Virginia/DC Roads - VA 400/GW Pkwy.
and George Washington Memorial Parkway
The George Washington Memorial Parkway follows the western shore of the Potomac River from Mount Vernon to the far end of the Beltway - except in Alexandria, because the city was well established along the riverside before the Parkway was conceived. That is where VA 400 comes in, connecting the two pieces of the Parkway through the city on, of all things, Washington Street. The VA 400 shields above are from the 1960's (white) and 1970's (black shield that looks like it's from Oregon). All photos on this page are northbound, except one.
Just west of the end of the Parkway at Mount Vernon, VA 235 comes down from US 1 to here with these misshapen shields.
Starting out from Mount Vernon. The Parkway is very similar to Memorial Drive in Cambridge, Massachusetts - four lanes sometimes divided, with at-grade intersections but a couple of grade-separated ones as well.
Why the decimal?
One of my top 5 unique signs is this one. Caution, bridge monsters may reach down and eat your truck. Do Not Enter Fireplace. Keep both wheels on the ground to avoid collisions. Certain buses are allowed on a small piece of the Parkway for connectivity purposes.
Probably original stone arch bridge, for decorative purposes.
Now we're in Arlington. This shield comes right before the rebuilt overpass that was the start of the 2009 DC Road Meet.
Here's the overpass, the "Washington Street Deck Project" part of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge (I-95/495). If not for the fences behind the trees, you'd never know it, and that's how VDOT wants it.
Church St. EB at VA 400. These signs (on the same pole) make no sense, because almost all the EB traffic is coming from I-95/495 SB, right before the US 1 exit. Who's looking for either of these routes besides a few residents who ought to know where they are?
SB at I believe Gibbon St. US 1 parallels VA 400, and all of the G.W. Parkway south of I-395.
Very wrong Interstate shields with very wrong fonts. It's amazing how one route can be signed so many different unusually wrong ways.
More shield wrongness approaching the Arlington Memorial Bridge, where you can see the center span looks different - it was a draw span, sealed off in 1976. There are no ramps to or from I-66 here, so all traffic must go west on US 50. The next exit on US 50 WB would take one north to the Key Bridge and US 29. Believe it or not, I'm actually taking these photos from DC, because I'm on Columbia Island.
Taking the right fork, GW Parkway NB under the Arlington Bridge with a closeup of an angel guarding it.
It's ugly overload as I proceed (within DC) down the ramp to US 50 WB, which crosses under the Arlington Memorial Bridge and provides access thereto. The ramp continues straight in the last two photos as I curl off to the left - more on that in a moment. But from the width of the bridge, it appears like another deal where you have a row of trees to pretend you're not on a bridge at all. Well, where are the trees? The correct question is, where is the freeway? Because this used to be a paired ramp, with the US 50 EB ramp to the G.W. Parkway SB coming at me across the bridge.
In the first photo, I join (via a U-turn from the 50 WB ramp) what was once the 50 EB ramp. In the second photo, the ramp from the Arlington Memorial Bridge comes in from the left, a much lighter merge now that almost no one is using the ramp I'm on. With no connection from US 50 EB, my ramp serves only one purpose, one it's not even signed for (notice the I-395 trailblazing) - G.W. Parkway NB to VA 27 SB. VA 27 doesn't begin until the south side of this elongated interchange, which is not coincidentally the DC/VA border and the end of Columbia Island. The third photo is just another opportunity to pass under the Arlington Memorial Bridge.
SB at the Key Bridge, across from Georgetown.
NB in the same spot.
More Parkway scenery from the northern section. North of Spout Run Parkway, it runs through a few parks and loses sight of the river for the most part.
Looking southward and eastward (especially downward) from a scenic rest stop parking lot.
The first shield has the wrong font, and the second has the wrong shape and an extra word. VA 123 runs southwest from here, but it also runs southeast to the Chain Bridge, which is technically North on 123.
To US 1
Walk out to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge
Onto US 50
Up onto the Arlington Memorial Bridge
Onto VA 123
G.W. Parkway on Steve Anderson's dcroads.net
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