The Long Bridge Replacement and the L'Enfant Plaza redesign are both coming at a time when the areas are being studied by the 14th Street Bridge Corridor EIS and it provides an opportunity to really move some of the projects identified during the EIS Bicycle Workshop. That workshop and other work identified 16 problems identified on this map. These include eight problem areas described in the Alternatives Analysis Report that came out in August.
Seven problem areas have been identified through an analysis of physical conditions of the bicycle trails located within the Corridor. Area 1 is a section of sidewalk on the west side of the George Mason Bridge [in DC]. It is an eight-foot wide, marked bike route (Mount Vernon Trail) which connects bicycle and pedestrian traffic between downtown Washington, DC and Virginia. According to AASHTO, designating sidewalks as bicycle paths is unsatisfactory, except when providing bikeway continuity along high speed or heavily traveled roadways having inadequate space for bicyclists, which is the case. However, there is a lack of pavement marking, poor visibility, and poor connectivity with the intersecting path along East Potomac Park.
Area 2 is along the walkway on the L’Enfant Plaza Promenade. Although this area is identified on Washington, DC’s bike map, there is no signing that would indicate a marked bicycle route at this location or that the route continues north to the National Mall.
Areas 4, 7 and 8 note the absence of a direct and marked trail from areas in the vicinity of Arlington Cemetery, the Pentagon Metro Station, and Pentagon City to the 14th Street Bridge crossing into Washington, DC. Similarly, Area 9 contains a discontinuous section of sidewalk along Maine Avenue which connects poorly with the path along 14th Street.
Area 3 is the Humpback Bridge and is being corrected by ongoing work. Area 5 has been corrected with signs. Other areas noted on the map, but not in the report are
6. Narrow Bikeway under I-395 at North Boundary Drive
10. There is no safe, direct link from the Mason Bridge to the Case Bridge
11. Poor geometrics on Outlet Bridge do not accommodate pedestrian and bicycle traffic
12. Inlet Bridge is too narrow to accommodate bidirectional bicycle and pedestrian traffic
13. Mount Vernon Trail is congested in the project area
14.The proposed Boundary Channel Bridge has no delineated link through Columbia Island to the Humpback Bridge
15. Crossing the Potomac requires a facility with at least 16 feet clear width to accommodate safe bidirectional bicycle/pedestrian traffic flow (WC: A repeat of 1)
16. Throughout the project area, inconsistent bicycle and pedestrian signing system is insufficient, misleading, and poorly positioned for tourist way-finding
Some of the Improvement Options defined to fix the above problems, and decisions about them are:
Improvement Option 1: Construct Double-Decker Bridge (Lower-level Bike/Pedestrian) (Eliminated from further study in level 1 as it would take too long and cost too much)
Improvement Option 4: Construct Bike/Pedestrian Only Bridge
This one was broken up into three options, the third of which was eliminated in Level 2, despite scoring a 4 out of 5 (3 was needed to pass) whereas the other two scored a 3.2 and 3.8 respectively
Improvement Option BP1-A Improve bicycle/pedestrian facility on the Mason bridge by making improvements at each end of the bridge) – This option would improve the roadway areas on each side of the bridge, thereby improving access to the bridge.
Improvement Option BP1-B Construct separated bike/pedestrian crossing (Option 2 Modified*) Downstream of Rochambeau Bridge) – The existing pedestrian access along the west side of the southbound George Mason Memorial Bridge does not adequately address connectivity between the southwest waterfront area of the District of Columbia and the Mount Vernon Trail. A new bike/pedestrian bridge could be constructed between the Metro and CSX bridge to provide access from the Mount Vernon Trail to the southwest waterfront area via the Case Bridge.
The original option consisted of a new separated bike/pedestrian bridge, located a distance of 15 ft to the north of the Arland D. Williams Bridge that would cross over the Potomac River for pedestrian and bicycle accessibility from Virginia to Washington, DC. However, during the workshop participants recommended it be relocated downstream of Rochambeau Bridge instead. Therefore, the modified Improvement Option involves construction of a new bridge over the Potomac River between the Arland D. Williams Bridge and the Metro Bridge. This bridge would tie into Ohio Drive SW, in closer proximity to Buckeye Drive, SW, a Washington, DC signed bike route, as in the previous option.
The typical section of the bridge consists of a 16 ft wide shared use bike/pedestrian path. The bridge length is approximately 2,500 ft, with tie backs on a slope of 12 percent, for safe landings. The bridge elevation is at a height of 30 ft above the mean low water elevation.
This option was presented to members of the Steering Committee on April 15, 2009 and revised to include a bike/pedestrian bridge crossing that would shift the alignment further south between the Metro and CSX bridges to connect to the bicycle plan being proposed by Arlington County and the District of Columbia’s southwest community. The crossing over the GWMP connecting to the bike/pedestrian bridge over the Potomac River was added to this option.
In an earlier comment the NPS noted that they prefer more gradual inclining and straighter ramps, without hairpin turns on the west side of the Potomac River. Such ramps would be less visually intrusive within the park and from the river. This change is incorporated in the current Improvement Option. Preliminary engineering drawings of the current Improvement Option, will be shown in the DEIS.
Improvement Option BP1-C: Construct separated bike/pedestrian crossing (Option 3: Downstream of CSX Bridge) – This option consists of a new separated bike/pedestrian bridge downstream of the CSX (Long) Bridge. Since the NPS and Arlington County prefer IO’s BP1-A and BP1-B to this option, it is not retained for further study in the DEIS
Improvement Options BP2-BP5: Create an integrated (DC-VA-NPS) and connected bike and pedestrian system, including signing for commuters and other destination bikers – There is a need for a common symbol to denote bicycle routes, and all jurisdictions should have an input as to the signing convention. This option creates a single, regional master plan that connects the bicycle and pedestrian master plans of Washington, DC and Northern Virginia. The primary goal of this option is to unify the signing system used for bicycle routes and pedestrian facilities in jurisdictions within the study area. In addition, pedestrian and bicycle routes will be added in areas where there are large gaps.
So one of the bike/ped bridge options could be added to any rebuilding of the CSX Bridge (a.k.a the Long Bridge).