The Department of Defense has submitted an updated Pentagon Master Plan to the National Capitol Planning Commission for their approval. The new master plan is intended to improve security, enhance the quality of life for employees, and address accommodations for visitors to the Pentagon and to the other public facilities located on the Reservation grounds. Naturally, it deals pretty heavily with transportation, and thus cycling and was created in coordination with a Transportation Management Plan. In recognition that "the Pentagon is... located in a busy urban environment that is more dependent on transit, bicycle and pedestrian circulation than ever," and new direction from the DOD's 2012 sustainability goals and Facilities Criteria, the plan suggests several ways to make the Pentagon more bicycle friendly. The main tools they settle on are sharrowed routes connecting to the nearby trails, employee shower facilities and more bicycle parking.
The Master Plan Update improves the overall pedestrian and bicycle circulation on the Pentagon Reservation by connecting the external trails surrounding the Reservation with routes on the Reservation in order to provide Pentagon employees a clear and direct route from the external trails to the employee bicycle racks and pedestrian entrances on the
In the figure above, it's hard to tell the sharrowed routes from the bike lanes, but basically all the bike lanes are on Arlington roads and the bike facilities on Pentagon property are sharrows.
What's surprising about this reliance on sharrows is that one of the problems the Plan Update makes note of is the "lack of painted bike lanes," and then they proceed to add zero bike lanes. The North and South Rotary Roads will also have signage.
A Transportation Management Plan (TMP) was prepared in parallel with the Master Plan Update to provide a comprehensive set of actions to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality affecting the Reservation study area. While the Transportation Management Plan (TMP) focused on identifying actions to facilitate employee multimodal transportation, the Master Plan ensured transportation considerations were integrated into the wider context of the Reservation Master Plan. The Master Plan and TMP planning processes jointly determined circulation improvements in order to facilitate safe, secure, and efficient vehicular and pedestrian movement on the Reservation for employees and visitors alike.
Currently cyclists access the Pentagon via a combination of two trails and on-street routes, but improvements recently completed and others being planned could change that. The bicycle network also connects to Columbia Pike, and that won't change
Cyclists utilize both of the Arlington County Multi-Use Trails (the trail running along the eastern edge of Route 27 and the Mount Vernon Trail) as well as vehicular roadways. A number of bike racks are situated around the Reservation; the most heavily used are near the Corridor 3 Bridge and at the Pentagon Athletic Center (PAC).
Improvements to the Humpback Bridge and a new shared-use path underpass have recently been completed. Modification of the Boundary Channel Drive/I-395 interchange is planned to serve the proposed Long Bridge Park Regional Aquatics Center and the recently completed Long Bridge outdoor recreation park. The proposed project would provide improved pedestrian and bicycle access to Boundary Channel Drive and the Pentagon building for Pentagon employees.
To the north and west of the Pentagon, modification and repair to the Route 27 overpass over Route 110 is being planned to provide space for a shared-use path and a wider sidewalk. Improvements to the existing Route 110 Trail are also being planned.
Beyond the added sharrows, there are other planned improvements. At the Pentagon's Hayes Street parking lot between I-395 and Army-Navy Drive (which connects to the Pentagon via the longest pedestrian tunnel in Virginia), a new public bike parking facility is recommended. It would also remove some car parking to make room for a bus drop-off. Facility-wide, the number of employee parking spaces will be reduced from 8,494 parking spaces to 7,199 parking spaces.
There are a few elements that planners think will eliminate conflict areas and make biking better, even though they aren't bike projects per se. These are:
• A dedicated bus lane to and from the Pentagon Transit Center on the outside perimeter of the South Parking Lot commuter plaza will eliminate conflicts between pedestrians and buses accessing the PTC.
• A dedicated rideshare lane with a waiting area will allow for the smooth circulation of rideshare vehicles and minimize conflicts between pedestrians and cars in the parking lot.
• The signalization of intersections along North and South Rotary Roads will allow for safer pedestrian crossings.
• A reduced number of access points to parking areas at South Rotary Road to improve traffic flow and enhance traffic and pedestrian safety.
Other planned bike improvements are
• Coordination with Arlington County to facilitate the County’s installation of a fence and a multi-use trail connection along Boundary Channel Drive and the Pentagon Lagoon that will connect to a signed public bike route from the proposed roundabout on Boundary Channel Drive to Long Bridge Park. Areas north of the multi-use path intersection with the roundabout will be signed as restricted to DoD/Pentagon badge holders only.
• Two new Pentagon employee bike racks in addition to the existing 46 racks.
Finally, the Pentagon received numerous comments suggesting that more employees would bike to work if they had shower facilities available. They did an analysis and have decided that locker and shower facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians will be added within the Pentagon at the bike rack entrances, pending space availability.
What I don't see is a plan to fix one of my pet peeves, the useless, but commute-slowing leftover driveway stub along Washington Blvd. I mean, c'mon man. A little work on the Route 27 Trail (really just a sidewalk) would be much appreciated too.
Here, by the way, is the current conditions as they see them.