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Ask GGW: How are the trails? And talk about traffic calming

Reader Simon asks,

Photo by M.V. Jantzen.
Do you have any updates on the status of non-car routes into DC? I understand that most footpaths are clear, thanks to the rain, but that the entrances and exits of such paths can still be blocked by piled up snow making it impassable for wheelchairs, and difficult for pedestrians.

As for biking, I understand that the Capital Crescent Trail is a disaster in the Maryland section, with lots of ice, and basically unusable for bike commuting. Rock Creek's roadway is OK, but the parallel bike/ped path still has a lot of ice, as far as I could see from my driving commute. Do you have any information on these items?

Do you regularly walk or bike on any of these trails and can fill in the status for other readers who might want to use them for commutes or recreation?

And here's another question from reader Kathy in Arlington:

My son, who is in middle school, is doing his science project on traffic calming (his idea, not mine!) and is looking for experts to interview.
If you know a bunch about traffic calming and are willing to talk to Kathy's son, email and I will put you in touch.
David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. 


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As of yesterday, the Crescent Trail still had tons of compacted slush in the from Bethesda to the DC border. Glad to hear that the DC part is faring better. The Bethesda-Silver Spring branch may be more clear since it's not asphalt, but I haven't seen it yet - I hope to try and bike it tomorrow.

The bike path along MacArthur is pretty bad - some areas are clear, but there are huge mounds of ice blocking all road crossings.

by Andrew on Dec 28, 2009 5:35 pm • linkreport

Mount Vernon Trail from Four Mile Run to 14th Street Bridge is very rideable. There are a couple of small sections that are icy, but nothing significant. Four Mile Run is clear from Glebe to Mount Vernon Trail as well.

by Scott on Dec 28, 2009 6:06 pm • linkreport

C&O Canal mostly clear although more ice as you get further into Maryland.

by kreeggo on Dec 28, 2009 6:33 pm • linkreport

I biked (and walked) the Rock Creek trail on Saturday, from P St to Conn Ave. A large section was flooded:
-and the part near the Mass Ave bridge was pretty much covered in ice, snow and slush, making it un-ride-able:
There was a lot of melting on Sunday (though the valley is cooler), so I would consider biking it, if you don't mind walking it now and then.
You might want to check for more info.

by Michael on Dec 28, 2009 6:56 pm • linkreport

The W&OD trail is getting better, but the Dunn Loring/Vienna part still has large chunks of ice and snow which make even walking a bit treacherous. That was yesterday, so hopefully some more has melted by now.

by Heather on Dec 28, 2009 6:57 pm • linkreport

Thanks to all who contributed. I also asked this question to Chris Eatough (Bike Arlington) who said that he managed the trail on a mountain bike.

I suppose this raises the question of why the powers that be do no plowing or treating on the CCT (at least in MD).

by Simon on Dec 28, 2009 7:30 pm • linkreport

Although updated infrequently, there was an update in Dec on this blog

by Shawn on Dec 29, 2009 7:41 am • linkreport

The Metro Branch is clear of ice and snow from Franklin all the way to R St NE. However there still remains a small portion unpaved and requiring a mtn bike. And be advised that the City has gained a permit from WMATA to construct the trail in the PEPCO parcel connecting to NY Ave and constuction may begin soon.

by Marchant Wentworth on Dec 29, 2009 10:00 am • linkreport

The entire length of the Custis Trail (Rosslyn to western Arlington) is definitely rideable. There are a few very minor icy patches, but nothing to be worried about. I counted 11 other cyclists using the trail on my way in to work this morning.

by Josh on Dec 29, 2009 11:17 am • linkreport

Commuted to work today, the Crescent trail in Maryland is very inconsistent. By segment:
DC Border - Mass Ave Bridge: Basically unbikeable. The bridge and tunnel are obviously fine, but most of this section is covered by a very bumpy sheet of ice. Definitely need to walk your bikes here.
Mass Ave Bridge - River Road Bridge: A little better, but still some long patches of ice. You can bike about half of it.
River Road Bridge - Bethesda @ Barnes&Noble: There's pavement showing basically the whole way (maybe 10 ft on ice). This is a highly traveled segment, so it makes sense that the ice is almost gone.
Bethesda - Connecticut Ave: Mostly OK, but a few ice sheets. Two long ones that require walking.
Connectic Ave - Jones Bridge Road: A big sheet of ice. Completely unbikeable.
Jones Bridge Road - Silver Spring: There's a small path on the side of the trail that's melted the whole way, so you can bike on that.

Overall, I definitely would not recommend the trail still if you're in a rush. Definitely don't try unless you have a mountain bike.

by Andrew on Dec 29, 2009 3:13 pm • linkreport

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