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I seriously wonder whether anyone of the folks working on the design of these things have ever been on a bike. This seems not only completely unnecessary but also very much like the site of future accidents of various severity.

Didn't we just have this in Arlington on the ramp between Rosslyn and Roosevelt Island. Would have been nice to see some acknowledgment of experience...

I just rode through this last night and was surprised at how bad it is...even if the bollards (which look very, very permanent) actually were necessary, do they really need to be heavy duty enough to stop a freight train? they also don't leave a lot of room to squeeze through, which is just ridiculous. The detour on the north side of the bridge is also terrible, with a nice rut/gap running parallel to the path that is just waiting to grab someone's tire.

But they were installed for "your safety" to slow you down before you recklessly plow into traffic! (joking of course)

Comment 1 = SPAM

The bollards are very substantial and provide little room to manuever through on a bike. I am amazed at how long it is taking for construction under and around the bridge to be completed.

Maybe cyclists should just ride on Washington Street instead of going under the bridge. That might make an impression.

Also, I agree with the first commenter.

The bollards shouldn't be on the trail at all. They are intended to keep motor vehicles from the adjacent parking lot from driving under the bridge. So why aren't they oriented in line with the left side of the trail.

If there were concern about a vehicle driving down the trail, then a single mega bollard at the top of the trail would be all that was needed.

In addition to the gap in the detour, there is a manhole cover taht stiks up a couple of inches in the middle of the tail under the bridge and obscured by shade.

The simple explanation is that the contractor is utterly incompetent.

I think if you look closely, you'll notice those red lights aren't permanent. We should be ready for pitch black bollards at night starting pretty soon.


Comment spam is the bollards of the internets, so perhaps the first post is on topic in a meta way.

Since some posters are referring to the first comment, which washcycle has now removed, I just wanted to point out that my comment was originally the second comment. ;-)

I just sent a really, really nasty email to one of the folks involved with the Wilson bridge project. Well, the person involved with making sure the ped/cyclist crosswalk signal is operational there at the top of the hill (the switch always breaks) anyway. I assume they're also involved with the stuff under the bridge - but if someone knows exactly who to contact please let me know - [email protected]

I'm so sick of the bullsh*t going on under the bridge it's unbelievable. It seems like every other day or so there's some new passage created by heaps of cobble, raised sewer caps and concrete lips, loose gravel, and the idiots provided *barely enough room to navigate around the stupid phone pole in front of the cemetary there.

I don't know whether the crew/contractor is lazy or stupid to be honest. Why the f*ck can't these guys provide reasonably safe pavement for cyclists to use while they tear everything up under there? They do this for a LIVING. It's completely ridiculous. The bollards just add another layer on it.

I think the reality is that cyclists are second-class citizens and they just plain don't give a damn.


Ugh! I mean.... Ugh!

A few days ago, washcycle had a picture of the loose dirt and gravel detour that was at the bottom of the ramp. When I saw that detour (on Bike to Work Day), the contractors were there, and I called one of them over, and pointed out how dangerous it was. His comment was that it was only temporary. So I said that I hoped that any injuries resulting from it were also temporary.

Without the bollards, I am already worried about the fact that fast moving dowhnill traffic cannot see around the corner for oncoming traffic, and vice versa. Meanwhile the bollards will only create obstacles for anyone who needs to oncoming traffic. Also when making the turn onto the ramp, the terrain on the left is sharp rocks inside a curb. Anyone who falls onto that will have an impressive set of injuries.

Okay - VDOT is apparently in charge of this.


2nd email sent -- will let you know response if/when I receive one.

Bollards, AFAIK, are intended to prevent motorists from driving onto trails, etc. They are NOT, from what I understand, an acceptable tool to decrease cyclist speed. I can't see how they would be, given the danger they pose.

Wait a second---didn't we already go over this last week?


Here's the full guidance on bollards from US DOT for forwarding to relevant project managers:


Don't go down the ramp! Either take the street and navigate over the rubble or bypass this mess altogether by using Washington St.

I rarely take the path under the bridge; it's just too messed up. Riding on Washington Street in the is a good alternative for even an average cyclist. Take the lane and keep going. Chances are you will actually have to slow down.

When there is not too much traffic on Washington Street you can build up quite some speed which is really fun!

Yes, it is not too difficult to use Washington pkwy/green street to bypass the entire mess there. I regularly do this now, while still checking the progress over there every other day or so.

Should that be a reasonable excuse for f*cking up the MUP? I could also scatter nails and broken glass along the carpool lane on I-495 and you could just NOT use it right?

They've made a great MUP unsafe to navigate for no reason other than idiocy and/or laziness. If I had kids in tow or were riding with a beginner, for example, I would prefer NOT to use Wash pkwy. That's the point.

I'm not going to make excuses for these idiots -- it's B.S.

You're all looking at this the wrong way. Think of the detours as an adventure. They add an element of danger to your otherwise safe and boring rides. It's just like a going on a wild African safari or cliff diving or something like that. Every time you survive the detour, you feel exhilarated and alive!! Plus it builds self confidence and intestinal fortitude. The only thing better would be random pop-up bollards.


I agree the bollards are a hazard. Granted, the bike speed limit is 15 mph so you really shouldn't be cooking down the ramp and hit them (yeah I know, I go faster too), but if the goal is to keep cars from going up the ramp, 1 bollard in the middle would be fine in my opinion.

“One bollard is generally sufficient to indicate that a path is not open to motorized vehicles. The post should be placed in the center of the trail tread. Where more than one post is necessary, a 5-foot spacing is used to permit passage of bicycle trailers, adult tricycles, and wheelchairs. Always use one or three bollards, never two. Two bollards, both placed in the paved portion of the trail, will channel trail users into the center of the trail, causing possible head-on collisions. Bollards should be designed to be removable or hinged to permit entrance by emergency and service vehicles... (Pages 85-86).”
For the jacko’s who are yelling and complaining to the contractor and construction workers, they are just doing the job that they are contracted for. If they don’t follow the plan, they don’t get paid, or they have to go back and fix it per the plans they were given. Instead, go to the source. I am fairly certain it was some typical government person who get’s paid no matter how much work they don’t do, decided more bollards are better instead of letting the planners do the design. Talk to them instead (if you can actually get them to call you back).

I agree with the above that one bollard in the middle would be sufficient. 3 is overkill and dangerous.

Davis - great comment with the "pop-up" bollards ;). We'd probably get along pretty well.

Does anyone know whether the long, yellow gate north of the bridge (after you pass under) is permanent? It looks that way. Not sure who designed this mess--clearly not someone who bikes.

Dave, that gate has to be permanent because it is heavy duty. It's actually a gate/barrier that can actually stop a car but lowers to allow authorized vehicles access.

I just went by there tonight and noticed the bike bollards are pretty heavy duty in comparison to the yellow ones adjacent. I think the yellow ones are removable or fold away.

This is the resposne I got from VDOT about the project, with names redacted:


Thank you for your concern about the conditions under the Wilson Bridge. Mr. Moore has asked that I respond on his behalf.

The ongoing work in this area is part of the Jones Point Park Restoration project VDOT is administering for the National Park Service (NPS). I have asked our construction managers to review your concerns and ensure the area is safe and free of construction debris. The positive news is the project is winding down with final paving expected to start in a week or so, which will hopefully address most of your concerns.

The Woodrow Wilson Bridge is part of the Critical Infrastructure inventory, which requires safe guards to protect these facilities. The bollards at the bottom of the Mount Vernon Trail next to the WWB Virginia Abutment are part of a perimeter system of stand-off devices to prevent unauthorized vehicles from accessing the area beneath the bridge. The use of the stand-off devices are part of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)/Homeland Security mandate for providing security under the WWB.

If you would like to discuss these issues further, please feel free to call me. My contact information is below. Thanks

I already responded that this measured response does not address the placement of the bollards, since they would in NO way prevent cars from passing under the bridge as he indicates was the intention of the stupid things. I pointed this out and requested that their either remove them or place them adjacent to the MVT so that their intended purpose would actually be met.

This is aside from the fact that they don't seem to be needed, period.

If anyone wants the VDOT contact info just email me - [email protected] I don't know how many complaints are required before action is taken, but I was definitely pissed enough to send multiple letters.

On a related note, i noticed today that there's an orange cone placed in front of the bollard at the bottom of the MVT ramp from Key Bridge down to Roosevelt Island. I wonder if that cyclist who crashed there a couple of months ago made it through. Poor guy.

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