If you did the 50 States Ride this weekend you went right past St. Elizabeths West Campus (it was on your right during the first big hill in Anacostia). GSA is preparing a Master Plan for the development of the West Campus as a high security campus for federal agencies. Now DC needs another high security fortress like it needs more politicians, but I'm not going to comment on how nice it would be to have more streetfront retail or public green space. Instead I want to look at how the Master Plan includes cycling. The Master Plan isn't done yet, but a lot of information is out about it.
First I found this statement in the introduction
Bicycles will be allowed access to the campus at each of the entrances following screening.
That's good and one map I found showed a special gate for bicycle and pedestrians. I suspect the gates will be for employees only and not for people who want to get through the campus; which isn't a big loss since the facility is bounded by the I-295/Anacostia Freeway/Shepherd Parkway on one side with the Air Force base beyond that, and is not likely to get a lot of through traffic anyway.
There was a transportation presentation put together, but sadly it didn't mention bicycle commuting as part of its plan. There was this in the minutes from the meeting where the presentation took place.
The presentation included a potential new access route to St. Elizabeths that the consultants are studying. The proposed new route connects Firth Sterling Avenue and Malcolm X Avenue. Its course moves through part of the St. Elizabeths campus near Interstate 295 and part of Shepherd Parkway. The necessity of acquiring land for this new access was noted.
David Murphy, National Park Service, indicated that NPS would have very strong environmental and aesthetic concerns with the effect of the proposed new road on Shepherd Parkway. The road would affect the wooded ridge, the topographic bowl, and the shoreline. He pointed out that Shepherd Parkway is listed in the District of Columbia Inventory of Historic Sites.
The first part of this road would follow the old rail spur to St. Elizabeths (photo is of the rail spur circa 1920), and then connect to Malcolm X Avenue. DDOT was considering this rail spur as a possible bike trail giving access to St. Elizabeths (see recommendation 1.9 of the bike plan). I'm not going to argue with David Murphy at NPS, but I will say that if a road is built, it should be safe for cyclists (perhaps with bike lanes) and if a road is deemed to have too large an impact the same corridor might be better suited for a bikeway - which would still serve a real transportation role for the facility (sitting at a very bikeable 1 mile from the Anacostia metro station), if they include adequate shower and bike storage facilities.