Cycling in Arlington? There’s a Map for That

Think you know how to get around Arlington on a bike? Check out Arlington County's new Bike Map and see if there might be a better way to get from A to B.

Bike Arlington has just released the latest – and much improved – edition of the Arlington County Bike Map.  It catalogs “50 miles of shared-used off-street trails, 31 miles of bike lanes and sharrows, and 78 miles of recommended on-street routes” for cyclists in Arlington.  While cyclists are entitled by law to ride on any public road in Arlington (except for I-66, I-395, and George Washington Parkway), many find that they prefer to take advantage of Arlington’s growing network of bicycle-friendly streets and trails.  This new map makes it easier to do that.

Most Arlingtonians have seen the bike lanes on Clarendon Boulevard and know about the Custis Trail, but few realize just how far one can travel in Arlington almost exclusively on trails and bike lanes.  The revised map incorporates the new bike lanes and sharrows added last year, and better highlights lesser-known off-street trails.  It also suggests “on-street routes” selected for characteristics that make them more appealing to cyclists (e.g., low-traffic, wide shoulders, or hill-avoiding).  Unlike the not-always-accurate Google Maps "Bike There" feature, this map is the work of people who’ve actually ridden the routes suggested.

Recognizing that few cyclists stay entirely within Arlington, the map now includes more information about connecting trails and bike routes in DC and Alexandria.   New cyclists who are considering a cross-river commute will find the insets illustrating the various bridge crossings very helpful, as they can be quite confusing to the uninitiated. 

The points of interest to cyclists have also undergone significant revision.  In addition to notes of caution at particularly challenging intersections, the map identifies steep hills along its recommended routes.  It also now explains how cyclists can access the roads through Ft. Myer and Arlington National Cemetery.  

Finally, the map includes information that didn't even exist when the last version was published (in 2009).  The new edition now shows the location of Capital Bikeshare stations in both Arlington and DC.  These locations will be updated – along with information about newly-recognized Bicycle-Friendly Businesses  – with each successive printing.

The Arlington County Bike Map is Arlington’s most popular publication, with nearly 50,000 copies distributed last year. You can get a PDF copy of the map at the link above or here. Arlington will mail a copy of the new map to anyone, free of charge. Make your request here. The new map will also be showing up at the Car-Free Diet program’s retail partners in the next month or so, after supplies of the old edition run out.

Geof Gee February 08, 2011 at 06:29 PM
Are you not allowed to ride on Route 1 in Crystal City? I imagine it hardly ever happens. Aren't there bike lanes on Lee Highway heading west towards Spout Run ... from Wayne to Highland? You can see them from space via Google. http://tinyurl.com/4bn7qcl
Mark Blacknell February 08, 2011 at 06:40 PM
Good catch on Route 1. I don't have any reason to think that it's a limited access highway - I'll look into that. And yes there are some bike lanes on Lee Highway. Unfortunately, they're 1) substandard, 2) only westbound. The state failed to inform Arlington that it was repaving in time to get the striping included in the bid, which meant that we're stuck with this poor implementation for some time (unless Arlington can take over responsibility for Lee Highway from the state). In light of all that, I don't think it would be helpful to show Lee Highway as having bike lanes.
Tim (BikeArlington) February 08, 2011 at 08:54 PM
I'll see what I can dig up on these two points--we'll be doing a revision/reprint when the Capital Bikeshare stations expand into the R-B corridor.
Geof Gee February 09, 2011 at 07:04 PM
If substandard is a tricky criterion. For instance, riding south from Lee Highway, long stretches of the bike lane on Quincy St appear to be in the door zone. At least until one gets to 17th ST N. Mind you, I have not been out there with a ruler and I tend to ride past there while pulling the babies so I am a little more sensitive to width. It isn't clear to me how one would mark unidirectional bike lanes on the map. Consequently, I have no immediate answer to the point. While I am not particularly familiar with the area, it appears to connect some medium/high density residential areas to the Custis Trail. In other words, (I believe) there are no direct connections from those apartments to the Custis Trail that avoid Lee Highway. If anyone knows for sure, it would be helpful to respond.


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