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Join Me at Noon For Online Chat

Our weekly gathering to discuss local traffic and transit is at noon today. The two big topics I've been hearing about during the past week are the Red Line -- still -- and the new traffic configuration on the Beltway's outer loop at the Eisenhower Connector.

Our discussion is never limited to a couple of topics. Travelers have a wide range of interests that include best vacation routes, solutions to local traffic congestion and how to provide more transit options. Walkers and bikers are welcome, too.

I've got a letter from a biker I'm hoping to get some help with. Jodi Williams of Alexandria writes: "I started riding my bicycle once or twice a week from my home along Franconia Road to my office in Georgetown this May (14 miles each way). Until recently, that is. The pedestrian/bicycle passageway at the Eisenhower Avenue connector has been closed for construction associated with the Woodrow Wilson Bridge project.

"I've considered riding to Van Dorn, but that adds many miles to my route, and it would be risking my life to ride through the Telegraph Road/Beltway interchange. Do you have any suggestions about how to safely get from Franconia Road to the Mount Vernon Trail without adding significant mileage or major dangers to my ride?"

If things go as usual, I'll probably start off our noon discussion by asking you for some suggestions about this and other problems people are having in getting around. Use this link to read the discussion. And use this one if you'd like to submit a question or comment in advance.

By Robert Thomson  |  July 20, 2009; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Biking , Driving , Safety , transit  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, online discussion  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Metrorail Construction Now on Dulles Access Road
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For the biker who lives on Franconia Road:

First off, glad you are riding to work!
It is unfortunate and inexcusable that VDOT closed that access point, because there's no other way for a cyclist to cross the beltway between Van Dorn and Telegraph Road.

I bicycle commuted from my house near Van Dorn and Franconia for a number of years. The trail alongside Van Dorn makes it tolerable. Note: when you're northbound on Van Dorn, the trail ends right before the on ramp to the outer loop. Turn right on Oakwood Rd, go down the hill, look for the trail underpass on your left side.
Eisenhower Avenue between Van Dorn and the Eisenhower Connection isn't a lot of fun to ride. This will probably add 5-6 miles to your commute each way.

Another option to consider is putting your bike on bus and riding the bus until you get inside the beltway.

Lastly, consult the local experts--Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling.

Posted by: bikes-everywhere | July 20, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

"It is unfortunate and inexcusable that VDOT closed that access point, because there's no other way for a cyclist to cross the beltway between Van Dorn and Telegraph Road."

They're going to reopen it. During the current project, though, it would be impossible to maintain the access through that spot, because doing so would require cyclists and pedestrians to cross what is being used as a lane of the Beltway. It would simply be too dangerous. It does stink for the people who used that spot in the meantime, though.

From looking at a map, I wonder if a possible alternate would be this way:

1) Franconia to Telegraph.

2) Left on Telegraph.

3) Right at the first light onto Farmington.

4) Follow Farmington to North Kings Highway; you come out across from the Huntington Metro stop.

5) Make a left.

6) Make the first right after the Metro stop and go down the hill to Huntington Avenue.

7) Make a right and follow Huntington Avenue to US-1, or to Fort Hunt Road if US-1 doesn't have a trail on its east side. Either way, turn left. (Huntington Avenue ends at Fort Hunt Road.)

8) There is a service road on the east side of US-1 north of Fort Hunt Road in front of the Hampton Inn. If you use this, you should be able to reach the new bike/pedestrian trail that runs along the side of the Beltway on-ramp. It takes you to the Washington Street overpass, which the Mt. Vernon Trail crosses. You can also access the new Wilson Bridge trail there.

Disclaimer is that I have not ridden this route and do not know how viable it is. I just bought a bike this afternoon to try to get back into it, but it will be a while before I'm in shape enough to make that ride straight-out from home.

Posted by: 1995hoo | July 20, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

For the biker who lives on Franconia Road:

Try this map:

Please note that the satellite photos do not reflect reality--the intersection with East Dr and Telegraph Road has been realigned, and the beltway ramp from Route 1 has a new pedestrian/ bike path that joins the Mount Vernon Trail on the Washington St. overpass. I tried this last week and it is a good alternative to backtracking to Van Dorn St.

Posted by: signof4 | July 20, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

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