The National Capital Framework Plan was released earlier this month (accepting comments through October 10, 2008). While it completely ignores bicycling, it's emphasis on making the city more walkable and connected would include many benefits for cyclists. A cursory review of each section is below.
The Northwest Rectangle. This area, constitutes the area north of the Mall to F Street from the White House to the Kennedy Center. The major improvement for this section comes at the DC end of the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge. Instead of forcing cyclists up to Virginia Avenue, the new bridge - which enters into a tunnel - would allow cyclists to connect to a new unnamed boulevard linking the Kennedy Center and the Lincoln Memorial [Note that the sidepath isn't actually shown on any of the drawings, but such an oversight would be unlikely to continue if such a project actually happened - My suggested connections are shown at right]. An additional improvement is the restoration of Constitution Avenue all the way to the Potomac (and, by extension, the Potomac and Rock Creek Park Trail). I'd like to see a more formal connection between the TR Bridge and the P&RC Trail, but I like I said, they completely left it out.
Federal Triangle. Most of the benefit from this comes from removing the fortress-like, grid-killing feel of the area. The plan calls for removing the FBI building and restoring D Street as well as allowing more east-west movement through the Triangle. A redesign of Pennsylvania Avenue to increase street life should include bike lanes and parking (again not stated).
The Southwest Rectangle. This is the area south of the Mall between the Washington Channel and the Center Leg Freeway. Again the main benefits to cyclist would come from reconnecting the street grid by burying the Freeway and the rail line. In addition, burying the rail line allows for the recreation of Maryland Avenue in SW.
East Potomac Park. As DC's unofficial velodrome, East Potomac Park is the place where cyclists will have the most interest. Surrendering the Case Bridge and it's connection across the Washington Channel, cyclists would gain a new vehicular bridge at 6th, a bike/ped bridge at P Street and a Boardwalk connection to the Anacostia Riverwalk near Greenleaf Point - a.k.a the southern end of Fort McNair. A new 14th Street Bridge - we must assume - would carry cyclists across the Potomac. Ohio Drive would be repositioned so that an Esplanade along the waterfronts could be built. The esplanade could serve slower cyclists and the road would remain available for those going fast. A new Jefferson Memorial Metro Station and a water taxi station would provide cyclists with alternative transportation options.
South Capitol and East Capitol Streets. These two sections are notably sparse. Again no mention of cycling. And, I'm not sure why they're so bold in the other sections - decking over highways, rerouting railroads, etc... - and then so conservative here - I suspect it is because it is based on the conservative RFK Stadium Site Plan. Rather than dividing the RFK site with East Capitol and a large monument, the site would be better served by burying East Capitol from just west of the river to 19th Street and also burying the Metro line - and new Oklahoma Avenue Station - from where it now emerges to the east side of the river. The new, contiguous Robert F. Kennedy Park would then have space for numerous recreational facilities and a monument without being interrupted by the constant hum of highway-like traffic. Bicycle facilites could include the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail and a real velodrome. The closest velodrome I know of is the Lehigh Valley Velodrome 170 miles away in Eastern Pennsylvania. If the DC area is going to build one, this is the best spot for it.
While the plan is suitably ambitious for the critical areas it encompasses and would almost surely benefit cyclists, it seems that is more by luck than design. There are few signs of trails, river crossings, on street or off street biking facilities or bike rental areas. The esplanade seems to be the one time anyone even thought the word "bicycle". Even existing facilitiess are often left off. While I don't think this is indicative of a desire to remove these things, it means they aren't taking as holistic an approach as I'd like.
If you have comments, they may be directed to FrameworkPlan@ncpc.gov or to the address below.
National Capital Planning Commission
401 9th Street, NW
North Lobby, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20004
Attention: Elizabeth Miller, Project Manager,
National Capital Framework Plan
Drawings from the NCFP