The 14th Street Bridges (a group of five bridges - names are listed here) include a bike lane - on the George Mason that's the farthest downstream bike crossing of the Potomac - until the Wilson bike lane comes online.The group crosses the Potomac to East Potomac Island, but to get off the Island you need to use the Francis Case Memorial Bridge, which carries 395 over the Washington Channel, the Inlet Bridge along the west side of the Tidal Basin or the Outlet Bridge along the east side. So really this is like two sets of bridges.
It would be nice to have a new crossing between the Wilson and the 14th, but completely unlikely. Any bridge south of the Anacostia would need to be a drawbridge. Furthermore, the land on either side is taken up by military installations and the airport. We will have to get by with the hope of a water taxi that allows bikes (as described in the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative or AWI).
There are plans for a bridge downstream of the Case Bridge. Another part of the AWI, the P Street SW Bridge would be a bike/ped bridge from the western terminus of P Street SW to East Potomac Island. This would allow cyclists heading to SW or SE to cross the new bridge onto Buckeye Dr, go down Ohio Avenue and then cross to P Street - a nice shortcut to the baseball stadium for Virginia cyclists. Building this bridge is part of this wish item.
Like the Douglas and 11th Street, the 14th Street has been undergoing an Environmental Impact Study to assess how to upgrade the bridge to meet future (or I could say present) needs. The study is supposed to end in May of 2009, it's impossible to say when any improvements might occur.
1. Widening the existing crossing to 12 feet and improving connections at the abutments.
2. Constructing a new 16 foot wide bike/ped path between I-395 and the HOV lanes.
3. Constructing a new 16 foot wide bike/ped path downstream of the railroad bridge.
In both of the last two options, the existing bike/ped path would become a shoulder.
The ideal bridge improvement - for cyclists - would be 1 and 3 without adding a shoulder. Combined with the P Street Bridge the new span would allow for a shorter and easier connection to SW DC. Leaving the existing crossing with improvements would serve cyclists going north or to downtown. Improving the approaches off the Mason bridge would also remove the awkward turns at the bottom and the tight access on the D.C. side. Creating a smooth flow from the Mason to the Case is difficult considering what's in between them, but the new bridge could help with that.
On the Virginia side, it's time to make the social path off the Mason toward the Humpback official by replacing the present T intersection with an A intersection. When the Humpback is rebuilt it'll improve things considerably as well.
Finally, it'll be key to work any of these improvements in with the bridge that will be built to connect the Mt. Vernon Trail and the 14th Street Bridges to the North Tract. Ideally a cyclist coming from the North Tract would be able to travel straight to East Potomac Park on a parallel path without having to transition onto and off of the Mt. Vernon Trail
To recap (and here's a map):
1. Build the P Street SW Bridge.
2. Build new downstream span with easy connections to Case and P St. SW
3. Widen George Mason sidepath and improve connections at the abutments
4. Create/allow for smooth connection to the North Tract