UPDATE #1: Just a reminder to RSVP if you plan to join us, as I typically send out an email to just the yes RSVPs with my cell phone no. a few hours before the event start time in case you need to reach me on the day of the event. Make sure your email and Meetup settings allow for you TO ALWAYS RECEIVE messages from the organizer.
Let’s get together for our FINAL tour of the year!
New riders, come join us for the first time! Riders from previous Meetups (Adolphus, Aian Neil, Anibal, Ben, Bob, Brandon, Chris, Connor, Dave, Declan, Edwin, Erwin, Geoff, Greg, Haitao, Heather, James, Jeff, Jeremy, Jessica, Joe, John, Jonathan, Kevin, Kris, Lam, LeRoy, Loren, Lutalo, Mark, Megan, Melissa, Michael, Nick, Phil, Rakesh, Raul, Richard, Riley, Rob, Robert, Rodney, Shelly, Steven, and Zoltan), come join us again!
We’ll tour the Downtown, Penn Quarter, East End, NoMa, Atlas District, Capitol Hill, Capitol Riverfront, Southwest, and the National Mall neighborhoods and stop numerous times along the way to enjoy the sites, memorials, neighborhoods, landmarks, and to also let some of the slower riders catch up (if some of us decide to go at a quicker speed). Note that this route contains 90% bike lanes. I’ll read aloud the description of each site, memorial, neighborhood, and landmark along the way so that we all know what we’re looking at, and so that we can also learn more about these awesome treasures that exist in our own backyard! Ideally, we will all ride together and at the same speed, but that may or may not be possible with other pedestrians, bicyclists, cars, etc. sharing the same paths, but let’s do our best please. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic (see the “COVID-19” section for full details), everyone will be required to wear a face mask and to stay 6 feet apart. In total, it’s an ~8.4 mile trip that’s sure to be enjoyable!
We’ll meet up in the center of Washington Circle at 2pm. Then we’ll ride northwest on New Hampshire Ave NW for ~500 feet, at 2:30pm. Once we come across L Street NW, we’ll make a right and ride east for ~1.2 miles.
Along the way, we’ll arrive at Burke Park (intersection of 12th Street NW, left hand side). Burke Park is a triangle park featuring Edmund Burke, stalwart supporter of the American Revolution. He was born in Ireland, educated at Trinity College Dublin where he formed a debate club that is still around (making it the oldest, continuous, active club in the world). The full length sculpture of Burke depicts him stepping forward with his right leg. He is waving his right hand, and in his left hand he holds a three-cornered hat at his side. He wears a long jacket, a vest, and breeches. His hair curls up just above his ears and is parted down the middle. The statue is a replica of one in Bristol, England, that was unveiled there in 1894. The statue is in bronze and depicts Burke in the middle of a speech. The inscription located on the front of the pedestal “Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom” comes from Burke’s famous speech “Conciliation with America.” The complete quote reads “Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom; and a great empire and little minds go ill together.”
At the next block, we’ll make a right on 11th Street NW and travel south for ~0.5 miles.
Along the way, we’ll stop by the Park at CityCenter (intersection of New York Ave NW, left hand side). The Park at CityCenter is a park that regularly hosts events and art installations, including an annual 75-foot Christmas tree, a summer farmers market, and other interactive exhibits. It’s part of CityCenterDC, a mixed-use development covering more than five city blocks, is one of the largest 21st-century downtown projects in the United States (the 2nd largest urban development on the east coast), and has been described as “a modern-day Rockefeller Center” by Hector Falconer at the New York Times.
When we arrive at E Street NW, we’ll turn left and travel east for ~1 mile.
Along the way, we’ll come across Judiciary Square Plaza (intersection of 5th Street NW, left hand side). Judiciary Square is a neighborhood northwest, the vast majority of which is occupied by various federal and municipal courthouses and office buildings. The center of the neighborhood is an actual plaza named Judiciary Square. In the center is The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, and is the nation’s monument to law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty. Dedicated on October 15, 1991, the Memorial features two curving, 304-foot-long blue-gray marble walls. Carved on these walls are the names of more than 2,000 officers who have been killed in the line of duty throughout U.S. history, dating back to the first known death in 1791. Unlike many other memorials in DC, this memorial is ever-changing: new names of fallen officers are added to the monument each spring, in conjunction with National Police Week in May.
When we arrive at Columbus Circle NE, we’ll make a right and travel east for ~0.2 miles. Columbus Circle NE will turn into F Street NE, where we’ll travel east for another ~0.2 miles.
When we arrive at 4th Street NE, we’ll turn right and travel south for ~1.3 miles.
Along the way, we’ll come across Stanton Park (intersection of C Street NE, left hand side). Stanton Park is a national park named after Edwin M. Stanton, the United States Secretary of War during the American Civil War, whose attempted later removal prompted the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson. Located in the center of Stanton Park is a statue of American Revolutionary War Major General Nathanael Greene. Greene is honored for his command of the Army of the South and credited with driving the British out of the Carolinas and Georgia in 1782. Greene’s statue is surrounded by formal walkways and flower beds introduced during the 1933 redesign of the park. A playground is located in the western section of the park; a section in the eastern half is often used by dog walkers. The park is maintained by the National Park Service and as such, dogs are not allowed off-leash.
Also along the way, we’ll come across Marion Park (intersection of E Street SE, left hand side). Marion Park is a public park named after Revolutionary War leader Francis Marion also known as The Swamp Fox. Locally, it is known informally as Turtle Park because of the large cement turtle in its playground. It is one of the larger parks in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. A large vase once stood in the center of the park and was filled with tropical flowers every summer. This “Large Hilton Iron Vase” was used to direct the flow of traffic through the park through the carriage paths. In 1963, the vase was removed, and the traffic patterns were redirected outside of the boundaries of Marion Park. A statue to Francis Marion was authorized on May 8, 2008. However it was met with opposition by some local residents. It was argued that they were not consulted by the federal government on the placement of the statue in a DC park. In addition the figure of Francis Marion is controversial as he fought Native Americans and was a slave owner.
Once we arrive at I Street SE, we’ll turn right and travel west for ~0.9 miles.
Along the way, we’ll come across Washington Canal Park (intersection of 2nd Place SE, left hand side). Washington Canal Park is a 3 acre park that opened in 2012. The park is home to seasonal markets and events, dancing fountains in the warmer months, and ice skating in the winter. Washington Canal Park is a model of sustainability, a social gathering place, an economic trigger and one of the first parks certified under the Sustainable Sites Initiative. This park is sited along the historic former Washington Canal system, which had previously served as a parking lot for school buses. Inspired by the site’s waterfront heritage, the design evokes the history of the space with a linear rain garden and three pavilions reminiscent of floating barges that were once common in the canal. Water is captured, treated and reused, satisfying up to 95 percent of the park’s water needs.
Also along the way, we’ll come across Lansburgh Park (intersection of 1st Street SW, left hand side). Constructed in 1964 as part of the urban renewal of Southwest DC, Lansburgh Park was built as the primary park on the eastern, more industrial side of the neighborhood, near public housing. It is named for Mark Lansburgh, director of the city’s Redevelopment Land Agency. The park is configured as a three-block-long, slender pedestrian space, running north-south with a wider and more open section at its middle. The narrow portions are concrete sidewalks lined with lawn and deciduous trees, while the park’s wide center is occupied by a cluster of interconnected, metal domed pavilions and a stage framed by trees. Adjacent to the pavilions is a sunken area defined by low wooden retaining walls, edged by sidewalk and lined with benches and shade trees. Play equipment has been removed, but the pavilions and seating area remain as they were originally designed.
Once we reach 4th Street SW, we’ll turn right and travel north for ~0.9 miles.
Along the way, we’ll come across the National Mall (intersection of Jefferson Drive SW). The National Mall is centrally located in DC, stretching over 2 miles from the Lincoln Memorial on the west end to the U.S. Capitol on the east end. It is America’s most-visited national park, where the past, present and future come together. It’s also flanked by Smithsonian museums, and its lawns and pathways are often crowded with school groups, joggers and softball teams. Nearby, the Tidal Basin reservoir is known for its blossoming cherry trees. The monuments and memorials in this park honor American forefathers and heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to this country. From the “I Have a Dream” speech to the AIDS Quilt, the Mall is the national stage where movements and celebrations take place, where people gather to have their voices heard.
Once we arrive at Pennsylvania Ave NW, we’ll turn left and travel northwest for ~0.7 miles.
Immediately, we’ll come across John Marshall Park (right hand side). John Marshall Park is in honor of John Marshall, a U.S. Representative, Secretary of State, and the fourth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (1801–1835). A cast of the sculpture Chief Justice John Marshall is situated on the north end of the park. Playing chess was “a favorite pastime” of Marshall. The sculpture The Chess Players is located on the east side of the park. The site is divided into three terraces that absorb a twelve-foot grade change. The lowest terrace, at Pennsylvania Avenue, is paved with a pattern that relates to the L’Enfant plan on the diagonals and is planted with a bosquet of shade trees. The central terrace remains open to the view of Old City Hall, and is more lushly planted than the upper and lower levels. The upper terrace, also planted with a bosquet, has two fountains which reference the site’s historic condition as Washington’s first public water supply location.
One block later, we’ll come across the Man Controlling Trade statue (intersection of 6th Street NW, left hand side). Man Controlling Trade is the name given to two monumental equestrian statues for the Federal Trade Commission building. The works were dedicated in 1942. These are the only equestrian statues in DC to feature uncooperative steeds. A design competition in 1938 awarded 29-year-old sculptor Michael Lantz $45,600 to complete the project, a life changing sum for the struggling artist who previously earned a $94 a month at his government relief job. Lantz spent four years on the sculptures and unveiled his finished creations to critical acclaim. Federal Trade Commission biographer Marc McClure wrote that “the horse, representing big business, with its dynamic energy suggests that it could easily go on a rampage and leave a path of destruction behind it, oblivious to its own actions. The muscular man stripped to the waist standing beside the horse and gripping its reins symbolizes the federal government, which through intelligence and restraint forces the horse to submit its power to a useful purpose.” The allegorical depiction of a wonky federal regulator as a chiseled shirtless hunk is a bit of a stretch today, but it stands as a memorial to the New Deal aspirations for an assertive and protective federal government.
Another block later, we’ll come across the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial (intersection of 7th Street NW, right hand side). The Grand Army of the Republic Memorial is a public artwork honoring Dr. Benjamin F. Stephenson, founder of the Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization for Union veterans. The memorial is sited at Indiana Plaza in the Penn Quarter neighborhood. The memorial is one of eighteen Civil War monuments in DC, which were collectively listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. On the front (west) side is a relief of a Union soldier and Union sailor symbolizing Fraternity. The soldier is holding a gun with his right hand and to his left, the sailor holds the American flag with his right hand. The word FRATERNITY is located on the bottom of the relief. Below the Fraternity relief is a relief bust of Stephenson dressed in military uniform. Below the Stephenson relief is an inscription flanked by Grand Army of the Republic emblems. On the northeast side of the memorial, the relief depicts a woman cloaked in a long robe and cape protecting a small child standing to her left. She is touching the child’s shoulder with her left hand and the word CHARITY is on the bottom of the relief. A woman holding a shield and drawn sword is on the southeast side of the memorial. The word LOYALTY is located on the bottom of the relief.
Once we reach 13th Street NW, we’ll turn right and travel north for 1 block. We’ll turn left on Pennsylvania Avenue and travel west for 2 blocks. At 15th Street NW, we’ll turn right and travel north for 2 blocks.
Immediately, we’ll come across Freedom Plaza (intersection of E Street NW). Freedom Plaza, originally known as Western Plaza, is an open plaza. The Plaza, which is composed mostly of stone, is inlaid with a partial depiction of Pierre (Peter) Charles L’Enfant’s plan for DC. Most of the plaza is raised above street level. The eastern end of the plaza contains an equestrian statue of Kazimierz Pułaski that had been installed at its site in 1910. The surface of the raised portion of the Plaza, consisting of dark and light marble, delineates L’Enfant’s plan. Brass outlines mark the sites of the White House and the Capitol. Quotes about the city from its visitors and residents are carved into the marble surface. Granite retaining walls, marked at intervals by planted urns, edge the plaza. A granite-walled fountain flows in the western portion of the plaza. Flagpoles flying flags of the District of Columbia and the United States rise from the plaza opposite the entrance of the District Building. The Plaza also contains a metallic plaque containing the Great Seal of the United States, followed by an inscription describing the history and usage of the seal.
Once we reach Pennsylvania Ave NW, we’ll turn left and travel northwest for ~0.9 miles back to Washington Circle.
After 1 block along the way, we’ll come across Lafayette Square and the White House. Lafayette Square is a seven-acre public park located within President’s Park, directly north of the White House. It is named for Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, a French aristocrat and hero of the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) and includes several statues of revolutionary heroes from Europe, including Lafayette, and at its center a famous statue of early 19th century U.S. President and general Andrew Jackson on horseback with both front hooves raised. The White House is the official residence and workplace of the president of the United States. It has been the residence of every U.S. president since John Adams in 1800. The term “White House” is often used as a metonym for the president and his advisers.
Come join us as we spend an afternoon together exploring the sites, memorials, and landmarks Downtown, Penn Quarter, East End, NoMa, Atlas District, Capitol Hill, Capitol Riverfront, Southwest, and the National Mall Tour have to offer. Please also help spread the word of our group and the ride!
I look forward to seeing you there!
Due to the current state of the pandemic (as of the announcement of this event), everyone will be required to wear a face mask and to maintain 6 feet of distance between everyone else. This is the group’s requirement for attending this event and it also meets DC’s Phase 2 Order https://bit.ly/2WeNTTQ . If you do not agree with these requirements, you will be disallowed from joining us. Ordinarily, for those riders with short-range wheels, we would typically plan a charging stop halfway through the ride if needed (e.g. there’s a Starbucks off 4th Street SW and C Street SW), but for the safety of everyone, unfortunately we’ll not be doing so.
METRO & PARKING
We’ll meet at Washington Circle. The closest Metro is Foggy Bottom (Orange, Blue, Silver lines). I suggest taking Metro / taxi / ride-share services if you can. I also recommend using wmata.com for travel planning. Don’t forget to account for Metro, traffic, and parking delays. If you are driving, you will need to find street parking or a garage. I recommend using parkopedia.com for garage parking planning.
Please dress appropriately for the weather. For those with problems having their feet go numb or tired during long rides, I recommend wearing shoes with a stiff and flat sole.
RIDING ETIQUETTE / RULES
Since e-wheels are relatively new technology, please be as courteous as possible to other pedestrians, bicyclists, etc. Based on personal experience (I’ve been riding daily since 2015), I’ve noticed some general good practices and rules to follow. 1) ALWAYS give pedestrians the right of way. 2) When riding on a narrow sidewalk, and you’re coming up behind a pedestrian and you need to pass them, either a) wait until there’s an opening, and / or b) clear your throat and say “excuse me” and / or “on your left” in a *gentle* manner (I’ve noticed people tend to get startled / surprised when they see and hear a tall figure behind them on a wheel) before passing them. 3) SLOW DOWN to a pedestrian’s walking pace (until you are completely clear of them) whenever approaching or passing (whichever direction they are walking). Only after passing a pedestrian for a little distance is it a good idea to go faster than walking pace. Whatever you do, please do NOT wiz by them. 4) Thank the pedestrian as you are passing. 5) Slow down as you are going around a turn (whether there are other pedestrians in sight or not) with a lot of bushes or other obstacles next to the sidewalk, as they can be coming from the other end of the turn (and not be visible initially). 6) Ride single file whenever pedestrians are around (on the sidewalk), or cars are around (in the bike lane) 7) Dismount when in the official memorial areas, such as the FDR Memorial (it’s the law) 8) Please stay behind me since I know the route and may be turning left or right at any time
For the safety of others and ourselves, we will all be required to be able to perform all of the following: (1) comfortably balance on the wheel while riding straight and turning left or right (2) ride at a snail’s pace and (3) start and stop comfortably without the need to hold onto any wall, post, or similar structure.
People have asked me questions regarding the laws pertaining to riding our e-wheels in the DC metro area. I did a lot of research before purchasing my e-wheel to ensure I could make use of it. In short, they are considered Personal Mobility Devices or Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Device. (1) Virginia: “An electric personal assistive mobility device or motorized skateboard or foot-scooter may be operated on any highway with a maximum speed limit of twenty-five miles per hour or less. An electric personal assistive mobility device shall only operate on any highway authorized by this section if a sidewalk is not provided along such highway…” See link here. (2) Washington DC: “Personal Mobility Device (“PMD”) means a motorized propulsion device designed to transport one person, OR a self-balancing, two non-tandem wheeled device, designed to transport only one person with an electric propulsion system. Permitted on Sidewalk – Yes, except PMDs are generally not permitted on sidewalk space in the Central Business District. Permitted on Bike Lanes – Yes.” See link here. (3) Maryland: “‘Electric personal assistive mobility device’ or ‘EPAMD’ means a pedestrian device that: (1) has two nontandem wheels; (2) is self-balancing; (3) is powered by an electric propulsion system; (4) has a maximum speed capability of 15 miles per hour; and (5) is designed to transport one person” and “At an intersection, a person using an EPAMD is subject to all traffic control signals, as provided in §§ 21-202 and 21-203 of this title. However, at any other place, a person using an EPAMD has the rights and is subject to the restrictions applicable to pedestrians under this title.” De jure, the law applies to devices with 2 wheels, as the law was written when only Segways existed and electric unicycles, et al. did not. De facto, for practical purposes, and based on our members’ interaction with law enforcement officers thusfar, our devices have been treated as being covered under this statute (they are explicitly covered under DC and Virginia law). See link here and here. “Green” devices for the win!
If there’s a greater than a 35% chance of rain, we’ll cancel or reschedule. I’ll post an update to the top of the event posting by 11:30am on the day of the event, and also send an email out to the yes RSVPs.