Last month, the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the 14th Street Bridge Corridor was released and it keeps several 14th Street Bridge area improvements to the bicycling network in play. Possible improvements include improvements to the existing bicycle/pedestrian facility on the George Mason Memorial Bridge, construction of a new separate crossing over the Potomac River connecting the Mount Vernon Trail south of the George Mason Memorial Bridge with the waterfront area in Southwest Washington, DC., integrated and coordinated wayfinding signing and construction of trails and sidewalks in areas where there are gaps
Though the option of keeping a new bike/ped Potomac River crossing was retained, some of the specific locations for that bridge were eliminated. A bridge downstream of Long Bridge was eliminated even though it scored quite high; higher, in fact, than all of the retained options. Also eliminated was the proposal to widen the Mason Bridge, or build the crossing between the Rochambeau Bridge and the Williams Bridge. Instead the study focuses on building it between the Williams Bridge and the Fenwick (Metro) Bridge.
Mason Bridge improvement option.
This is more of an idea than a detailed plan at this point. The drawings show only the current trail and note that it should be improved. One can assume this would mean widening the trail connections and removing some obstacles on the DC side, but at this point they haven't done the detailed study. The cost of this is only ~$350,000.
New Potomac River Crossing
The original proposal placed the bridge just upstream of the Fenwick Bridge. But after discussions with the steering committee the option was revised to place it between the Fenwick Bridge and the Long Bridge so that it could tie into the proposed bridge to Long Bridge Park - creating one continuous bridge from DC to Long Bridge Park with access to the MVT.
The typical section of the bridge would consist of a 16-foot wide shared use bicycle/pedestrian path. The bridge length would be approximately 2,500 feet, with tie backs on a slope of 12 percent, for safe landings. The bridge elevation would be at a height of 30 feet above the mean low water elevation.
Virginia side of new Potomac Avenue Bike/Ped crossing action alternative
A new 16-foot wide crossing, especially one that ties into Long Bridge Park directly, would be a real benefit to those biking between DC and Arlington, and, at $26.8M (the most expensive action alternative carried forward) it is certainly a bold proposal, but I wonder if this bridge couldn't be a bit bolder. On the DC side it drops one off at the island of East Potomac Park, which is fine if one is going upstream via the Inlet Bridge. But if going northeast via the Outlet Bridge or east via the Case Bridge, it makes for a roundabout trip. Better would be to continue the new Potomac River bridge along the north side of the railroad tracks over 395 to Ohio Drive on the other side of the Island. If one wanted to get really ambitious it could be continued along the RR all the way to Maine Avenue or even to 12th Street. That would be very ambitious and would probably require buying land and tunnel space from CSX,.
As for a less ambitious proposal, the DEIS includes an appendix on just the trail bridge to Long Bridge Park. I didn't see a cost estimate for this, perhaps because it would be paid for by Arlington County?
Integrated and Connected Bike System
This option would cost $214,000 and would
create 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 would be added in areas where there are large gaps. South Fern Street, from the south parking lot of the Pentagon to the Army Navy Road across I-395, the Army Navy Road, and a small section of 12th Street would be upgraded to accommodate bicycles and pedestrians. This upgrade would improve the bicycle/pedestrian connection between the trail along west Washington Boulevard and the Pentagon City bicycle network.