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GW Parkway Rehab Planned

The National Park Service tonight will host the first of two public information meetings to discuss proposed improvements in the northern part of the George Washington Parkway, between the Capital Beltway and Spout Run.

The proposal calls for repaving, construction of curbs and gutters to improve drainage, improvements in the guard walls and reconfiguration of the interchange with Route 123.

As with much of the parkway system in the Washington region, the original design didn't envision today's traffic volume and speeds, or their evolution from scenic roadways to major commuter routes. But as with other rehabilitation projects on the Rock Creek Parkway and the Humpback Bridge, this latest effort will attempt to balance the modern demands with the original purpose of the parkways.

The first meeting, from 7 to 9 o'clock tonight, is the McLean Community Center, 1234 Ingleside Ave., McLean. The second session will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. on April 3 at the parkway headquarters in Turkey Run Park, 700 George Washington Memorial Parkway, McLean. For information, contact the George Washington Memorial Parkway at 703-289-2500.

By Robert Thomson  |  March 27, 2008; 5:41 AM ET
Categories:  Construction  
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Probably the least costly most effective thing that good be done for the GW Parkway would be to extend the Spout Run merge to end at the Key Bridge ramp. Why it hasn't been done already is baffling. I don't see why the 123 interchange needs to be reconstructed. Seems like a big waste.

Posted by: Sivad | March 27, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

How about a meeting to pave the bridge at the Glen Echo turn around and fix that dangerous disaster? Would be much less expensive and much larger benefit for a greater number of people.

Posted by: Bethesda | March 27, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

What we really need on the Parkway is to be able to get on the northbound parkway at Spout Run, and off on the southbound parkway, especially since you can't get into Arlington at the Key Bridge exit any longer, and sometimes you can't get on 50 westbound.

There is one place on 123 that needs fixing, I think it's when you exit from the northbound parkway and you have to make a left turn across traffic without a light onto north/east bound 123. It's dangerous for those exiting the parkway as well as those driving on 123.

Posted by: Arlington | March 27, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Glen Echo Turnaround isn't on GW Parkway...

Posted by: Woodley Park | March 27, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

"Glen Echo Turnaround isn't on GW Parkway..."

Historically it was, at least :-)

Posted by: Rich | March 27, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, I just did some digging around online and found that Maryland's portion of the road, although renamed the "Clara Barton Parkway," is still considered part of the GW Parkway for national park purposes. Interesting. (And they should have renamed it the "Martha Washington Parkway" when that whole thing went through. Would have fit better).

Posted by: Rich | March 27, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

There is a National Park called George Washington Memorial Parkway, which has two roads in it: George Washington Memorial Parkway and Clara Barton Parkway.

My guess is that the NPS was referring to the road called George Washington Memorial Parkway, and not the National Park called George Washington Memorial Parkway, since every single one of the improvements mentioned are on the Virginia side of the Potomac. The Park Service knows people refer to the 2 roads by their names seperately, and I highly doubt they'd issue a press release entitled "George Washington Memorial Parkway" for work being done on Clara Barton Parkway.

Not mentioned in Dr. G's article, but was mentioned on WTOP: this is a multi-year project. Probably won't start construction for several years (they mentioned 2010 or 2012), but when it does start it will be under construction for up to 6 years.

Posted by: Woodley Park | March 27, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for multiple posts, but I forgot two points:

1) my second paragraph should end with "The Park Service knows people refer to the 2 roads by their names seperately, and I highly doubt they'd issue a press release entitled 'George Washington Memorial Parkway' for work being done on Clara Barton Parkway, despite being technically correct".

2) Link to the WTOP article:

Posted by: Woodley Park | March 27, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

This is true:

The "parkway" is not just the road, but a collection of parks associated with George Washington. I still am not sure the Clara Barton Parkway road is actually included. Glen Echo and the Clara Barton Historic Site are however. I still believe though that the park service is referring to the road GW Parkway that we all immediately think of.

Posted by: Sivad | March 27, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

The southbound portion near 123 does need to be fixed. The part where you all traffic has to merge into one lane is the part I think needs to be widened to 2 lanes through. I also agree with the earlier posters regarding extending the lane from Sput Run to the Key Bridge exit. I also agree that it would be nice to be able to get on Spout Run from the Southbound Parkway, and to be able to get on Northbound from Spout Run. Would make life easier for some people.

Posted by: dkf747 | March 27, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

"The Park Service knows people refer to the 2 roads by their names seperately [sic]...."

This is true, but what I was responding to was the notion that the fellow who mentioned the Glen Echo turnaround was doing so in the wrong thread because that's not part of the GW Parkway. If the discussion has to do with road improvements, as a technical matter he's in the right place, although the original topic Dr. Gridlock raised was somewhat narrower than that.

Posted by: Rich | March 28, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Look, my point was not that it is the same physical road - it is directly across the river, also managed by the NPS - same National Park as a matter of fact. The Glen Echo turnaround is dangerous and a much bigger source of congestion, delays in the evening - and only half-a** designed by not using that bridge. The Virginia GW Parkway's capacity issue is not going to be solved by these improvements - the capacity issue is at the beltway (for outbound) and the bridges to DC (primarily Roosevelt) inbound. The fact that you have some self-absorbed idiots blowing down the road at 100 MPH (remember the Georgetown Law Student arrested, or the teenager who killed her friends) should not drive these improvements. Use the limited funds to make the biggest impact.

Posted by: ssolomo | March 31, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Rich and Woodley Park for all your insight into DC road history. Funny thing that I just now figured out is that I too must be a road geek, considering I know about the unsigned I-595 (US 50) and I-695, the Barney Circle freeway.

And as an aside, I don't like the new Clearview font but thats a whole other issue.

RE: NPS roadways. I think what we've learned in recent times by all the horrid construction on the Rock Creek Parkway is that the NPS does not make road improvements in the interest of traffic (cars) flow but rather in the interest of everything else to include things like: asthetics, bike/jogging trails, drainage, etc.

The NPS must be *looking for* new construction projects to take on if they think the route 123 interchange needs an overhaul. Frankly, the interchange is fine as is, even the lane reduction from two lanes to one going southbound is a non-issue for traffic accept for during the 2-3 hours of morning rushhour. I'm not betting on extension of the transition lane southbound between Spout Run and the Key either.

A DC tourist anecdote for you: I was driving inbound on the Cabin John Parkway last week about 3pm (the time of day when all inbound traffic must use the Glen Echo turnaround). Right at the point where the inbound Clara Barton and Cabin John lanes combine, someone with Kentucky license plates and a (muddy) 4WD SUV was trying to make a u-turn from the inbound lanes to the outbound Clara Barton. This involved driving over a small raise/curb in the median of the road, among other things. I guess thats how folks drive out in KY coal country. He probably did save a good chunk of time in avoiding the queue of cars that forms at the real Glen Echo turnaround.

Posted by: xyv1027 | March 31, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

xyv: that is how they drive out there! They have "mountable" medians (concrete medians no more than a few inches high where the edges are at a 45 degree angle to allow emergency vehicles to turn across them) in KY. These medians are primarily to form a "psychological" barrier as opposed to a physical barrier. When I lamented about having to go a mile out of my way to make a U-turn, a local told me just hop up onto the median and use it like a 2-way left turn lane! Sure enough, that's what all the locals were doing!

Posted by: Woodley Park | March 31, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

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