This is the twelfth and final project on my 12-item Christmas wish list for DC biking projects.
#12 A Real Bicycle Beltway
Cost: Are you kidding?
Status: Not even on the radar
When people in the area talk about the Bicycle Beltway, they're talking about the loop made by the Capital Crescent, Metropolitan Branch and the National Mall. (Except in Rockville, where they mean the Rockville Millennium Trail). But that 22 mile Beltway is significantly smaller than the 64 mile Capital Beltway. It doesn't even cross into Virginia.
No a real Bicycle Beltway would cross on the new Wilson Bridge's Pedestrian lane, pass by Andrews AFB, through New Carrollton, Greenbelt, and Kensington before crossing the American Legion Bridge on its way to Falls Church, Springfield and then back to the Wilson Bridge.
It's not as though I feel that a new trail should be built in around the entire Beltway - though Atlanta is doing this -, but when new interchanges are built or widening is done, a bicycle component should always be included. The $676 million Springfield interchange has room for a rail line and Backlick Stream, but there isn't a single place for a cyclist to get through (along Backlick Stream would have made sense). If area planners want to fix transportation problems, they need to make room for cyclists.