Robert Thomson: I wish bicyclists did not have to cross the parkway at grade level. The crosswalk is dangerous for them and for drivers. My recollection of the rules is that drivers must yield to cyclists, or pedestrians, in the crosswalk, not those waiting to cross. Parkway drivers should be following at a safe distance, but let's be real: They're not expecting the car ahead to stop suddenly.
GW Parkway Crosswalks: The last accident I was in (I only have had 2) was because a pedestrian wanted to cross the GW Parkway and the SUV in front of me decided to stop for them. This happened on a weekend when the Parkway was going along at or above speeds. Since I was in my Honda Civic and could not see through the SUV in front of me, I had no way of knowing that it was going to stop to let someone cross. it was lucky that I realized in time so that the damage to my car (none to theirs) was only slight. This is a terrible place to have these crosswalks.
Robert Thomson: Yes. It's also a good argument for traveling at the speed limit on the parkways, which were not designed for high speed traffic.
Crossing the GW: Doc - the problem with crossing is the classic chicken or the egg situation. If you stand and wait for a chance to cross you can be waiting for a very long time. If you put your foot in the cross walk, you're officially crossing and cars may have to come to an abrupt stop any way. Given the excessive rate of speed a lot of cars go on the GW, it is hard go to calculate how far a car should be before attempting to cross. Has the Park Service ever considered a pedestrian overpass in some places?
Robert Thomson: There is a ped/bike overpass in Rosslyn, right? I wish there were more and that no one had to take his or her life in hand by using a parkway crosswalk.
I too would like to see more grade-separated crossings (I picture tunnels). That led to this which Dr G gets wrong.
Alexandria, Va.: Speaking of the GW Parkway - are bicyclists allowed to ride along the parkway itself instead of using the Mt. Vernon trail? I see this a lot lately and it kind of irks me because there is not much shoulder so cars have to move to the left to get around which seems awful selfish given that there's a perfectly good bike trail right there. Am I allowed to drive my car on the Mt. Vernon trail if I decide that suits me better?
Robert Thomson: Last time I checked, bikes were still banned from the parkway. I think this vexes bikers on the southern end of the parkway. They chafe at the speed limit on the Mount Vernon Trail, and some would prefer to be out in the regular travel lanes on the parkway.
Bikes are are not allowed on the Parkway within the Beltway. From the 2007 Code of Federal Regulations Compendium for the Parkway (some good poor reading)
It seems awful selfish to be unwilling to share the right lane when there is a perfectly good left lane right there.
See the conversation in the comments. Why they don't just say "Bicycling is prohibited on the George Washington Memorial Parkway" I'll never know - especially since there are two I-495's despite what the FHWA might say.