The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

East Potomac Park to get bike and pedestrian path that will replace 1 car lane

The National Park Service said it would replace one of the lanes for vehicles on Ohio Drive at Hains Point

A rendering of the planned bike and pedestrian path along Ohio Drive. (National Park Service)

The National Park Service said Tuesday that it would replace a car lane on Ohio Drive around East Potomac Park with a marked, 2½-mile path for cyclists and pedestrians.

The work is expected to start in early December and take about a week, during which time the park will be closed to motorists, pedestrians and cyclists. The project is a partnership with the District Department of Transportation.

“These changes will provide a safer park experience for all visitors by prioritizing safety and reducing conflicts between people who walk, bicycle and drive, while continuing to provide for the fullest range of uses of East Potomac Park,” said Jeff Reinbold, superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks.

The Park Service said the plan is part of a broader effort to improve access to its parks in the District. Drivers often exceed the 15 mph speed limit on Ohio Drive, a stretch of road to Hains Point that also includes large numbers of cyclists and pedestrians, but where a sea wall path for those on foot is closed in many places. In 2021, two pedestrians were fatally struck by a vehicle.

Part of Rock Creek Park’s Beach Drive will stay closed to cars year-round

“The potential for conflict between the many users remains high,” the Park Service said in a document setting out the new design.

The final design varies slightly from proposals unveiled this spring, creating a two-way path rather than separate one-way lanes for bikes and pedestrians.

The path will be marked with paint, but the Park Service said it could be modified to include flex posts or curbs in the future. The Park Service said cyclists will be free to continue using the car lane.