Recently, DDOT and Georgetown Business Improvement District installed a protected bikeway on Water Street NW that will, in its completed form, provide a low-stress connection between the Capital Crescent Trail (CCT) and the Rock Creek Trail and their respective networks. This short connection fills an important gap, and it's a significant contribution to the development of the broader regional network sought by the Capital Trails Coalition.
The importance of building this regional network is obvious to people who walk and bike the region's trails. But in this video, I ask a different question: Who does this new bikeway serve?
I use the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's low-stress origin-destination analysis tool, called BikeAble, to examine the extent to which this relatively short protected lane makes the Capital Crescent Trail (and thereby the full network to which it is connected) accessible to risk-averse bicyclists who avoid high-stress routes.
For origins, we analyzed all residential parcels within Ward 2. The single destination is the CCT trailhead.
We found that the new connection, though short, punched above its weight. Before it was put in, virtually no one could access the CCT without taking a high-stress route. After this protected bikeway was put in, that number jumped — now roughly 2,000 residential parcels and the people who live on them are connected by nearby, low-stress biking routes to the CCT.
Thanks to Philip Shutler for extracting the data and running the analysis.