Saturday, November 5, 2011

Long Bridge Park needs better northern entrance

Long Bridge Park is a magnificent new park in the southern Rosslyn area.  The park includes three lighted, synthetic turf athletic fields, a beautiful esplanade, and a lovely kinetic artwork called Wave Arbor. Moreover, this already great park is going to become even better in the future.  On the northern end of the park will be a new aquatics, health, and fitness center.  It will include:
an Olympic-sized swimming pool designed for recreational, fitness, and competitive aquatics—including a 10-meter diving platform.  Also planned are an indoor fitness area and an indoor multi-activity center suitable for indoor field sports or community gatherings, an expanded esplanade for outdoor activities, and a fourth full-sized rectangular field.
This park is a great place to go to enjoy nature and to get some exercise.

To get to Long Bridge Park, get on the trail heading south from the Iwo Jima, cross the bridge over 110, and head towards the Mt. Vernon Trail.  Once you cross Washington Blvd, take the trail on the right that takes you on the east side of Washington Blvd. That trail/sidewalk will take you to Boundary Channel Dr.  Then ride on Boundary Channel Dr. along the Pentagon parking lots to the obscure and dumpy-looking northern entrance to Long Bridge Park. 

A longer but more scenic route is to take the Mt. Vernon Trail south to the Crystal City exit near the airport, cross under the George Washington Memorial Parkway, and then turn right on Crystal Dr. and head north.  That will take you into the southern entrance to Long Bridge Park.

At times of high traffic and when many cars are entering and exiting the Pentagon parking lots, riding to Long Bridge Park via the northern entrance is likely to be treacherous.  I suggest getting to the park via the southern entrance.  This has the advantage of giving you about a ten-minute longer bike ride.  If you need a bike, they are readily available in Rosslyn via Capital Bikeshare

A new trail will be built along 110 heading south from the Iwo Jima.  If this new trail could connect to the northern entrance to Long Bridge Park, it would provide a faster route to the park and avoid treacherous crossing of the George Washington Memorial Parkway.


Andrew said...

Interesting. Do you have any more info on the 110 trail? Could help relieve some traffic on the Mt Vernon trail.

Douglas Galbi said...

Here's some more info on the Route 110 trail.

Michael H. said...

With the utility work being done on Old Jefferson Davis Highway, that road could be in bad shape for a while longer. Hopefully it will be repaved by the time it formally becomes Long Bridge Drive in the spring.

As for a northern entrance, ideally the esplanade will be extended over the GW Parkway to connect with the Mt. Vernon Trail. I don't know when that will happen. The north section of the park (aquatic/fitness center, trail connection, esplanade extension) isn't scheduled to be completed until possibly 2015. They are doing planning work for the aquatic center right now. (I think.)

If the trail connection can be built sooner, that would help cyclists a great deal. Cyclists from Rosslyn would have a more direct route to the park, instead of having to ride down to the Crystal City connector. Cyclists riding from the south would have a way to bypass the pedestrian traffic at Gravelly Point.

One plan that comes to mind is to seek assistance from Boeing to help speed up funding and construction for the trail connector. Boeing received county approval to build a new regional HQ immediately to the south of Long Bridge Park. Their employees will benefit from having the park right on their doorstep. Some of their employees may bike to work from Rosslyn and DC. If so, a direct connection to the Mt. Vernon Trail would benefit them.

Boeing and its developer, Monument Realty, had to get county approval for an office-only project. The county wanted a mix of office, retail and residential on what will eventually be the Boeing regional HQ. I think they could be convinced to contribute a little extra to the park and the esplanade.

cj said...

The bike/pedestrian connection over the George Washington Parkway between the esplanade and the Mount Vernon Trail has been in the county's master transportation plan (bicycle section) for some years and has strong local support. It will require approvals from NPS, the National Capital Planning Commission, and probably Federal Highway Administration, as well as a low-impact design and funding that don't yet exist. For better or worse, the connection is now being analyzed as part of the major 14th Street Bridge study. The timetable for that is not clear.

Anonymous said...

Not to split hairs, but this park is in Crystal City (and is within the boundaries of the Crystal City Business improvement District.

This would be like saying that the Iwo Jima Memorial is in the northern Crystal City area.

Regardless, it says a lot that a neighborhood would want to claim this park cause its a beaut!