Back in 2011, DDOT and the FHWA released a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the proposed replacement of the South Capitol Street Bridge. This project covers the area that is the intersection of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail on both sides, and the South Capitol Street and Suitland Parkway Trails and it would completely rebuild South Capitol Street and Douglass Bridge. [Update: JDLand covers the same territory here]
But since 2011, they have decided to make several changes to the design, most notably to build a fixed bridge instead of a draw bridge and to change the alignment on the east side of the river to avoid having to acquire land from the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB). This decision resulted in changing the alignment of the proposed new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge to a location immediately south of and parallel to the existing bridge (instead of offset at an angle). They also changed the east side traffic circle into a traffic oval aligned in the same direction as the west side one and changed the proposed ramps or ramp modifications between South Capitol Street and I-695, Suitland Parkway and I-295, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue SE and Suitland Parkway. This resulted in a new alternative called the Revised Preferred Alternative and the issuing of a new Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS). You can see the new alignment in the image below and images from 2013 here.
The Preferred alternative offered a lot for cyclists. The new bridge will have much improved multi-use paths. The project will construct new and improved pedestrian/bike connections throughout the project areas including a new pedestrian/bike path along Suitland Parkway connecting Firth Sterling Avenue and the east oval. They would implement signed bicycle routes along New Jersey Avenue and throughout the Project Area to provide connections and improved access to the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, the riverfront, and Historic Anacostia. On the west side, the project will change South Capitol between the river and I-395 into a boulevard with at-grade crossing, slower speeds and better sidewalks, which should make it better for biking on and easier to bike across. It will also reconstruct the pedestrian bridge over Suitland Parkway between Sheridan Road and Barry Farms and widen the Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue overpass at Suitland Parkway to accommodate a new multi-use trail. The existing Suitland Parkway Trail within the project area will be upgraded as well.
The revised preferred alternative will still feature all of these items, although the combined width of the bike/ped facilities was decreased from 20 feet to 18 feet. It now includes an 8-foot pedestrian lane and a 10-foot bidirectional bicycle path - curb-separated - on both spans as seen below.
The Revised Preferred Alternative has several other changes for cyclists and pedestrians.
Both (as opposed to only one in the PA) existing ramp configurations between I-695 and South Capitol Street will be replaced with an urban interchange, creating a safer interchange configuration for cyclists and pedestrians.
On the southern side of Suitland Parkway, a sidewalk and bicycle path will now be included. A grade separated pedestrian/bicycle path would be provided at the ramp from southbound I-295 to westbound Suitland Parkway.
The proposed traffic circle would be replaced by a traffic oval, providing a sidewalk around the
oval, and a connection with a section of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. The pedestrian travel distance around the oval would still be greater than traveling through the traditional at-grade intersection.
In the PA, the proposed interchange at Suitland Parkway would require pedestrians and cyclists to cross the ramps between the two roadways. These crossings would be controlled by a traffic signal. But in the RPA, the elimination of the center ramp interchange will provide two urban diamond interchanges that will be controlled by traffic signal. In addition, a sidewalk/bicycle path would be provided or upgraded along the north side of the reconstructed Suitland Parkway.
- The RPA includes a new multi-use Firth Sterling Trail. It will primarily use the existing CSX right-of-way and connect the South Capitol Street Trail (at Firth Sterling and South Capitol Street intersection) with the Anacostia Metrorail Station.
The Firth Sterling Trail is really a separate project that is new to the FEIS, but not really new. Sort of like the Soccer Stadium is new and in the project area, but not really new. If CSX is finally willing to get rid of this ROW, maybe this can later be extended all the way to D Street SE? The SEIS has this to say about it elsewhere.
This project would be a multi-use trail connecting the South Capitol Street Trail (at Firth Sterling and South Capitol Street intersection) with the Anacostia Metrorail Station (just northeast of the Suitland Parkway and Firth Sterling intersection). The length of the trail, including intersection crossings, will be approximately 2,400 linear feet.
The majority of the trail will be located within the CSXT Railroad Shepherds Branch right-of-way that is being acquired in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 by DDOT from CSXT. Due diligence on the right-of-way is presently underway by DDOT/AWI staff. The trail location is within the APE for the Revised Preferred Alternative.
The other option for the Firth Sterling Trail project would be to add it to the present South Capitol Street Trail. This project is nearing completion of the preliminary (30 percent) plans within a few weeks. Currently, it has no final design or construction funds obligated to the project. Based on the NEPA process required for acquisition of six easements from the JBAB, the South Capitol Street Trail design will not be finalized until next year at the earliest. Construction would probably not begin before fiscal year 2017.
The West Traffic Oval would include a MUP, but I'm not sure who would use it. I guess to run laps?
On the intersection of Howard and Suitland Parkway Trail, the SEIS includes this
The proposed Suitland Parkway Trail along the north side of the roadway will pass through the intersection of Howard Road at Suitland Parkway, which is proposed by the Revised Preferred Alternative as an un-signalized, right-in/right-out intersection. The projected traffic volumes turning right at this location are not high enough to warrant a traffic signal. However, potential pedestrian/vehicle conflicts could become problematic at this location if right turning movements were to increase substantially. Adequate gaps in vehicular traffic to facilitate as safe pedestrian crossing of Howard Road could become infrequent and cause delays for Suitland Parkway Trail users. The proposed intersection could include installation of a traffic signal to control the flow of vehicles and provide alternating rights-of-way for pedestrians/cyclists and right-turning traffic.
As shown in Figure 4-15, movements shown in similar colors could proceed together and then alternately stop to reduce conflicts and ensure sufficient crossing times for Suitland Parkway Trail users. This configuration would provide a two-phase crossing of Howard Road, so the triangular pedestrian refuge island between the inbound and outbound lanes of the roadway would need to be of sufficient size to accommodate the expected numbers pedestrians and cyclists waiting for changes in signals. Although not part of the proposed Revised Preferred Alternative, this revised intersection will be studied further during final design.
And the cross-section of Anacostia Drive with the side-paths.
And just for good measure, the interchange of I-295 with Suitland Parkway.The southside sidewalk is visible, but I don't see the northside path and Ramp B underpass.