L'Enfant Plaza has long served as a much-maligned pedestrian dead zone within the city and it also serves as an important connection for cyclists as the north end of the Francis Case Bridge's active transportation lane (ATL). The National Capital Planning Commission is starting a public examination of L'Enfant Plaza (The 10th Street Corridor Task Force) to transform the area to, among other things, improve mobility. This a great opportunity to correct some of the problems in the study area, bounded by Independence Avenue and Maine Avenue between 7th and 12th Streets, SW, for cyclists.
One improvement would be removing the ridiculous and unnecessary switchback that connects the Case Bridge to 10th Street and replace it with a gradual ramp. From the bridge to the park is 269 feet, and the height difference is 19 feet (as I've measured it). ADA rules require a 12:1 slope, so a gently curving path, with no switchback, should be feasible.
Other possible improvements include
- Add a curb ramp to allow access to the bridge.
- Remove the paving blocks that make cycling on 10th so jarring.
- Create a better connection to Maine Avenue
- Continue the ATL across I-395 down to D Street. There is a sidewalk on the west side of the 12th Street ramp that I can't imagine anyone uses (it doesn't look used). Remove that, and shift the road over to make for a wider sidewalk on the east side.
- There's a sidewalk that serves as the west side exit of the L'Enfant Plaza VRE station and connects to C Street. Continue that sidewalk (and widen it) along the north side of the rail ROW, and connect it directly, via a ramp, to 10th Street. Even better, continue it to 12th or even Arlington.
- Rebuild the weird intersection of F, G and 9th Street SW, so that G Street connects directly to Banneker Circle (if Banneker Circle is even kept, which maybe it shouldn't be).
- Replace the staircase from D to 10th Street with an ADA compliant ramp, or at least add a bike channel to the staircase.
There is a meeting scheduled for Feb 2, from 5:30pm-7:00pm for those who are interested. It's at the National Capitol Planning Commission at 401 9th Street, NW.
RSVPs by February 1, 2010 are appreciated, but walk-ins are always welcome. Please contact us by email or phone at (202) 482-7200 to let us know you're attending, if you require special accommodation, or if you have any questions.