone if you get stuck behind them, and even passing someone going the other way requires a near stop. Fortunately (for me) the bridge gets very little bike/ped traffic compared to the others.

2) in lousy condition - lots of debris (including the front end of a car one day) and some pretty annoying expansion joints

3) not for the faint of heart - the 12-inch rails you noted on the highway side, and only about a 3-foot rail on the river side.

That said, the Roosevelt has, in my opinion, the most promise out of any of the bridges, thanks to its location. A direct off-road connection to both the Mount Vernon and Custis trails on the Virginia side, and by far the best route downtown on the DC side. Even during rush hour, the cross streets through GW are very bike friendly.

The one thing I like about the downstream walkway is the bike route sign that is (or used to be) facing towards DC. In other words, some poor sap who wanders onto the bridge is actually encouraged to keep going towards Virginia before abruptly arriving at a dead end in the middle of an interchange.

I just read in the post that they're going to be doing work on the TR. Good call on the river side rails being too low. I completely forgot about that.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/27/AR2005122701108.html?sub=AR

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