Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Four Mile Run Bicycle Detour - A Coming Distraction

Four Mile Run detour info
One of several signs announcing the detour

A detour was supposed to start on in my bicycle commute, but the demolition must be behind since it hasn't happened as of December 2nd (2013) per announcements.

Four Mile Run Potomac Yard Bridge Demolition Updates

As of today, this is what the text says:
Starting December 2nd and running for approximately 6 months, a short section of the Four Mile Run trail in Potomac Yard near the junction with the Mt. Vernon Trail will be closed during most commuting hours due to demolition of a bridge overhead.

A detour will be provided, but many riders may find it better to pick an alternate route to avoid the construction area altogether.
I have given it some thought, and for most people there aren't workable alternate routes that don't add significantly to the distance or that you use surface streets through Crystal City, which means that you ride on (ugh) surface streets. Well, whatever, as they say. It continues ~
The detour - designed for ADA compliance, not necessarily bicycles - diverts traffic off of the trail onto the Jeff Davis Hwy west side sidewalk and also at the new switchback ramps to cross US1 at the S. Glebe Road signal. For those who are game, the switchback does incorporate a flight of stairs with bike rails built in.
I find this part quite annoying. The "switchback ramps" are not "not necessarily [for] bicycles" but absolutely not for bicycles, if they mean while being ridden. And the "bike rails" are simply boards butted up against the railing, not trough-style rails that guide the bike properly up and down the stairs. Pitiful. "If you are game" - what's that about? It is either OK or it isn't OK. It isn't OK.

Switchback Shown In Video
Above is a screen grab from a video from Arlington County that shows the switchbacks while under construction (although it is not, in fact, in Arlington County)

Four Mile Run bike and pedestrian detour
The stairs that is part of the detour, with the so-called "bike rails"

Bike rail, public stairs
This image shows what a proper bike rail looks like

1 comment:

  1. I have to agree. The accommodation for cyclists is minimal and practically pitiful. This is part of my daily commute. After looking at the number of interactions on the surface road alternatives, I'm just going to eat it and take the little detour. But I'm not going to like it.