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The Achilles' Heel of your #4 is that shoulders are required on Interstates for safety reasons. While you might get away with a reduced inside shoulder (with a waiver from FHWA, but they'll want a very good reason for it), the outside shoulder must remain as-is.

Another thing to consider: a typical Jersey barrier requires 2 feet of width.

And what's worse, this part of I-295 is in Maryland, where rules are not bent to faciliate cycling.

Still, the larger point it valid. There needs to be a long-term plan to eventually make a direct connection between DC and the Bridge Trail that does not involve going up and down the hill, even if it takes another expensive pedestrian bridge to do it. The users would be from all three jurisdictions so if earmarks come back it would be a candidate. But first need to boost utlity of that bridge trail from other directions.

Froggie, you're nothing if not consistent. That is almost the exact same comment you made in 2009. I replied then "If you place (or more accurately center) the jersey barrier 5 feet from the edge that would take a foot from the bike area and a foot from the shoulder (because it's two feet) thus leaving the 4 foot bike area I mentioned."

I'm not sure the shoulder MUST remain as is. As you wrote "variances/waivers can be requested and made."

The width of the right/outside shoulder must remain as-is. If you can convince FHWA of the need, narrowing the left/inside shoulder is what you can get the waiver for.

More realistic is something along the lines of what Jim suggested, which I've heard before...with a trail connection off the Wilson Bridge trail following the edge of the ramp from 295 to the Inner Loop, then bridging over 295 and connecting to the trail in Oxon Hill Farm.

I'd agree now that that is probably the best we can hope for, but I was trying to find the lowest cost solution. THe only impediment is a FHWA rule. And you know what they say about rules...

It's a FHWA rule that has a baseline in Federal law. There's a very robust vetting process involved with trying to get a FHWA waiver. And cost is not one of the allowed considerations.

The shoulder runoff rule is because it's an interstate -- absent any possibility of a waiver, I wonder if there's any possibility of that segment of 295 being removed from the Interstate system (the rest of the road is either parkway or state route anyway) and design control given over to DDOT

also, pandora's box on interstate shoulders was opened when states were allowed to experiment with rush-hour shoulder lanes. Not necessarily advocating, just noting.

Darren, three things.

First, de-designating 295 as an Interstate isn't going to happen unless DDOT is willing to pay FHWA back for the Federal money invested in the road.

Second, much of the segment of 295 in question is in Maryland.

Third, the experiments with rush-hour shoulder lanes either involve the left shoulder (not the right shoulder), or require occasional pull-off areas (such as exists on 66 between the Beltway and Fair Oaks).

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