The National Park Service will be presenting rough sketches of design concepts for the Memorial Circle Transportation plan that were developed at a workshop that evaluated previous studies of the area, existing and projected traffic conditions including accident, speed and road/trail volumes, and the memorial character of the area. These concepts will be the foundation for the development of alternatives to be presented later in the year.
I know there are a lot of cyclists who use this area - as the Mount Vernon Trail passes through here - daily, and this is your opportunity to offer your thoughts about this process and the ideas that were generated before they develop alternatives.
Comments will be accepted at the open house or may be provided online through the NPS Planning Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website.
The sketches have been posted to the project website and comments will be accepted from March 3, 2015 to March 10, 2015. You can access this site here.
The sketches are really rough, they look like the actual marked up maps from the workshop, so don't expect studio-style art.
The open house is from 5pm to 8pm at NPS National Capital Region Headquarters, 1100 Ohio Drive SW, Washington, DC.
Here are my comments I submitted back in September:
- While the scoping document mentions the social paths that runners and cyclists have carved from the north side of Memorial Bridge to the MVT, it seems to be out of concern for their use and dedicated to finding ways to stop it. Instead, NPS should view these as desire lines which are to be embraced and improved to meet user need
- The MVT is only 9 feet wide in this area - and sometimes less, but best practices would dictate that such a heavily used trail, and its spurs to Arlington National Cemetery, the Iwo Jima Memorial and the Pentagon's 9/11 Memorial, be widened.
- From Memorial circle to Arlington National Cemetery, cyclists use narrow sidewalks made with an aggregate surface. Aggregate becomes very slippery and unstable when wet, and thus NPS should consider a safer material be used.
- The scope should be enlarged to include the bicycle/pedestrian path on the downstream (south) side of the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge. Currently this path is disconnected on the Virginia side, but a connection to the MVT is possible. Extending the trail from the current Virginia end of the bridge path, it could be turned south along the connector between S. Arlington Road and US-50. The ample green space along the north side of the connector’s bridge over the Washington Channel could be used to cross that body of water and then the trail could cross over or under the GWMP, or even at-grade. This would allow for a direct connection between the MVT and Constitution Avenue, while bringing access to two large parcels of parkland currently inaccessible to users.