Dear PoP – P street ramp from Northbound Rock Creek Parkway Open During Rush Hour?

Photo by flickr user bankbryan

“Dear PoP,

I was wondering if you or any of your readers know if it is possible to take the P Street Ramp as a left exit from Northbound Rock Creek Parkway during evening rush hour when it is one way Northbound. It LOOKS like you can take the ramp if you are all the way in the far left lane on the wrong-way side of the road, but I have been hesitant to try it since I would miss the Mass Ave exit if I got all the way left to see, and end up having to go way further north than I want to be.”

Followed by a quick follow up with the answer:

“Actually I found my own answer on wikipedia:

In Washington, D.C., the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway between the Lincoln Memorial and Calvert St. is converted from two lanes in each direction to one-way southbound in the morning and one-way northbound in the evening rush hour Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays. The P Street exit, usually unavailable northbound, is an allowed left exit in the evening. South of Virginia Avenue, two lanes are closed during rush hours to facilitate the merge to or from Virginia Avenue. There are no overhead markings, but police barricades block wrong-way entrances to the roadway.”

Anyone ever find the Rock Creek Parkway rush hour lanes confusing?

34 Comment

  • Huh…I didn’t know that.

    FWIW I love the reversible lanes. Makes my commute way easy.

  • saf

    Not confusing, but infuriating.

    • infuriating? seriously?

      • I find the people who are confused by the reverse flow to be infuriating. As well as those who think they shouldn’t have to wait in the line of traffic like everyone else in order to continue on Beach Drive. I get off at Cathedral now to do the daycare pick up, but I used to enjoy blocking as many of those @ssholes as possible.

        • I find people who are infuriated by those who are confused to be infuriatingly confusing.

        • I was once one of those @ssholes, the first time I took the parkway NB during p.m. rush hour and was a little disoriented from the roadway change. The exit was completely backed up, but thankfully someone who wasn’t a d!ck like yourself was nice enough to let me in.

          Seriously, what do you get out of doing that? A little chuckle as you see someone almost get rear-ended, meanwhile you’re what, 2 seconds closer to home than if you’d let them in?

      • saf

        Seriously. Makes the park into a speedway. Makes drivers into idiots. And make out-of-towners into the seriously confused.

        I think reversible lanes in general are a bad idea.

  • i understand the pragmatism of it, but it still sucks that this beautiful parkway gets used this way.

  • This is news?

  • The reversible lanes are really great. Makes a ton of sense and aren’t all that confusing if you are paying attention.

  • Does anyone know if Rock Creek is still closed due to the rain this morning? I have to figure how to get home after work.

    • This is what the Post site says as of 1:44 (it’s my way home too):
      Reopened: ROCK CREEK PARKway its length and beach drive reopened south of broad branch-beach drive is still closed in kensington.

  • Love ’em. HATE when the split at Calvert St comes, and those damned Marylanders KNOW they need to merge right to stay on the parkway, and they still go as far as they can and then sneak in, and it causes a huge back up for 1/2 a mile. Damned Merl’ndrs!

  • I’ve been behind people who have taken the P street exit ramp during non-rush hour. Now that was infuriating (and ridiculously dangerous).

  • The split at Calvert is a classic case of poor lane marking and lack of signage and stupid drivers. Too many people back up in line on the right for over a mile before the split, instead of waiting for the beginning of the single white line, where they should “zip” into the Beach Drive lane.

    Yes, those who pass this point and squeeze in at the end are vile and ought to be vaporized, but everyone who gets over early and creates an unnecessary 15+ minute backup is equally guilty.

    • how does getting over early create backup? the back up is because of beach drive itself, not the parkway.
      if people didnt get over early, there would be back up in both lanes of the parkway.

  • At this point there are 2 lanes on the left going to Calvert and 2 on the right going on Beach drive (toward the zoo/Adams Morgan/Columbia Heights)

    Many studies show the efficacy of 2 lane “zipping” into one as opposed to the other, clearly obvious current situation, which is one lane on the far right backing up for a 15-20 min. wait, which is so arduous as to encourage other drivers to break the rules.

    Debate human nature all you like – but it is more reasonable to expect everyone to slow a bit for 5 minutes for an orderly predictable “zip” merge than to have a 15 minute wait while un-monitored scofflaws break in at the head of the line (thereby slowing it exponentially) and get away with cheating.

  • Reversible lanes are an efficient use of space. Without them many of our roadways would be a concrete landscape twice as wide as they are now.

    But I think the District needs to employ better graphics to communicate to drivers. Both in signs and in roadway paint.

    • Unfortunately, the length of the Parkway is under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, which means they pretty much do what they want, at their own pace. Evidence of this is the enormous potholes that show up every winter and take months and months to get repaired.

  • It may be high time for NPS to revisit the road safety measures and the ease of travel along the parkway.

  • My somewhat relevant rant:

    SB Beach Dr drivers who refuse to turn left onto the parkway at the Connecticut/Calvert stop sign. I don’t blame the out-of-staters, because there is really no way to know that traffic approaching from your right is in a protected lane. NPS needs a “Look Left Only” sign or something there.

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