I was looking for something else and stumbled on the project website for future repairs to the Route 7 (King Street) Bridge over 1-395. There I was surprised to find this description:
The five-span structure carries six lanes of traffic, three in the eastbound direction and three in the westbound direction along with a median sidewalk.
That was a head-scratcher for me, because I've been over this bridge many times and do not recall a median sidewalk. So I fired up the google maps, and what do you know...
And there is actually someone - a cyclist no less - using it. But, wow, what a piece of work this thing is. It starts at Menokin Street, where at least it has a curb ramp (though that's probably a bad thing in this case, as its deceptive).
From this point it's about half a mile to Park Center Drive, but I'm not sure how anyone would know that. At first you have this, what, 4 foot wide sidewalk in a very narrow, grassy median; but then it just becomes a concrete median - sloped down no less.
If yoy can brave that, you find another long narrow sidewalk in a "grassy median" offset to the south to allow the plantings to be in the middle, and then this:
It again transitions to a concrete median, but this time even narrower to allow for a turning lane ahead. And then the piece de resistance:
At it's narrowest point, the sidewalk has a street sign right in the middle. And no curb ramp. I hope Grandma didn't push her wheelchair to this point on a hot August afternoon. It's going to be a brutal trip back. And of course, how someone looking at this is to know that this median is a sidewalk or where it goes is beyond me. Plus, that's about as half-assed a crosswalk as one can come up with. That kid riding his bike in the first shot is kind of my hero - he's got courage.
But...this has potential. It's still a bit of a haul to the next closest bike/ped crossing f I-395 at 34th Street/Abindon Street, so if this could be made better, it might have some real utility.
The median is 16 feet wide. So widen the sidewalk into a 10-12 foot path and then lower it down to street level, but leave raised curbs with a hint of green space in them to separate the path from car traffic. Find some way to keep it that width near Park Center, even if that means getting rid of the turning lane. Not much can be done about the shade (unless the 12' wide auto lanes or 4' shoulders can be narrowed to allow for trees), but add in signage letting people know where the sidewalk goes and how far a walk it is. Consider a HAWK light and crosswalk at 30th Street to create an added connection. Yeah, it might slow down some cars, but it would actually make this a bridge cyclists and pedestrians could use.
I'm not sure it's the worst sidewalk in Northern Virginia, but it's a contender. I wouldn't want my kids using it.