I've heard that DC has some good places to go biking. Perhaps the C&O Canal Towpath, or the Crescent Trail, but those are two paths that basically run parallel to each other in NW DC. I hear that Rock Creek Park has bike paths in it, but this is also in NW.
What about ways for commuters to traverse DC with out using cars, or the public transit system? Is there a reasonable system of bike paths and bike routes, to perhaps enable, or even encourage bike commuting in this city? Not one that I've found. So far every bike path or route I've attempted to follow to get to any of my many work locations have ended up with me riding on questionable routes, and through very heavy car and pedestrian (tourist) traffic. While I know that no system is able to be 100% great, I still would like to think that DC could step it up at least a few notches.
Today, I went on a little photo expedition in my own neighborhood. I followed one of the proposed "Bike Routes" that is supposedly designed to transport commuters from South East DC (read Anacostia) to South Capitol Street bridge, and on towards down town. This route leads us right by both ends of the Anacostia metro station, and through the Park Police training facility, into Anacostia Park.
Here are a few of the photos I took on my journey.
After turning off Howard Road, and up towards the Anacostia Metro and parking lot, you come to this point, where the route seems to either disappear completely, or turn into the road.
When it comes down to it, this is unacceptable. How does DC expect people to ride their bikes to work, when they haven't established the proper infrastructure to enable it? What benefits would creating safe bike routes for commuters? Well they are cheaper to maintain than regular roads, bicyclists put less stress on the roads if they use them, and if more people biked to work, then there would be fewer cars on the road. If DC's priorities were in the right place they would put more emphasis on creating alternatives to driving to work. Whether it is creating a real system of bike routes, or furthering the public transit system, or building a system that encorperates the two together, this city has a lot of progress that still needs to be made.
More reports like this to follow......