The East Coast Greenway Alliance calls crossing the Susquehanna River its greatest challenge. But there may be hope for that being closed.
There are many challenges to completing the trail (now 29% off-road on greenways), but one rises high above the rest: crossing the Susquehanna River. Did you know that in the state of Maryland there is no safe way to cross the Susquehanna on foot or by bike? The closest safe crossing is in Pennsylvania, over 23 miles upstream from Havre de Grace, Maryland. With your help, we can change that.
Looking north (upstream) at the four spans near the mouth of the river, from near to far: Amtrak, US Route 40, freight rail, I-95. Credit: Ben Longstaff, IAN, UMCES
There are presently four crossings in the river's southernmost stretch, two for autos and two for rail, and none permit bikes or pedestrians. One of these (Amtrak's Susquehanna River Bridge) was completed in 1906, and is one of the most significant bottlenecks in Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) has been awarded $22 million to design this bridge's replacement. This is a great first step, but it doesn't guarantee that bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure will be built; we all know that when cost projections start rising, bike and ped features are often the first to be cut.
Please join the East Coast Greenway Alliance as we urge MDOT to build a bridge that will serve multiple modes, connecting communities by rail, bike, and foot, for the next 100 years. Together we can make our voices heard as we call for healthy and sustainable transportation infrastructure for the 21st century.
The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will hold an informational meeting on Thursday, December 12 regarding updates to the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative (AWI) Transportation Master Plan.
The meeting will involve a short overview presentation followed by an Open House to allow the public to ask questions and learn more about the various DDOT AWI transportation projects and other major initiatives by partnering agencies being coordinated and included in the planned update to the AWI Master Plan. The 2008 update to the Master Plan may be viewed athttp://www.anacostiawaterfront.org/awi-documents/2008-awi-transportation-master-plan/.
The Master Plan organizes transportation studies, projects and other initiatives within the AWI Program area into a comprehensive plan in order to develop efficient and practical ways for these projects to be designed and constructed in coordination with one another based on such factors as benefits to the community, cost, duration of construction, environmental impacts, and funding.
The Anacostia Waterfront Initiative (AWI) is a 30-year, $10 billion series of transportation, environmental, economic, community and recreation projects that are transforming the shores of the Anacostia River into a world-class waterfront. The AWI Program area stretches from the Tidal Basin to the city’s northeast border with Maryland.
What: AWI Transportation Master Plan Update Informational Meeting
When: Thursday, December 12, 2013 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Capitol Skyline Hotel 10 “I” Street, SW
Much of the items in the 2008 plan are well behind schedule. By this plan, the ART should be finished as should the Middle Anacostia Crossing, etc...Which reminds me that the NE section of the ART did not break ground in Fall (I guess it still has a few weeks) of this year.
Anyway, lots of bike-relevant projects (bridges, trails, interchanges) in this area.
Long Bridge is a two-track railroad connecting the District and Virginia. The bridge is utilized by freight, passenger and commuter rail service. DDOT received an American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) Grant from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to study the Long Bridge. The purpose of the study is to: analyze multi-modal connectivity and operational improvements; assess the long-term multi-modal capacity improvement that includes the future operating requirements of high-speed and intercity passenger rail, commuter rail, transit, bicycle, pedestrian, vehicular and freight rail services over the Potomac River; and determine the structural integrity of the bridge and make short-term and long-term improvement recommendations.
What: Long Bridge Study public meeting When: Thursday, December 5, 2013 4 pm to 7 pm
Where: St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church 600 M Street, SW
NPS is planning to rehabilitate the Arlington Memorial Bridge. During construction, there will be either a full or partial closure of the bridge. WABA is suggesting that this is a good opportunity to put the bridge onto a road diet.
If there is a minimal impact of closing a single lane of car traffic in each direction on the bridge during reconstruction, it should be repurposed entirely as a single travel lane for bicycle traffic.... This road diet does not change the historic design of the sidewalk, curbs, or roadway space. The protected bike lanes could be achieved by painting a buffer between the bike lanes and car lanes, or with decorative brick pavers or colored concrete.
NPS staffers are pursuing safe and separated trail crossings across the GW Parkway to improve access to the bridge. They will begin an environmental assessment of the Memorial Circle in 2014.
The bridge will continue to connect many historically and culturally significant parks, places, and memorials. The inclusion of protected bicycle lanes in the Arlington Memorial Bridge EA could dovetail nicely into the Memorial Circle EA, resulting in a significantly improved connection between the District of Columbia and Virginia for residents and visitors to our Nation’s Capital.
The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) was recently briefed on a list of the 10 critical freight rail and road projects affecting the metropolitan Washington region according to the TPB’s Freight Subcommittee. Most of these projects are unrelated to cycling, as you could imagine, but the Long Bridge is the exception.
Updating the existing Long Bridge, which spans the Potomac River between Arlington County and the District of Columbia, would allow for extra capacity for freight and passenger rail as well as the potential for vehicular, pedestrian, light rail, and bicycle movement.
Although it's possible the real-time motor carrier info system could keep trucks off the road at rush hour.
The new 11th Street Bridges are already open and have been for some time. Work continues on Phase II, but for cyclists and pedestrians most of the relevant work is complete. The new local bridge includes a much wider sidewalk with overlooks of the river that jut out over the old bridge's supports (and cyclists may use the roadway if they don't like those). There's also a new parklet on the old bridge's southwest footprint that includes a trail connection between the Navy Yard Promenade and the bridge with a trail spur upriver for the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail.
Local 11th Street Bridge commemorating the District Department of Transportation’s decade of transportation advancements and the full opening of the local bridge to two-way traffic, bicyclists and pedestrians. This free, family-friendly event will take place on Saturday, September 7, 2013 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Transportation Alternatives is the consolidated program in the latest federal transportation law, MAP-21, that funds expanded travel choices like bicycling and walking, or that make other enhancements like mitigating the environmental impacts of transportation facilities. The Transportation Planning Board (TPB) is the entity tasked with allotting this money in the DC Region. Last month they made their selections. Of the 15 projects selected a few will aid cyclists
In the District of Columbia, the National Park Service will use Transportation Alternatives funds to widen and repave the bicycle and pedestrian trail that connects the 14th Street Bridge with East Basin Drive in front of the Jefferson Memorial. The park service will also install safety rails and add new signage to help tourists and commuters find their way to key destinations. The project will add safety enhancements, increase the width of crosswalk ramps,
relocate utilities and signage from within the trail alignment.
The City of Takoma Park, in Maryland, will receive funding to widen sidewalks, add bike lanes, and install new pedestrian lighting along MD 410 near the intersection with New Hampshire Avenue.
Improvements to the Mount
Vernon Trail at Theodore
Roosevelt Island Trailhead. Realign and widen the northern terminus of the Mount Vernon Trail,
resurface the trailhead parking lot; separate the trail from the parking lot with a grade
separation; and install bike racks, directional and interpretive signage, and water
fountains. The goal of the project is to improve trail user safety through improvements to
the Mount Vernon Trail trailhead, which is the convergence of several significant regional
Fairfax County will receive funding to install bike stations and operating hardware to support the expansion of Capital Bikeshare to Reston, which the County hopes will give people more options for accessing Metrorail stations along the planned Silver Line.
Fairfax Mason to Metro
Bicycle Route. Develop a backbone bicycle route through the City and into Fairfax County to connect
George Mason University with the Vienna Metrorail Station. The project aims to increase
and improve bicycle and pedestrian travel between major hubs of activity in the City of
Fairfax, Fairfax County, and George Mason University.
Pickett Road Trail
Underpass. Install a 12 foot wide concrete trail under the existing Pickett Road bridge over Accotink
Creek, and construct asphalt trail segments to connect the underpass to the existing City
of Fairfax trail system. Install two culverts to convey existing storm drainage outfalls
under the proposed trail, and install wayfinding signage.
Cross County Trail - Lorton. The proposed section of the Cross County Trail in Lorton will traverse the Lorton Arts
Foundation property and connect Occoquan Regional Park and the Laurel Hill Greenway
Town of Haymarket Route
55 Washington Street
Enhancement Project. The project will provide 5-foot on-street bike lanes and 5-foot brick sidewalks on each
side of the road. The project extends the bike lanes and brick sidewalks that are already
available in the center of Town out toward the housing developments on the east side of
I know that a lot of people are down on the racetrack ovals on both ends of the proposed new Frederick Douglass Bridge, and they make a good point, but from a biking standpoint, the new Douglass Bridge as presented last night by DDOT has the potential to be the best bridge in DC.
On the bridge itself, cyclists will have their own space (as seen in the photo at right). They won't share a MUP with pedestrians or the road with drivers, they'll have 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. Cyclists will get 20 feet of space on this bridge all to themselves, and that's kind of amazing. Pedestrians will get two 8 foot wide sidewalks and occasional overlooks (Belvederes we were told).
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.
On the SW side (top of picture belwo) cyclists will ride off the cycletrack and onto the large mixing area and then along the sidepath past the line of trees where they could U-turn down the ramp to the ART. Pedestrians would make a quicker turn to go down stairs to the ART. Or cyclists could continue along the sidepath along South Capital. The presentation had a better angle of this in one of their renderings, but it's not available yet. [Update: It's here on slide 25. Also there is a mention of a "Bikeway connection to Suitland Parkwaybike path" which I failed to include.]
On the NW side cyclists could also connect to the trail or follow the sidepath, but this rendering is probably unclear since the Florida Rock development will go in.
West side of the bridge
On the east side, pedestrians would again connect to the ART via stairs immediately along side of the bridge, but cyclists on the NE (left of image below) would ride along the oval and then head north along the Anacostia Drive Connector to connect to the trail near Poplar Point. On the SE side, cyclist would follow the oval a short distance before turning left to connect to the ART. Or they could go straight to the South Capital Street Trail or further up and to the right to follow the Suitland Parkway
East Side of the bridge
Below is a map of the bike network on the west side of the river. The blue lines show 18 foot wide facilities for cyclists and pedestrians and orange is 12 foot wide. Purple lines are bike lanes (so bike lanes on Potomac Ave SW and R SW).
And on the east side cyclists can continue north around the oval to Howard Road.
There was no mention of or drawing showing a bike trail along the old Shepherd Branch rail line, not that I really expected to see that, though I did notice they were planning to buy the ROW under I-295, but that is likely for the streetcar.
There's not much - from a biking standpoint at least - to criticize here. Some might wish there were more bike lanes for cyclists who don't want to ride on sidewalks - even really, really nice ones; but cyclists will be allowed to ride in the road if they choose.
It's a pretty nice setup though. The whole thing is estimated to cost $622 million (so less than the baseball stadium) using local and federal money. Work could begin in late 2014 and wrap up in 2018.
One last image is of the transportation work in the area. The red lines are the existing or planned ART. The South Capital Street Brdige and the area west of it constitutes one of the last major parts remaining. There is of course the Kenilworth Section (see renderings here!!! Bids for that work are due next week), the Virginia Avenue Trail and the trail along 2nd St SE to connect to it, but that is kind of it and they're done.