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Recently took a Capital Bikeshare Plus bike out that way and let me tell you, having to push that super heavy bike up the little ramp was a very unpleasant surprise.

Thanks for looking into this and writing it up. I agree that there are no easy fixes and that public input of some kind should have occurred.

I think the best option would be to pull up the guardrail and, using barrels or a jersey wall, create a lane next to the existing path. Of course, the stairway option is much cheaper.

My only quibble with your analysis is where you say that the staircase detour works just fine for 90% of users. You pulled that "90%" out of thin air. We don't know how many bike commuters have given up because their CaBi, cargo bike, ebike, trike, etc can't be pulled up and down the stairs. I personally know a few who aren't riding right now, but I don't have the data either. By the way, I don't see how a ramp at the stairs would work either -- too steep of grade for both bicyclists an pedestrians.

"create a lane next to the existing path"- If that's possible.

"You pulled that "90%" out of thin air." Well, it's an educated guess. 10% of MVT users are pedestrians. Then many people who use this crossing can almost as easily use another bridge, so their only slightly inconvenienced. Then, I've never seen a cargo bike or trike going across the bridge (it's pretty narrow on the DC side) so it seems rare. CaBi and E-bike - those can be done. I've never seen anyone in a wheelchair cross it either. I'd say 90% is conservative and low.

As for the ramp. You can drop a ramp 1 inch for every foot of distance. The landing is about 25 feet high and the distance to the end of the abutment is about 80 feet. That gives you room to get down about 5 feet from the top of the stairs to the abutment, Then turn 90 degrees and go back and forth 30 feet each way. That's another 6 feet. Should be enough to go under the bridge. Then just run out the ramp along the inside of the abutments until your at sidewalk level. Doable, but not cheap.


I'm pretty sure from some correspondence with BikeArlington that the runnel was in response to complaints.

Whoever among the different actors believed that any solution with just stairs (with or without runnel) is a reasonable substitute for most cyclists in this kind of situation shows a lack of awareness of the variety of bikes out there as well as their riders.

I will say I look forward to the resulting improved trail - a miscalculation could lead to a serious crash if a rider went off the trail in some parts of it.

And its reopening TODAY!. So many wasted electrons.

The fact that the runnels, such as they are, went into full service only last week (the same week the project was finished) speaks to the lack of consideration of the detour in the project planning. The runnels (if that was the selection) should have been installed back in early September, before hundreds of cyclists were using the stairs.

Perhaps. I'd like to know why they weren't put in back then. Possibilities:

1. Even after consulting with people in the bike community, no one ever thought of it until the detour opened, and then it took time.

2. They planned it all along but the delivery of the equipment was late and they decided not to wait for them to arrive. I could see weather and the Arlington Bridge being schedule constraints that they don't want to wait for, for example.

3. They never talked to a bike person about the detour. Or they did and ignored them. Or they listened to them, ordered the stuff, got it on time and just didn't install it until the last week. All of these are thumbs down.

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