It's now easier to walk or bike between L'Enfant Plaza, the Case Bridge, and the Wharf. Just before the opening of the Wharf, the District Department of Transportation, the National Park Service, and Wharf co-developer PN Hoffman began a project to reshape Banneker Park, located at the south end of L'Enfant Plaza in Southwest DC.
The project added a staircase from Banneker Park to Maine Avenue, bike lanes around Banneker circle and to 9th Street, two ADA-compliant paths from L'Enfant to the Wharf, new and improved crosswalks, and a long-sought curb ramp to the Case Bridge pedestrian path.
The Francis Case Memorial Bridge has long included a bicycle and pedestrian path between Banneker Circle and Ohio Drive on East Potomac Park, but frustratingly cyclists had to transition to the street without a curb ramp or stay on the sidewalk.
The project has changed the trailhead into a wide landing where the sidewalk, stairs, and path meet with a curb cut. Some of the wall and trail fence was removed to make it feel more open, and the bollards are far enough apart to allow for a cargo bike to pass through.
The staircase from the landing to Maine Avenue has a bicycle runnel on the far side to allow cyclists to roll their bikes up and down the stairs. It leads to a new controlled crosswalk to make for a safer crossing to the Wharf.
Buffered bike lanes were added to Banneker Circle and the section of L'Enfant Plaza between it and 9th Street. Unfortunately, those have already attracted tour bus parking.
In addition to the stairs, the old path from L'Enfant Plaza to Maine and 9th has been replaced with a new ADA-compliant path across the road to two other paths. One leads to the new crosswalk at the base of the stairs, and the other to the corner of 9th and Maine streets.
The sidewalk along the north side has been widened all the way to the tunnel under 395 (see the old sidewalk here).
Further away at 12th and Maine, pedestrians will find new curb ramps and improved crosswalks.
Now, if they could improve the surface of L'Enfant Plaza north of Banneker Circle so that biking there isn't miserable, we'd really be getting somewhere!