Ride In 5/24: Anchors Away

What a wonderful morning for a bike commute. I worried that it would be too hot or too humid, but it turned out to be not so bad and I even took the time to take a few extra miles to get to work and explore some things on the road from here to there (here being home, and there being here, in the latter case here being work, from where I blog).
A to 14th to South Carolina to 11th. This is my standard route to Fragers, where I buy my gardening supplies, paint and associated tools that I can't effective use, and to the southern half of Barracks Row and its bike shops and haloumi sliders (or whatever else is there. Is there something worth visiting other than the bike shops and the cheese burgers (not cheeseburgers)?). It's a relatively light traffic area and today was probably even lighter on account of the impending holiday weekend. A bit of a cluster crossing Penn with it's shifting car lanes of doom, but nothing major. It's not done yet, but there's a new local bridge on 11th street that opened today. This bridge connects the area near the Navy Yard (Navy Yard is what some people call this area) to the area near historic Anacostia (Anacostia is what some people call this area). I don't know if mine was the maiden bike voyage (how can you even tell if your bike is a maiden? I checked under the bottom bracket, but couldn't tell) and I'm not sure it totally counts as a maiden voyage since I didn't actually cross to the other side of the bridge, instead pausing midway to snap this very exciting picture.

The bridge isn't actually finished yet, but DDOT, in its infinite wisdom has constructed a path for pedestrians and bicyclists to use while the crews wrap up construction. So, consider the bridge open. I hit one of the Jersey barriers with a bottle of champagne, but I'm not sure that's how you christen a bridge. My champagne budget is getting out of hand. I have big hopes for this bridge. I think it might prove to be a useful economic development tool and really connect the communities on both sides of the river. I think I'll do the full crossing in the afternoon.
Back on dry land, I continued down to the riverfront and set about walking my bike along the Washington Navy Yard Riverwalk, which might or might not be considered part of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail system. I chose to walk my bike because bicycling along this trail is prohibited, as explained on twitter recently, replete with a confusing picture of a locked-up bike (which isn't being ridden, so I'm not sure if there's an actual violation here). And why is bicycling along the Riverwalk prohibited? Here's your explanation:
The pedestrian bridge that makes up part of the Navy Yard's Riverwalk is narrow, and cannot support intermingled pedestrian and any type of vehicular traffic. Child strollers and wheelchairs are allowed.
Employees exiting through turnstiles onto the Riverwalk will not have immediate situational awareness of their surroundings, and may not see oncoming vehicular traffic in time to avoid a collision. The reverse would be true for someone who is on a bicycle, skateboard, rollerblades or scooter who would suddenly be confronted with a pedestrian that emerged from a turnstile. This is an obvious safety concern as collisions would be unavoidable.
That's right. A pedestrian bridge (which is about 50 feet of the three quarters of a mile along the river) is narrow and because Navy employees will be so disoriented by turnstile use (!!!) that collisions with bicyclists would be unavoidable. Unavoidable! Not just likely or possible- but cannot in any way be avoided. Sure doom. DOOM! So, what does this treacherous stretch of surefire calamity look like?

Here's a turnstile.

I could definitely understand how someone using one of these might not have immediate situational awareness and may not see oncoming traffic. I mean, it's not like the turnstiles are just horizontal metal slats with considerable gaps between them that in no way obstruct your vision. And it's not like the area of "disorientation" outside the turnstile is only one or two feet or the 30 feet of trail.
Still dangerous. 
Here's what's on the other side of the turnstile. A parking lot. With cars driving. Apparently disoriented Navy employees are well equipped to deal with the potential hazards of motorized, multi-ton vehicles.

Ironically, on the narrow pedestrian bridge, I did encounter two other cyclists heading in the opposite direction. They were riding, as I walked my bike. And of course they almost collided with the one of person who was walking along the Riverwalk. But that's not because they were bicyclists. It's because they were idiots. They would have done the same were they pushing a stroller. Of course, obviously, something like this had to happen in order to undermine my whole point.
But here's my proposal, Navy. Allow biking on the trail. Prohibit biking on the pedestrian bridge. And put a stripe about 5 feet outside of the turnstile either restricts bicycling therein and allows disoriented employees an opportunity to regain their composure and situational awareness. Not being able to bike along this part of a trail is a disservice to the entire community and it really needs to be rectified as soon as possible. The excuses for the prohibition are laughable, flimsy and reveal that the keepers of the trail have little regard for Navy employees or bicyclists.
After the Navy Yard, I managed to find myself lost on Buzzard Point. I might have even biked into the headquarters of the Coast Guard. There was lots of industrial use and parking lots and land that seems rife for redevelopment, either as a soccer stadium or velodrome or anything else that isn't a parking lot or an abandoned industrial site. It's sort of a cool part of town and seems very far away in a way that isn't actually factually true.
I turned back around and got myself to P street, which I took to the other part of the ART, passed the Fish Market, the Jefferson Memorial Fish Market, the George Mason Memorial Fish Market, the Martin Luther King Jr. Fish Market, and the Lincoln Memorial Fish Market. At least, I presume all those places also sell fresh sea food. Along Ohio Drive, bike traffic started to pick up, in both directions. A few more bikes on the Rock Creek Parkway Trail (one old dude in the parkway itself, riding in what is normally the northbound lanes) and then it down K and up Wisconsin. That's a good morning climb and I felt like I did it at a pace that was both leisurely and respectable. I can't wait to get back on my bike this afternoon.


  1. What the Riverwalk needs is bollards. Lots of them. Then open it up to young punks on their bikes. They'll be crashing like Facebook shares.

    1. To be fair, at #FridayCoffeeClub this morning, I did suggest that placing a few feet of bollards immediately next to the turnstyles would solve the problem of pedestrians walking out not having situational awareness, and minimize the potential for them to get smacked right away by a cyclist.

  2. The gentleman riding in the parkway itself was breaking the law, correct?

    Thank goodness the Navy Yard isn't the Air Force Yard... no telling what sort of aerial shenanigans they'd be pulling with cyclists violating their airspace.

    They need to install another narrow metal bridge, have an eastbound and westbound bridge... -@SamuelMoore

  3. If only the navy could do something like this: http://tinyurl.com/827r64w we would all be safer.

  4. The problem is not cyclists - it's idiots - and cycles propel the idiots faster allowing them to do more harm to my children than regular slow idiots. For this reason I have supported and will continue to support the ban on riding along the Navy Yard and particularly in Yards Park.

  5. If the metal bridge is even 50 feet I'll eat my hat! (or helmet)