In August, Mayor Bowser presented the final design for the new Frederick Douglass Bridge, on which work is expected to begin by the end of this year (or so they say) and complete in 2021. It is one part of the South Capital Street Corridor Project which is the largest public infrastructure project in Washington, DC’s history. A project this large will definitely change biking in SE/SW DC and it's mostly good news. For the bridge, the project includes replacing the 68 year-old bridge and reconstructing the Suitland Parkway/I-295 interchange.
The bridge will connect to the both the East Bank and West Bank Trails of the Anacostia Riverwalk as well as the new South Capitol Street ovals.
The bridge will feature a shared use path with separate areas for bicyclists and pedestrians
And four pedestrian overlooks accessible from the path.
The West Bank Trail will be extended under the bridge where there will also be a performance area.
The project area ends at the heliport so the trail design does too (even though the top image shows the trail passing on the river side of it, DDOT doesn't appear to have figured that part out yet they reported).
On the west side the bridge paths will connect to the ART on both sides of the bridge and also to Potomac Ave SE and R Street SW.
On the east side, the East Bank Trail will now pass beneath the brige on a wide Esplanade near the river,
not a narrow path far from it.
On the east side, the paths will connect to the East Bank Trail on both sides of the bridge, to the forthcoming South Capitol Street Trail and to Firth Sterling Road where it could connect to a trail along the abandoned rail line and to the Suitland Parkway Trail. It will be so nice even Dr. Evil will enjoy using it.
While this design differs quite a bit from the one presented in 2013, it looks like a lot of the cyclist amenities remain the same.
a 10 foot wide two-way cycletrack - separate from the sidewalk and protected from auto traffic by some sort of barrier. And there will be one on each side of the bridge.
Once off the bridge, cyclists will find pretty direct connections to the Anacostia Riverwalk Trails (ART) on both sides of the river and in both directions. On the east side, they'll also get a direct connection to the forthcoming South Capital Street Trail.
DDOT's in the early planning stages for a new Suitland Parkway Trail (at the last BAC meeting they said they were going to start having community meetings on it soon) and is still working on a trail along the old Shepherd Branch railroad.
Add in sidewalk connections to the Anacostia Metro Station and the stadiums and this bridge has the potential to be a bike/ped hotspot - more than it already is.
This will be a big step forward. I commuted over this bridge all summer and the narrow design of the sidepath was a constant source of conflict. At points users have to take turns moving forward. Passing from behind is very difficult and passing head-on often results in one person stopping. Hopefully the construction companies will be gone by 2021 and with them all the sand and debris that piles up on the south sidewalk (DDOT and the EPA have been suing them but, reportedly, they keep losing).
Phase II of the South Capitol Street Corridor Project will improve South Capitol Street from P Street SE/SW all the way to the intersection with the Southwest freeway.