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Old 02-12-06, 11:51 AM   #1
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Mt. Vernon snow update-DC/NoVA

Ok... cause I have to leave out at 4:30am tomorrow to get to work, and I'm worried. I've seen Four Mile Run- just completely covered with snow (and probably ice too).

Any alternatives for me to take? For now, I'm going to travel Glebe to Route 1, but I'm not sure where the turn off is for catching Mt. Vernon if I stick with that, unless I head over to 20th Street and catch it right at the first bridge.

Thoughts? Ideas?

Koffee
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Old 02-12-06, 11:59 AM   #2
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Turn right on Eads where Glebe crosses it. It dead ends on the bike trail. As a general rule, no bike trails in this area are ever plowed.

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Old 02-12-06, 12:29 PM   #3
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Actually, it would be a left onto Eades if you're coming from my direction. But I'm planning to bypass Eades if possible and just continue to Jefferson Davis Highway and just ride alongside the trail there. I just heard something about the trail along J D Hwy ending, then there's some kind of tunnel I go under, and it dumps me onto the last part of Mt. Vernon or something like that?

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Old 02-12-06, 02:10 PM   #4
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Be careful tomorrow. The forecast for tonight is around 20 degrees. It'll be an icy morning.
Maybe a day on the Metro?
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Old 02-12-06, 03:03 PM   #5
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Koffee, if you don't have studded tires, you might really want to consider the Metro. There will be alot of black ice because of all the melting today, and at 4:30 am, it won't be pretty, even on the major streets like Glebe and Eades.

I have my icebike ready with studded tires, but I'm a bit nervous. I took a spin on it the afternoon, but there was no real ice, only snow, water, and slush. If the black ice that always covers the next block from my house is unrideable with the studs, I'll turn around and Metro in. I've hit my head too many times already.
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Old 02-12-06, 05:33 PM   #6
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Koffee:

Head north on Crystal Drive. There will be a small park on your right. Watch for the steep downhill path leading to the tunnel and thence to the Mt. Vernon Trail.

In my experience, under winter conditions, the Arlington off-street trail system is nearly impassible without studded tires and can be difficult even with them. You may have to walk the bike part of the way to the 14th Street bridge.

On the good side, all roads are clear. The one problem is the black ice that can be expected.

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Old 02-12-06, 06:06 PM   #7
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Ok, so I'll take Eads to 18th Street, then take 18th St. to Crystal Drive and jump the path there. That'll guarantee me missing most of the path.

Yeah... when I saw overnight lows of 19 degrees, I began to worry a bit. But it's still not a Metro day. It would take me a lot to get on a Metro.

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Old 02-12-06, 06:53 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by koffee brown
Ok, so I'll take Eads to 18th Street, then take 18th St. to Crystal Drive and jump the path there. That'll guarantee me missing most of the path.

Yeah... when I saw overnight lows of 19 degrees, I began to worry a bit. But it's still not a Metro day. It would take me a lot to get on a Metro.

Koffee
Why no metro? No stop close or you are against it?

Personally I would bike/metro. Bike to the nearest stop and metro in. Bike the rest of the way if your office isn't near a stop. This would minimize the danger from biking early in the morning before the sun has melted the ice.

It would probably put you to work early (since you can't have a bike from 7:00-10:00am, but since you are get up early to ride anyhow, it wouldn't hurt for a day. By the afternoon the black ice problem should be smaller, since it should be at least a little above freezing and the sun will have been out heating up the asphalt.

-D
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Old 02-12-06, 06:56 PM   #9
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No metro. Too many people with nasty morning breath. Too many "the metro is closed for x,y,z and we'll be reopening soon". And I just don't like the metro in general. I get to work in 25- 40 min, but always an hour or so by train with all the transferring and waiting. And I don't like the restrictions they have for bikes. I'd rather just deal with black ice.

Plus, the first train doesn't start until 5am, and I want to be to work by 5:15 am, so it wouldn't work at all.

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Old 02-12-06, 08:41 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by koffee brown
No metro. Too many people with nasty morning breath. Too many "the metro is closed for x,y,z and we'll be reopening soon". And I just don't like the metro in general. I get to work in 25- 40 min, but always an hour or so by train with all the transferring and waiting. And I don't like the restrictions they have for bikes. I'd rather just deal with black ice.

Plus, the first train doesn't start until 5am, and I want to be to work by 5:15 am, so it wouldn't work at all.

Koffee
All decent reasons. It was a thought. One word of advise. Don't ever try the pathetic excuse for a metro up here in Baltimore.

Good luck tomorrow, and be safe

-D
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Old 02-12-06, 09:42 PM   #11
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Thanks. I got my plan in action. I'm leaving 15 minutes early. I'm even bringing my coffee since I'll be leaving much earlier, and I'll probably feel a little run down.

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Old 02-13-06, 06:03 AM   #12
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Ok, I just risked my life and rode into work today. I'm mad. And I'm going to call over to the park service today. I'll post something once I get some kind of solid confirmation from them on what they plan to do about the Mt. Vernon Trail.

So I did as I said I'd do- I rode Glebe to Eads, then turned on 18th Street and rode to Crystal Drive (mild black ice). As soon as I hit the path, I encountered immediate snow. No biggie. I walked/rode (mostly walked) my bike to Mt. Vernon Trail. As soon as I hit the trail, though, there were problems. Clearly, there was NO ATTEMPT on the part of the park service to plow- not even a tiny bit. Consequently, I walked/rode (mostly walked about 85% of the time) until I got really mad. Walking along GWH, I got madder and madder watching the cars zoom by. Finally, I jumped onto GWH and rode in the dark (keep in mind, it was only about a few minutes to 5am by this point) until I hit Gravelly Point. Gravelly Point itself was only partially plowed, so it became again a walk/ride fest until I passed under 14th Street bridge. Figuring that if I walked to the start of the 14th Street bridge bike path, I'd only encounter more snow, I decided to just push my bike up the hill. When I got to the top of the hill, I remounted and rode across the 14th Street Bridge, but there still is minimal ice. I only had to get off my bike and walk once. On the DC side of the 14th Street bridge is where all the ice is, so be warned about that.

Once I got into DC, it's a whole different story- plowed streets, shovelled sidewalks. I said to myself "I'm sick of this ****... I'm going to pursue this and force them to at least provide basic service for the Mt. Vernon Trail". So please... no lectures about how I can take public transportation, no talk about how they never do anything. They never do anything because we act like a bunch of aholes and we let them do this to us. I'm not going to allow them to treat me (or other cyclists) this way. We deserve equal access just as much as cars and pedestrians do for their streets and sidewalks. If they can't give it to us, then they should reimburse us for taking public transportation, taxis, or renting cars. I want action. I want retribution. Dammit, I want to not have to risk my life and take an hour and five minutes to ride into work when it usually only takes me 30 minutes!

**** the system!

Koffee
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Old 02-13-06, 10:12 AM   #13
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Well, that saves me having to ask about Mt. Vernon trail conditions! I was out yesterday with the studded tires, but did not have the guts to try it this morning considering the condition of the ice. Can you let us know if the sun cleans it up any today? Hope you have a better ride home.
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Old 02-13-06, 10:49 AM   #14
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You go girl!?!? Yours is a noble cause and I wish you good luck The National Park Service did plow the Capital Crescent from the DC line down to G'town this morning. It made the riding somewhat easier, but the big effect is how it speeds up melting. Plowed sections that were in the sun were already turning to bare pavement. Good luck and let us know what happens.
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Old 02-13-06, 11:25 AM   #15
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Thanks for the update, Koffee.

With temps in upper 30s and some sunshine, there should some melting today. Maybe the MV trail will be a little better tomorrow, so I think I'll take it then...
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Old 02-13-06, 01:28 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by koffee brown
Ok, I just risked my life and rode into work today. I'm mad. And I'm going to call over to the park service today. I'll post something once I get some kind of solid confirmation from them on what they plan to do about the Mt. Vernon Trail.

So I did as I said I'd do- I rode Glebe to Eads, then turned on 18th Street and rode to Crystal Drive (mild black ice). As soon as I hit the path, I encountered immediate snow. No biggie. I walked/rode (mostly walked) my bike to Mt. Vernon Trail. As soon as I hit the trail, though, there were problems. Clearly, there was NO ATTEMPT on the part of the park service to plow- not even a tiny bit. Consequently, I walked/rode (mostly walked about 85% of the time) until I got really mad. Walking along GWH, I got madder and madder watching the cars zoom by. Finally, I jumped onto GWH and rode in the dark (keep in mind, it was only about a few minutes to 5am by this point) until I hit Gravelly Point. Gravelly Point itself was only partially plowed, so it became again a walk/ride fest until I passed under 14th Street bridge. Figuring that if I walked to the start of the 14th Street bridge bike path, I'd only encounter more snow, I decided to just push my bike up the hill. When I got to the top of the hill, I remounted and rode across the 14th Street Bridge, but there still is minimal ice. I only had to get off my bike and walk once. On the DC side of the 14th Street bridge is where all the ice is, so be warned about that.

Once I got into DC, it's a whole different story- plowed streets, shovelled sidewalks. I said to myself "I'm sick of this ****... I'm going to pursue this and force them to at least provide basic service for the Mt. Vernon Trail". So please... no lectures about how I can take public transportation, no talk about how they never do anything. They never do anything because we act like a bunch of aholes and we let them do this to us. I'm not going to allow them to treat me (or other cyclists) this way. We deserve equal access just as much as cars and pedestrians do for their streets and sidewalks. If they can't give it to us, then they should reimburse us for taking public transportation, taxis, or renting cars. I want action. I want retribution. Dammit, I want to not have to risk my life and take an hour and five minutes to ride into work when it usually only takes me 30 minutes!

**** the system!

Koffee
Yowl !

I don't know how you can ride in the freezing cold and 15 inches of snow!

I love to cycling but I would need to be in florida to ride year round.

As for the trails it's the same in Maryland. The DNR does not plow the bicycle trails you must wait for the spring thaw.

But we have tons of bureaucratic crap; like anti-bicycle and anti-gun. I don't feel free or that my tax money is well spent.

But try to change things if you can. I have complained about several Baltimore City services and it's just a dead end into a brick wall.

Last edited by wildjim; 02-13-06 at 01:44 PM.
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Old 02-13-06, 01:52 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by koffee brown
Ok, I just risked my life and rode into work today. I'm mad. And I'm going to call over to the park service today. I'll post something once I get some kind of solid confirmation from them on what they plan to do about the Mt. Vernon Trail.

... I'm going to pursue this and force them to at least provide basic service for the Mt. Vernon Trail". So please... no lectures about how I can take public transportation, no talk about how they never do anything. They never do anything because we act like a bunch of aholes and we let them do this to us. I'm not going to allow them to treat me (or other cyclists) this way. We deserve equal access just as much as cars and pedestrians do for their streets and sidewalks. If they can't give it to us, then they should reimburse us for taking public transportation, taxis, or renting cars. I want action. I want retribution. Dammit, I want to not have to risk my life and take an hour and five minutes to ride into work when it usually only takes me 30 minutes!

**** the system!

Koffee
What really makes me laugh is that the Park Service always immediately plough the parking spots along the trail.....for what? if the trail isn't usable what's the point!
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Old 02-13-06, 02:00 PM   #18
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Love riding in the snow, but once people have been walking around in it and the footprints freeze solid, it is impossible to pass. Problem is it also takes a while to defrost.
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Old 02-13-06, 02:00 PM   #19
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What really makes me laugh is that the Park Service always immediately plough the parking spots along the trail.....for what? if the trail isn't usable what's the point!
That's funny!

Here in Maryland, last year after a large snow storm the temperature reached 65 degrees so I went to the B&A Trail to ride and as you stated the parking lot was cleared but the trail was covered with ice and snow. The DNR officer said to come back in a few weeks after the spring thaw
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Old 02-13-06, 02:50 PM   #20
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Koffee -- I admire your spirit, but you may be best served by buying studded tires. I've had mine for three DC winters and I haven't missed a day of cycle-commuting due to weather since I got them. On a morning like today even where it's been plowed there is ice everywhere, and it only takes a sliver of ice to put a bicycle down.

Another option is to do your own trail maintenance. A little salt goes a long way. If you sprinkle it in the morning, by the time you come home in the evening the path will often be cleared. Then there's this option:
http://www-bdnew.fnal.gov/pbar/organ...Bike_Plow.html


Marylandnewbie -- what time did you go down the CCT? I was on it around 8:30 this morning and it was unplowed, rutted ice. I did see a couple of NPS trucks but they didn't seem to be doing anything.
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Old 02-13-06, 03:24 PM   #21
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Studded tires are the way to go. I'm not waiting for the bureaucracy to catch up to me. Here are some pics of the MV trail near Alexandria. Very rutty and icy, but no problem with the studded tires.

Last edited by tulip; 06-12-08 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 02-13-06, 03:42 PM   #22
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Studded tires are the way to go. I'm not waiting for the bureaucracy to catch up to me. Here are some pics of the MV trail near Alexandria. Very rutty and icy, but no problem with the studded tires.
Nic pics, Velogirl. I see that those were taken on one of the wooden bridges... How are the pavement sections looking?
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Old 02-13-06, 03:46 PM   #23
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Nic pics, Velogirl. I see that those were taken on one of the wooden bridges... How are the pavement sections looking?
much the same, with some melted off parts. Very bumpy, frozen ruts. Must have been lots of joggers out. I can't imagine riding without studded tires. I saw only 5 other commuters, and three of them had studded tires (you can hear them on bare pavement). One guy was in town on a regular bike, and the other guy was having trouble on the trail.

I was the only chica that I saw during my commute
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Old 02-13-06, 04:02 PM   #24
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Those a-holes!

I mean, they act all sympathetic, but I ended up just implying they are bunch of lazy bastards passing the buck from one supervisor to the next. I'm going to contact John James, the acting Superintendent of the National Park Service and speak my mind. I'm also going to get in contact with WABA and see what they're up to. Then I'm going to contact an attorney. I can't believe the lame excuses I got earlier when I talked to them today- the best of the excuses was that the trail is NOT a bike path- it is a multi use trail, and right now, when it's snowing, they don't plow because it's used by cross country skiers and snowmobilers. CROSS COUNTRY SKIERS AND SNOWMOBILERS??!! Bite me! I told them that they need to consider who the primary users of the trail are and who's being the most inconvenienced by the loss of the trail- and that's cyclists and runners. It's so lame. The guy even told me that in order to change the way "things are", it would probably take congressional action. Congressional action?? Congressional action? Waht the crap does that mean "Congressional Action"? Not a problem, I told him. I'm going to talk to some people on the top floor of my building. They work in the senate, and I'm sure they can direct me to the proper congressional people. No answer to that one- I think he didn't know what to say after that. But I am going to contact my buddies at the Senate. Heck, I just had brownies up there with them on Friday. I'll bake a batch of my own brownies and bring it over and butter them up with it.

I am hoping that WABA can team up with a local runners group (any runners group). I'm perfectly willing to come by with a shovel and salt and take a section of the path and shovel it clean. If WABA can get 10 dedicated folks and the runners group can get 10 dedicated folks, and we just take the trail from mile 7 to the Key Bridge, we can pretty much clear up the mess along the path. With 30 dedicated people, we can have that path cleared within 2 hours.

*sigh*

The ride home definitely wasn't as bad. It only took me 50 minuts instead of the 1:05 min from this morning. It is pretty badly iced and snowed over still, but not as badly as this morning. It's got some patchy clear spots, then gets snowy and icy. Heading south, I got off at the Crystal City turn off and didn't bother to try getting over that second bridge. It looked to be completely iced over still.

Tomorrow morning, I'm taking my bike to the Metro. Then my brother is going to pick me up at the metro and drive me into DC. I'm going to ride in with him. As far as the ride back, I'll have to figure it out. I have to work until late in the evening, but I'm hoping that I can hitch a ride off someone who works at my fitness club. If not, I will have to stomach the metro back to my bike, then take my bike the rest of the way. By Wednesday, I expect to be 100% back to riding early morning.

Man, this is ridiculous.

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Old 02-13-06, 04:05 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velogirl
much the same, with some melted off parts. Very bumpy, frozen ruts. Must have been lots of joggers out. I can't imagine riding without studded tires. I saw only 5 other commuters, and three of them had studded tires (you can hear them on bare pavement). One guy was in town on a regular bike, and the other guy was having trouble on the trail.

I was the only chica that I saw during my commute
I saw a chica that I thought was you the other day; and I was pretty embarrassed when I said "hi," and it turned out to be someone else! Ha ha...

Otherwise, thanks... I'm hoping that there was some melting today, because I want to get out there tomorrow; though that sounds pretty hairy on 23s (my bike won't allow for much bigger...). Unlike the trail, though, local roads seem good; so I think I'll take the MV Trail to the Crystal City spur, then take a road route from there (Crystal Dr./S. 18th St./S. Eads St./S. Glebe Rd./Rt. 1 to the other side of Four Mile Run/Path on Alex. side of Four Mile Run/Commonwealth Av/King St. towards the river...).

Oh, and Koffee, thanks for your follow-up, too.

Last edited by joshdcu; 02-13-06 at 04:17 PM.
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