George Washington Memorial Parkway

George Washington Memorial Parkway
George Washington Memorial Parkway
Route information
Maintained by NPS
Existed: 1930 – present
Major junctions
South end: SR 235 near Mount Vernon, Virginia
  SR 400 in Alexandria, Virginia (gap in route)
I-395 / US 1 in Arlington, Virginia
North end:
SR 27 in Washington, D.C.
I-66 / US 50 in Arlington, Virginia
US 29 in Arlington, Virginia
SR 123 in Arlington, Virginia
I-495 in McLean, Virginia
Highway system
Numbered highways in Washington, D.C.
Virginia Routes
Primary • Secondary • History • Turnpikes
George Washington Memorial Parkway
IUCN Category V (Protected Landscape/Seascape)
Map showing the location of George Washington Memorial Parkway
Map showing the location of George Washington Memorial Parkway
Location Virginia, Washington, D.C. & Maryland, USA
Nearest city Washington, D.C.
Coordinates 38°54′40″N 77°06′08″W / 38.91111°N 77.10222°W / 38.91111; -77.10222Coordinates: 38°54′40″N 77°06′08″W / 38.91111°N 77.10222°W / 38.91111; -77.10222
Area 7,247 acres (29 km2)
Established May 29, 1930
Visitors 7,284,165 (in 2005)
Governing body National Park Service
Map of the George Washington Memorial Parkway

The George Washington Memorial Parkway, known to local motorists simply as the "G.W. Parkway", is a parkway maintained by the U.S. National Park Service. It is located mostly in Northern Virginia, although a short section northwest of the Arlington Memorial Bridge passes over Columbia Island, which is within the District of Columbia. It is separated into two sections joined by Washington Street (Virginia State Route 400) in Alexandria, Virginia. A third section, the Clara Barton Parkway, runs on the opposite side of the Potomac River in the District of Columbia and Montgomery County, Maryland. A fourth section was proposed for Fort Washington, Maryland, but never built. The parkway is designated an All-American Road.


Northern section

The northern section extends from North Washington Street at First Street, at the northern end of Old Town Alexandria, to its terminus at Interstate 495, the Capital Beltway, in Fairfax County, just south of the Potomac River. It follows the Potomac River, passing through Arlington County, and serves as the primary access point to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. The parkway also provides automobile access to Theodore Roosevelt Island, the LBJ National Grove, Gravelly Point Park, Fort Marcy, Columbia Island Marina and Turkey Run Park. There are scenic view rest areas for those wishing to view the Georgetown skyline and Potomac Palisades. The cloverleaf interchange with the 14th Street Bridge, dating to 1932, is one of the oldest cloverleaf interchanges in the United States. Spout Run Parkway connects the George Washington Memorial Parkway to U.S. Route 29, providing an indirect connection to Interstate 66. The portion of the parkway north of National Airport and State Route 233 is part of the National Highway System.

Southern section

Washington Street in Alexandria is owned by the National Park Service as part of the parkway, and leased to the city for maintenance.[citation needed] A majority of the park along the Alexandria shore line is also leased land.[citation needed]

The southern section extends from South Washington Street at the southern end of Old Town Alexandria past Fort Hunt to Mount Vernon. The southern section is a limited-access highway, but with at-grade intersections. At Mount Vernon, the parkway ends at a traffic circle, where it joins State Route 235. Most of this route was taken from the Washington, Alexandria and Mount Vernon Railway's right-of-way. The Mount Vernon bicycle trail parallels the southern and middle sections of the parkway (from Theodore Roosevelt Island to Mount Vernon), and is often filled with recreational and commuter cyclists and runners. Points of interest on or near the parkway are the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, Jones Point, Hunting Creek, Dyke Marsh, Fort Hunt Park, P. O. Box 1142, Huntley Meadows Park, and Mount Vernon.

Clara Barton Parkway

The Clara Barton Parkway is administratively part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. It was signed as the George Washington Memorial Parkway until 1989, when it was renamed to overcome motorist confusion.[1]

The Clara Barton Parkway has its eastern terminus in the District of Columbia, where the parkway connects with Canal Road and Chain Bridge. Its western terminus is at MacArthur Boulevard in the Potomac area of Montgomery County, Maryland, just outside the Capital Beltway. The parkway provides access to Glen Echo Park and the Clara Barton National Historic Site in Glen Echo, Maryland. The Clara Barton Parkway connects to the Capital Beltway via a partial interchange and also via the Cabin John Parkway (administered by the Maryland State Highway Administration). The Clara Barton Parkway includes an overhanging bridge near Glen Echo.

Previously proposed connection

The parkways on the two sides of the river were originally supposed to be joined by a bridge at the Great Falls of the Potomac River. However, opposition from preservationists led to the cancellation of that bridge. Instead, traffic between the two parkways uses the American Legion Bridge. The Virginia side of the Potomac river at Great Falls is managed by the Superintendent of the parkway as a national park site, known as Great Falls Park. Some elements of the proposed final parkway configuration – such as the concrete bridge that would have carried northbound traffic at the Glen Echo turn-around – were built but have never been used.[citation needed]

Administrative history

The parkway was authorized May 29, 1930 and transferred from the Office of Public Buildings and Public Parks of the National Capital August 10, 1933. On November 28, 1989, the portion in Maryland was renamed the Clara Barton Parkway. The Parkway also administers other National Park Service features and areas:

Major intersections

Only interchanges and signalized intersections are listed.[2]

Location Exit Name Notes
1 SR 235 (Mount Vernon Memorial Highway) Traffic circle
2 Fort Hunt Road - Fort Hunt Park Interchange
3 Hunting Creek Bridge; south end of gap
Gap; see State Route 400
4 1st Street North end of gap
5 Bashford Lane
6 Slaters Lane
7 Reagan National Airport Interchange
8 I-395 - Washington, Richmond Signed as exits 8A (north) and 8B (south)
9 SR 27 west to I-395 – Lyndon B. Johnson Memorial Grove, Pentagon Interchange; no northbound exit
10 Arlington Memorial Bridge - Arlington National Cemetery, Washington Interchange
11 US 50 west Interchange; northbound exit and southbound entrance
12 I-66 east / US 50 east Interchange; southbound exit and northbound entrance
13 US 29 north - Key Bridge Interchange; southbound exit and northbound entrance
14 To I-66 west to US 29 / Spout Run Parkway – Arlington, Washington Interchange; northbound exit and southbound entrance
15 SR 123 – Chain Bridge, Washington, McLean Interchange
16 CIA, Federal Highway Administration Interchange
17 Turkey Run Park, Washington, to I-495 (U-turn) Interchange
18 I-495 - Virginia / Maryland Interchange; signed as exits 18A (south) and 18B (north)
Photos from the George Washington Memorial Parkway
Vehicles round a bend in the George Washington Parkway near Reagan National Airport and Gravelly Point in Arlington, Va.  
Portion of the Potomac Heritage Trail as it passes through marshland near Belle Haven  
Houses along the parkway near Mount Vernon  
Aerial overview  


  1. ^ Ron Shaffer (June 25, 2006). "After 20 Years of Columns, Checking the Rearview Mirror One Last Time". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-11-23. 
  2. ^ Google Maps aerial photos; the stop line at traffic signals is clearly visible

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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