Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and the East Coast Greenway Alliance joined the Congressional Bike Ride to celebrate progress on local, regional, and national trails
We’ve been busy this spring, celebrating new trail segments, and engaging with locals and elected officials about the value of trails.
We hope to see everyone at the Capital Trails Coalition Membership Meeting scheduled for next Wednesday, June 7 featuring the National Park Service. NPS staff will lead a conversation and provide updates from across the region. The virtual meeting will be hosted over Zoom from 2:00-4:00pm.
We’re thrilled to announce the addition of the District Department of Health to the CTC! DC Health’s work to promote physical activity and active transportation aligns with Capital Trails Coalition’s mission to create a trails network that is equitable, accessible for all, and healthy and safe.
See below for additional highlights of what we’ve been up to over the past few months.
If you have announcements or upcoming events to highlight in future newsletters, please reach out.
Celebrate Trails Day volunteers helped clean-up the Oxon Run Trail and shoreline in Oxon Cove Park and Oxon Hill Farm
Join us on Wednesday, June 7th for the CTC Quarterly Membership Meeting featuring the National Park Service: We are so excited that the National Park Service, a CTC founding partner, will host our upcoming quarterly membership meeting! Join to hear updates from across the region. The virtual meeting will be hosted over Zoom from 2:00-4:00pm. If you have additional updates you’d like to share with the group during the meeting, please reach out!
Congressional Bike Ride: On May 11th, local bicycling, environmental, and community advocates joined U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer, Chair of the Congressional Bike Caucus, and other members of Congress and their staffs for a bike ride around the National Mall. During a quick stop, we highlighted the impact that networks of multi-use trails have locally, regionally, and nationally as routes for transportation and recreation, pointing out the intersection of the Capital Trails Network with many thousands of miles of major nationally recognized and designated trail networks, including the East Coast Greenway, Great American Rail Trail, September 11th National Memorial Trail, Potomac Heritage Trail, and C&O Canal Towpath.
Celebrate Trails Day Clean-up: On April 22nd, the Capital Trails Coalition joined a powerhouse community service project led by the National Park Service and the Potomac Riverkeeper Network in partnership with Anacostia Parks & Community Collaborative, Friends of Oxon Run, WABA, and DC’s Department of Energy & Environment with sponsorship from Rails-to-Trails Conservancy to commemorate Celebrate Trails Day and Earth Day. Nearly 200 volunteers joined from both the DC and Maryland sides of this hidden gem of a park to remove litter from the trail, park, and waterfront.
Cutting the ribbon on the I-66 Parallel Trail at Vienna Metro
VIRGINIA UPDATES: Ribbon Cuttings Galore!
- Mount Vernon Memorial Highway Trail Opening: We joined County Supervisors, VDOT and FCDOT staff, and local trail advocates to celebrate the completion of the Mount Vernon Memorial Highway Trail on May 12th. The project added a bridge over Dogue Creek and repaved existing trail segments extending to the Mount Vernon estate, linking the Potomac with Route 1. The completion of this segment creates a 60-mile continuous trail loop throughout Northern Virginia made up of the following trails: Mount Vernon, Four Mill Run, W&OD, Fairfax County Parkway, Route 123, Lorton Road, and Route 1. This is also a key link for three long distance routes: East Coast Greenway, US Bicycle Route 1, and Adventure Cycling’s Atlantic Coast route.
- I-66 Parallel Trail Ribbon Cutting: The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 17th to celebrate the opening of the first three miles of the I-66 Parallel Trail, part of the Transform 66 megaproject. The remaining segments of this 11-mile trail – one of the CTC’s top priorities – will open over the summer, with several more miles of connecting trails arriving over the next several years. Check out the draft trail status map or visit VDOT’s Transform 66 website for more details on opening dates. If you use the new trail, please respect any trail closed signs.
- Progress on the CC2DCA Project: As members of the People Before Cars Coalition, we are tracking the plans for a pedestrian walkway connecting Reagan National Airport and the Mount Vernon Trail with Crystal City and its relocated Virginia Railway Express (VRE) station, known as CC2DCA. The Arlington County Board signed off on the concept design for the project in early May. The project’s modest scope belies its pivotal importance, establishing Crystal City as one of most connected, multimodal hubs in the country with easy access to local WMATA, regional VRE and MARC, long-distance Amtrak, and DCA’s airline service.
- Trail Walk on the W&OD: The Capital Trails Coalition, WABA, NOVA Parks staff, and community trail advocates held a conversational tour along the venerable W&OD Trail on Saturday, June 3rd in honor of National Trails Day. We observed people walking, rolling, and cycling along the trail and talked about proposals to keep all trail users safe and comfortable.
- Ped/Bike Connection Between the W&OD Trail and West End Feasibility Study: Falls Church was awarded funding for a feasibility study through the Transportation Planning Board’s Transportation Land-Use Connections (TLC) Program. The study will look at options for providing an East-West pedestrian and bicycle connection between the W&OD Trail and the city’s West End. The study will assist the city in identifying pathways, general design of those pathways, and other recommended improvements for the connection.
Prince George’s advocates heard Councilmember Eric Olson, chair of the Transportation Committee, and Maryland State Senator Jim Rosapepe at Proteus Bikes
MARYLAND UPDATES: Improving Safety for Trail Users
- Greenbelt East Trail Receives Feasibility Study & Support: The proposed Greenbelt East Trail would create a link between the Washington Baltimore & Annapolis (WB&A) Trail and the Anacostia River Trail System via Greenbelt. Thanks to the leadership of Proteus Bicycles and the Friends of the Greenbelt East Trail, MDOT SHA decided to conduct a feasibility study as part of their Bicycle Retrofit Program to evaluate alternatives for protected on-road pedestrian and bicyclist facilities, off-road sidewalk widening, and intersection crossings. The trail was also selected for support from the National Park Service – Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program to receive technical assistance and expertise.
- Capital Crescent Trail Crossing at Little Falls Parkway: Concerns about the crossing of the Capital Crescent Trail – Montgomery County’s busiest trail with 2,000 users daily – at Little Falls Parkway peaked when a cyclist was killed in a traffic crash in 2016. Over the years, Montgomery County Parks implemented several traffic calming options while considering ways to permanently improve safety for trail and road users. The most recent proposal to turn two lanes of the road into a linear park between Arlington Road and Dorset Avenue met resistance. Discussions escalated, even threatening funding to the County’s Park Department; the project to make permanent safety improvements was put on hold, but the current temporary road diet will remain in place for now.
- We’ve been getting social, joining WABA meet-ups in Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties!
- Prince George’s County Advocate Event at Proteus Bicycles: Prince George’s County advocates gathered to hear updates from County Councilmember Eric Olson, chair of the Transportation Committee, and Maryland state Senator Jim Rosapepe at Proteus Bicycles.
- Montgomery County Advocate Event: Montgomery County advocates welcomed Maryland State Delegate Lorig Charkoudian to discuss updates across the Country.
DC Trail Rangers on the Suitland Parkway Trail
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA UPDATES: Protecting and Improving Existing Trails
- Share Feedback on the DC Anacostia River Corridor Restoration Plan: The DC Anacostia River Corridor Restoration Plan is a two-year restoration planning project for the Anacostia River corridor 500-year floodplain within the District of Columbia. Join us virtually on Thursday, June 8th at 6:30pm for the Phase 2 Anacostia River Corridor Restoration Plan Community Meeting! Register for the meeting at ARCRP.Eventbrite.com.
- Protecting Ward 8 trails in DC: CTC Member Brenda Richardson, Coordinator of the Anacostia Parks & Community Collaborative, co-authored an article in Greater Greater Washington entitled, “The fate of two trail projects in Southeast DC is too uncertain”. The article describes the importance of funding both maintenance and rehabilitation for the Suitland Parkway Trail and funding to make the proposed Shepherd Branch Trail a reality.
- Although the DC Council initially supported a broad slate of trail projects, some funds were reallocated during the Committee of the Whole’s second review of the FY2024 Local Budget Act on May 30th. Funding for the Oxon Run and Suitland Parkway Trail in FY24 and for the Shepherd Branch Trail in FY25 were redirected to other capital improvement projects in Ward 8. The bulk of funding remains for construction of the Suitland Parkway Trail and Shepherd Branch Trails.
- Metropolitan Branch Trail Developments:
- Metropolitan Branch Trail on Google Street View: The DC Trail Rangers published a segment of the MBT to Google Street View! The new section of the MBT at Fort Totten is now viewable with additional sections of the MBT and other DC trails to be added and updated over the summer.
- Riggs Road – Met Branch Trail Connector: DDOT proposed to reconfigure the 100 block of Riggs Road between First Place NE and South Dakota Ave NE to remove the curbside eastbound travel lane for 800 feet, and convert that space to a two-way protected bike lane to create a dedicated and safer connection for people biking under the railroad tracks to reach the Metropolitan Branch Trail.
- Rhode Island Avenue NE Development: ANCs are working with the Eckington Civic Association to review transportation infrastructure at the southwest corner of the MBT and Rhode Island Avenue. The current plans include improvements to the W Street entrance to the MBT, resident access to the trail, and additional safety improvements to the nearby sidewalks.
Community Connectors Grants: With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Smart Growth America in collaboration with Equitable Cities, the New Urban Mobility Alliance, and America Walks have created the Community Connectors program to help advance locally driven projects that will reconnect communities separated or harmed by transportation infrastructure and tap available federal and state funds to support them. Fifteen teams from small to mid-sized cities (between approximately 50,000 and 500,000 in population) will be selected to receive a capacity-building grant to advance these projects.
Public entities and nonprofit organizations may apply together as small teams to receive grants of up to $130,000 each for capacity building to advance these projects. Applications are due before July 15, 2023 at 11:59pm.
Transit Within Reach Program Technical Assistance: Transit Within Reach Program provides funds for design and preliminary engineering projects to help improve bike and walk connections to existing high-capacity transit stations or stations that will be open to riders by 2030. The program places emphasis on projects that improve access in TPB Transit Access Focus Areas (TAFAs), which have been identified as prime locations for small capital improvements – such as sidewalks, trails, crosswalks – that will make it safer and easier to walk or bike to train stations and bus stops. Applications are due by August 4, 2023.
Register for the Local Infrastructure Hub: Local officials working to access the historic levels of federal infrastructure funding that may be available for their communities have a new resource center to help. The Local Infrastructure Hub is offering a new bootcamp series that will provide cities, towns, and villages with less than 150,000 residents pro-bono technical assistance, robust coaching, and expert guidance to support them in developing competitive applications.
- 6/5 – Prince George’s County Active Transportation Advisory Group: Join the Active Transportation Advisory Group (ATAG) meeting to hear updates on trails and shared use paths in the county, including the proposed Greenbelt/NASA Trail, Purple Line track crossings, Popes Creek Rail Line, and more. (RSVP by noon on Monday or email Kalli for meeting details.)
- 6/6 – Walking tour of Potomac Yard: Join the Coalition for Smarter Growth to explore the newly opened Potomac Yard Metro Station and the exciting new developments in this emerging transit-oriented community.
- 6/7 – Bethesda Montgomery County WABA Happy Hour: If you like communing with the bicyclist community, this event is for you. It’s free and informal, and we’ll be joined by special guest, Delegate Marc Korman, newly named chair of the Maryland House of Delegates Environment & Transportation Committee, and Montgomery County Councilmember Andrew Friedson.
- 6/8 – Anacostia River Corridor Restoration Plan: The District Department of Energy and Environment invites you to join us to learn more and provide feedback on the future of your Anacostia River! During this event, the planning team will share strategies for improving water quality, wildlife habitat, equitable access, and public amenities. You will have the opportunity to provide feedback to refine an approach toward a final restoration master plan framework.
- 6/10 – Trolley Trail Day: Join the College Park City-University Partnership, Anacostia Trails Heritage Area, Hyattsville CDC, Capital Trails Coalition, WABA, and the East Coast Greenway, and communities along the Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail for a full-day celebration on Saturday, June 10th from 9am-4pm!
- 6/10 – Trail Riding Basics Class: WABA’s Trail Riding Basics class teaches you the skills you need to ride safely, confidently and considerately on our region’s many trails and multi-use paths. Participants will practice basic bike handling skills such as shifting, scanning, signaling, gradual braking and weaving. Instructors discuss the importance of trail etiquette while riding on a multi-use path and answer any questions that participants may have about trail riding for commuting or recreation.
- 6/13 – RISE Prince George’s and WABA Happy Hour: Join us in Largo to meet up with like-minded Prince George’s residents, with special guests Delegate Jazz Lewis and County Council Vice Chair and District 6 Council Member Wala Blegay. We’ll discuss safer streets, improved walking and biking, transit-oriented development, housing, and better buses.
- 6/14 – Washington Region Vision Zero Summit: Eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries in the Metropolitan Washington region will take a regional approach. The summit helps attendees identify traffic safety trends, discuss possible solutions, and promote regional collaboration. Join to hear from presenters including a panel highlighting the Greater Prince William Trails Coalition!
Want to get involved with the CTC?
Become a Member! Does your organization, company, or agency care about multi-use trails? Could you help us advance our vision to complete a nearly 1,000-mile network of trails across the region or to help residents and trail users feel more comfortable using trails? Reach out to Kalli Krumpos to learn about how you and your organization can join the CTC!
If you haven’t already, sign up on our website to receive future newsletters and updates.
If your organization has an opportunity to engage on a related issue or has an open position, please feel free to share information with the Capital Trails Coalition Google Group or to share the message directly with the CTC for inclusion in the next round-up email.