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Fort Myer Gate Changes to Impact Cyclists

by ARLnow.com — February 11, 2013 at 11:45 am 689 7 Comments

Bicycles at the Bike to Work Day pit stop in RosslynSecurity-related changes at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall that went into effect this past weekend may impact those who ride their bike through the installation.

JBMHH’s Wright Gate, at Marshall Drive and Meade Street, will now close to visitors at 6:00 p.m., seven days a week. (It still opens at 5:00 a.m.) Previously, visitors were allowed to use the gate until 11:00 p.m.

Now, only Department of Defense ID card holders will be able to access the gate through 11:00 p.m.

Additionally, two JBMHH gate are now officially, permanently closed: Henry Gate, at Route 50 and N. Pershing Drive, and the Henderson Hall Annex Gate, on Southgate Road.

Currently, only two gates are open 24/7 to visitors and DoD personnel: the Henderson Hall Main Gate at the intersection of S. Orme Street and Southgate Road, and the Hatfield Gate, at Washington Blvd and 2nd Street S.

The changes are expected to impact bike commuters, who sometimes commute through Wright Gate and JBMHH as a safer, less traffic-filled way to get home at night.

JBMHH personnel say the changes were necessitated by a money-saving congressional mandate, which required the base to use military police or federal civilian security guards at installation gates. Previously, the gates were patrolled by private security guards.

“This action has resulted in fewer personnel to man the gates,” said JBMHH spokeswoman Leah Rubalcaba.

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  • Brandon Walsh

    I have been commuting on bike and foot through Ft. Myer since the Rt. 50 path became impassible last spring. Fortunately I enter Wright Gate before 6pm, but this change will be a major inconvenience for anyone who normally enters after then. Now, riders will need to completely circle the base, either passing through Clarendon to the west or by Memorial Bridge to the east. The time difference isn’t huge, but the route through the base is the safest and most pleasant – less traffic and less vehicle exhaust.

  • Buckingham Bandit

    Currently, only two gates are open 24/7 to visitors and DoD personnel: the Henderson Hall Main Gate at the intersection of S. Orme Street and Southgate Road, and the Hatfield Gate, at Washington Blvd and 2nd Street S.

    Seems like a route like this, thus, would not be affected at all:

    http://goo.gl/maps/L6YCx

    Good if you’re coming from 14th Street Bridge, or Crystal/Pentagon City towards Rosslyn-Ballston area.

    • Sarah

      But not good for those of us who live near the Henry Gate–going around the south is no safer than the north, IMHO.

  • Laura Ferguson

    This is very disappointing. I commuted this way and I just love this route. For me, it was a big challenge to get back ‘up the hill’, but with my asthma there was no way route 50 would work — just too much exhaust and so many difficult intersections with ramps. The other route (to the South) goes way out of my way since I live on 2nd street.

    Perhaps we could petition for an exception so that cyclists and pedestrians can get through even if cars aren’t admitted? If there are guards already there, would the limited cyclist traffic really be an issue?

  • Mark

    Disappointing. So much for a safe commute home.

  • Stef

    Instead of expressing simple disappointment here, please notify your Congressmen to deal with the sequestration and continuing resolution mess. Note Leah’s final comment in the article — less personnel. Less personnel, less cost.

  • Walter

    With the major ongoing construction projects on Arlington Blvd and on Washington Blvd/Columbia Pike, these restrictions effectively close the last viable bike route from the city to our neighborhoods in the center of Arlington after 6PM.

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