Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bike commuting on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge

Today's Post contains a good article on the importance of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge to bike commuters:
Photo: Washington Post
The new span was a massive, regional undertaking, intended to speed vehicle travel on the Capital Beltway, and the path planned for pedestrians and cyclists was a tiny piece of the project when it was sketched out more than a decade ago.

At the time, the boom in bike commuting was years away. But as thousands of people across the region prepare for Bike to Work Day on Friday, the planners are looking very smart.

Prince George’s officials said use of the 3.5-mile Wilson Bridge trail has increased dramatically since it opened in 2009. In March, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission recorded 26,827 crossings, up from 13,998 in March 2012. (In both cases, a trip back and forth was counted as two crossings.)

“The more the region interconnects these various bike trails and bike lanes, it just makes biking a more attractive option, not only for commuting but also for other activities,” said Robert Griffiths, a transportation specialist at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

Biking as a way to commute has surged in the Washington area, particularly in the District, which is considered one of the country’s leading cities for bike commuting.
The article goes on to discuss the importance of connecting bike facilities on each side of the bridge. The same is true of the new crossings of the Beltway that were built as part of the HOT lanes project. The crossings help but we need to do a better job of connecting them to the surrounding bike network.

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