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Does anybody know why there's a giant orange barrel in the middle of the path on the east side of the Whitehurst Freeway intersection?

I'm not sure what advocacy work went into it, or what year it was done, but the pike/ped paths were cantilevered in after the bridge's initial construction.

Where there is room for improvement is entering and exiting the sidepaths on the Georgetown side. I typically enter the bridge from turning left off of M Street. When cars are behind me in the turn I'm often worried they won't react to be suddenly slowing to make the curb cut to the west side path. Coming back from Rosslyn on the south side path I either make an awkward transition from the path to the road at the Whitehurst turn, or am forced to stay o the sidewalk at M Street, neither of which are intuitive or feel safe.

Simply taking the road makes for the smoothest, most intuitive access to the bridge, though offers poor connection to the adjacent trails, not too mention the high rate of speed motorists travel across it when there is not congested. Bike lanes or sharrows on the roads, bike boxes at the intersections and some trail way-finding signage seem to be the easiest and cheapest fixes. While it can be argued the side paths offer bike accommodations already, anyone who has tried to ride across it knows that the number of pedestrians makes it quite difficult and slow. I think the Ellington Bridge connecting Woodley Park and Adams Morgan is a good example of what the two combined would look like.

I have to respectfully disagree that this is "a nice bridge to ride across."

I've got to echo Jeff's comments in that I find the intersection at M street coming out of G-town and turning left onto the bridge confusing and dangerous and that's after 15 years of negotiating it. If I want to go up into Arlington I usually ride on the bridge taking a lane as opposed to the sidewalk. The reason being is that if one takes the sidewalk you come down on the Virginia side at the exit for cars going onto the GW Pkwy. It's hairy crossing there. I'd prefer to go with the flow of traffic through the intersections at the end of the brigde and either turn right onto the trail there or continue on the roads.

Another awkward spot is coming from G-town on the downstream sidewalk. One has to cross the entrance of cars coming off of GW Pkwy onto the bridge. Naturally they are looking at traffic which is coming the opposite direction of the bridge. There is a crosswalk there but it's meaningless.

If one chooses the downstream sidewalk when coming into DC one has to make an awkward look over one's left shoulder at the cut-out for cars exiting right onto Whitehurst Freeway. That's a crazy design. It's the ultimate "overtaking and doing a right-hand turn in front of you" situation. Under the best scenario that's a dangerous spot.

Clearly I haven't ridden this bridge often enough. Perhaps I should take a 2nd look.

Yeah, that Whitehurst entrance is a dangerous one (for everyone).

You can cross the bike bridge to TR off your list, though. At least until bikes are actually allowed on TR.

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