February 13, 2010

What Andrews AFB bicycling could be...

My colleague over at WashCycle recently posted a writeup relating to BRAC transportation improvements and Andrews AFB. In a nutshell, Prince George's County will have a share of about $9.2 million from a recent appropriations bill for BRAC-related transportation improvements. While the county's BRAC Action Plan lists several highway and transit improvements, it basically has nothing for bikes and pedestrians (not counting a listed item to add pedestrian signals to the Perimeter Rd/Virginia Ave intersection on the south side of Andrews AFB).

This got me to thinking about what would work and what could potentially fit for bicycle facilities on Andrews. Here is what I came up with:

(Click on the image for a larger version. A PDF version is also available.)

DoD and the Air Force can easily begin encouraging a culture of bicycling on the base by implemeting several low-cost items, such as bike route signs, "Share the Road" signs, and sharrows. In addition, some of the roads on base are wide enough to be restriped to include bike lanes.

Such items could be implemented on the collector streets and minor arterial roads base-wide, providing a "bicycle boulevard" system that, though focused on the western part of the base, provides bicycle access to most facilities on the base.

Here are the more specific facilities in my Vision. Most of these facilities would require some street widening or new construction:

  • Main Gate: The Main Gate access, between Perimeter Rd/Alabama Ave and Allentown Rd/Suitland Rd, could be widened slightly to accommodate bike lanes. These could tie into bike lanes that are proposed along Suitland Rd.

  • North Gate: This could be built in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Ave/Suitland Pkwy interchange project, which will partially reconfigure the Suitland Pkwy interchange access to the North Gate. A separated trail could be constructed in between the inbound and outbound ramps, tying into the realigned intersection with Old Marlboro Pike. This would also provide direct access to the future Suitland Parkway trail.

  • Pearl Harbor Gate: A separated trail could be built along the north side of the access road at the Pearl Harbor Gate, connecting to Dower House Rd.

  • Virginia Ave: The northern half of Virginia Ave, from Menoher Dr to San Antonio Blvd, could be widened slightly to implement bike lanes. South of San Antonio Blvd, due to the narrowness of the road and the surrounding golf course, my vision includes a separated bike/ped trail along the east side of Virginia Ave. This separated trail extends out the Virginia Gate to connect to Old Alexandria Ferry Rd.

  • Perimeter Rd: Through a combination of restriping and minor widening, bike lanes could be added to the entirety of the Perimeter Road, tying the two halves of the base together and providing internal circulation for bicycles.

  • Arnold Ave: Bicycle lanes along this street, which would tie directly into the North Perimeter Road, would provide access to the Exchange, the Commissary, and several airfield facilities and other facilities.

  • F Street: In conjunction with a short stretch of Alabama Ave, bicycle lanes along F Street would provide a direct connection between the Main Gate and the Commissary.

  • Menoher Dr and San Antonio Blvd: Bicycle lanes along these two streets would tie other bike facilities to the main residential areas on Andrews.

  • Freedom Park Bike Loop: This facility isn't so much a transportation facility as it would be a recreation/exercise loop route. The northern half would effectively be a bicycle boulevard, utilizing two streets that are currently used for physical training (i.e. exercise). The southeast leg would also be a bicycle boulevard, utilizing the Freedom Park access road. The remainder would be a combination of a new bike/ped trail through part of the golf course and using an access road that services an antenna.

Not shown on my vision plan, but constructed a couple years ago, is a jogging path along the northern perimeter fence, from the old Maryland Dr gate (north of the water tower), clockwise around past the North Gate, to the old East Gate. This facility could also be utilized for a perimeter bicycle route, and could also be extended in both directions (on the western perimeter to Westover Dr and on the eastern perimeter to the Pearl Harbor Gate).

With or without the additional construction, this vision provides an integrated bicycle system on Andrews that connects to the surrounding community.

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