As we reflect on a wonderful — and busy! – fall season, we’re excited to share about progress made so far this year and make plans for the year ahead. Read more about ways to take action to advance regional trails and what we’ve been up to below.
Save the Date: Quarterly Membership Meeting on December 12 – Our next quarterly membership meeting will be on Tuesday, December 12th from 3:30-5:00pm, with an in-person option at at 251 18th Street S, Crystal City, VA 22202 OR virtually. More details to follow. If you’d like to share a presentation or an announcement, please reply to this email.
HIP HIP HOORAY! With lots to celebrate, we want to shine a spotlight on:
Renewed funding from the REI Cooperative Action Fund for the Coalition’s work! We’re absolutely thrilled and very thankful for continuing support. The REI Cooperative Action Fund is a community-supported public charity bringing together the collective strength of the community to support organizations that are improving the well-being of people through time outside.
A new coalition member: The Greater Washington Partnership! The Greater Washington Partnership is a civic alliance of the region’s leading employers and entrepreneurs that represent businesses who are committed to fostering unity and making the Washington–Baltimore metropolitan area the most inclusive economy in the nation. The Partnership focuses on advancing inclusive growth and fostering unity through three pillars of work: inclusive growth, skills and talent, and regional mobility and infrastructure. We’re thrilled to welcome them to the coalition!
Opportunity to join the CTC Steering Committee! We will have an opening for candidates to join the loo no Steering Committee and to step in as the new Steering Committee Chair. Please submit your nomination/interest forms by completing this quick form (6 questions) by December 18th.
We encourage you to think about, do some outreach to, and nominate folks to join – self nominations are encouraged. Members of the Steering Committee help oversee the coalition and provide strategic guidance. The complete list of Steering Committee members can be found here.
**If you have announcements or upcoming events to highlight in future newsletters, please reach out.**
MDOT plans to officially open the Rhode Island Trolley Trail extension to connect to the Anacostia Tributary Trail in 2023. Join a celebration ride on Dec. 9th! See details below
- Share recommendations for the Capital Crescent Trail: Share your recommendations for renovating the Capital Crescent Trail with Montgomery Parks for the 3.5-mile portion of the trail in Montgomery County from downtown Bethesda south to the District of Columbia line. Parks staff will describe the intent of the project and collect ideas and information from the public about the future trail renovation.
- Share comments on the FY25 Proposed M-NCPPC Budget for Prince George’s County during the Prince George’s County Planning Board meeting on December 7th at 10am. Register to speak no later than Tuesday, December 5th at 12pm. The public can watch the meeting online.
- Do you live or work along the Central Avenue-Blue Line Corridor (and have an interest in advancing the Central Avenue Connector Trail)? Apply for the BLC Civic Leadership Institutedeveloped by The Greater Capitol Heights Improvement Corporation and The Capital Market. The BLC Civic Leadership Institute is a unique opportunity for residents, local business owners, community organizations, city officials, employees, and partners to come together and amplify their role as engaged civic participants. Tailored to the residents of Capitol Heights, Fairmount Heights, Seat Pleasant, Glenarden, District Heights and the unincorporated areas along the Blue Line Corridor, this program offers a comprehensive approach to community development.
What we’ve been up to:
- Met virtually with Prince George’s County Councilmember Wanika Fisher on November 3rd to discuss the importance of multi-use trails, safe road crossings, and broader pedestrian and bicyclist safety.
- Testified in support of Prince George’s County Parks budget and needs at M-NCPPC Budget forum on October 17th. We called for continued funding for trail construction and maintenance and for the staff needed to realize our vision of a world-class multi-use trail network spanning Prince George’s County.
- Joined the New Carrollton Bike Forum: On August 31st, the Capital Trails Coalitions spoke briefly at the New Carrollton Bike Forum hosted by the Coalition for Smarter Growth and WABA. More than 50 community members joined for a conversation and Q&A with with New Carrollton Mayor Katrina Dodro, Prince George’s Councilmembers Calvin Hawkins and Eric Olson, and Maryland Senator Alonzo Washington and Delegate Ashanti Martinez, as well as county and state representatives. As major transportation projects are reshaping New Carrollton and the surrounding area, we discussed how to improve safe, bikeable, walkable streets and how (and where) to focus on improving trail connections.
- Supported discussions around New Carrollton Beltway Bicycle crossing and MD 450 next steps: Following the New Carrollton Bike Forum, agency, county, and municipal decision-makers discussed opportunities to connect the WB&A trail through New Carrollton by exploring recommended routes.
- Spoke at the 4th Great MoCo Bike Summit: On October 29th, WABA hosted a summit featuring state and county officials and community advocates exploring needs and programs and progress toward Vision Zero — an end traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries — and the creation of a low-stress network spanning Montgomery County. Keynoted by Montgomery County Councilmember Natali Fani-Gonzaléz, other speakers included Kandese Holford, Maryland Department of Transportation, Matt Baker, MDOT State Highway Association, Matt Johnson, Montgomery County Department of Transportation, Dave Anspacher, Montgomery Planning, and Kalli Krumpos, representing the Capital Trails Coalition.
- Greenbelt East Trail progress: During the last stakeholders call, MDOT shared that they’re splitting the feasibility study into two parts, with the NASA section to be completed sooner, and full trail length from Eleanor Roosevelt HS to the WB&A Trail to follow shortly thereafter. Their preliminary recommendation is to run the trail on the north side of Greenbelt Road between Good Luck Road and Lanham Severn Road, and then cross to the south side of Greenbelt Road between Lanham Severn Rd and the WB&A trailhead at the Glenn Dale splash park. Join the newsletterfor updates about this exciting project. This work becomes more urgent due to the announcement that Greenbelt Metro station site has been picked for the new FBI HQ.
- Montgomery Parks announced new Park Director: Miti Figueredo! The Montgomery County Planning Board announced the appointment of Miti Figueredo as the new Parks Director for Montgomery Parks following a national search. Prior to her appointment as director, Figueredo served as Chief of Staff for the Planning Board Chair and later as Parks Deputy Director for Administration. Figueredo, the first Latina selected to lead the Parks Department, will assume the role of Director effective January 1, 2024, succeeding retiring Parks Director, Mike Riley. Read more from Montgomery Parks.
- Kudos to Prince George’s Parks & Rec Maintenance Team! After an emergency closure due to unsafe conditions, the bridge between Kirkwood and Chillum on the NW Branch Trail System, was repaired. Despite an estimated two weeks to repair the bridge, improvements were completed in record time and the bridge is now open and in full “SAFE” operation at this time.
A mapping discussion at the Northern Virginia Regional Commission’s Northern Virginia Recreational Trails Summit.
- If you haven’t taken the Mount Vernon Trail visitor use survey, we encourage you to share about your experiences!
- Sign up for WABA’s legislative-focused Rapid Response Advocates list. Legislating in Virginia kicks off January 10th and is uniquely fast-paced with often very little notice for advocates to speak up. We’ll have new opportunities with a Democratic-controlled House and Senate filled with many new faces, but we’ll need YOUR help to contact legislators and push for our shared priorities.
What we’ve been up to:
- Celebrated the many safety improvements slated for the GW Parkway and Mount Vernon Trail while flagging a few key areas that would take the design from good to great.
- WABA and the People Before Cars Coalition urged Arlington County to ensure a maximally useful bike/pedestrian bridge between Crystal City and DCA. We also urged the airport to more seriously consider bike, pedestrian, and transit connections before reworking its roadways and building a new parking garage.
- Joined Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail, Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Stork, and Superintendent of the George Washington Memorial Parkway Charles Cuvelier at the Tour de Mount Vernon on October 22 where we chatted with riders about our regional trail network and about opportunities to submit comments to improve the trail.
- Experienced some good, some great, and some not-so-great bike infrastructure during the first Crystal City Bike Ride (pictured above) as work to build out the Crystal City Bike Network continues.
- The Long Bridge Drive Multimodal Connection will deliver a new multi-use trail along Long Bridge Drive, providing a vital link between current and future regional trail connections and Arlington’s multimodal transportation network in Crystal City and Pentagon City. This project has been identified in the 2023-2032 Capital Improvement Program and is now being prepared for design and engineering. Comments on the project were collected in October and the project team will summarize feedback into a conceptual design expected in Spring 2024 for a second round of public engagement.
- New Trail Segment Near Vienna Metro: In early October, a new bicycle and pedestrian path opened this weekend in Fairfax County, Virginia, designed to improve bicyclist and pedestrian safety in a busy corner of the county. The new path, only about one-third of a mile long, carries riders and walkers along northbound Route 29 between Vaden Drive and Nutley Street in Merrifield. Read more from WTOPnews.
DOEE and DDOT led a site visit of a potential trail realignment for the Suitland Parkway Trail.
- Share your thoughts on the future of Parkland in Congress Heights by 12/9: The National Park Service is seeking public input on a revised design for Shepherd Parkland in Congress Heights, featuring an expanded playground, plaza upgrades, community garden boxes, and more. Construction is expected to begin in late 2024 or early 2025. Share your thoughts by commenting online or submitting written comments by December 9.
- Save the Foundry Branch Trolley Trestle Bridge! Sign this petition to Mayor Bowser and the DC Council to keep the bridge to be rehabbed as a pedestrian and bicycle crossing.
What we’ve been up to:
- Joined NetWalking, and WABA for a walk on Sunday, October 22 to discuss pedestrian safety and get to know other community members. We will start in Mt. Vernon Square and end at Noma-Gallaudet Metro.
- Supported a trail ride to the recently installed “Centuries” exhibit by artist Nekisha Durrett. Durrett’s exhibit focuses on celebrating Black women bicyclists, drawing from stories of five Black women, who gathered in 1928 to cycle for three days, from New York City to Washington, D.C.
- Celebrated the 10 year pedal-versary joyride with WABA’s Women & Bicycles program on November 18th with a ride along protected bike lanes and the Anacostia River Trail.
- Shared comments to elevate the safety and comfort of trail users in comment letters for the 11th Street Bridge Park and Navy Yard.
- Supported DC Trail Ranger Coffee Hours, held monthly on the third Thursday, on the MBT. We were joined by the DC Public Library book bike in October!
- Supporting coordination between Kingman and Heritage Islands and the Office of Unified Communications to better align on trail facility logistics and emergency planning.
- Suitland Parkway Trail Updates: DDOT hosted a second public meeting on the Suitland Parkway Trail Rehabilitation Project on November 14th. Please find the meeting presentation along with the meeting recording on the project website: Suitland Parkway | Trails DC
- Metropolitan Branch Trail (Blair Road to Piney Branch Rd NW) Updates: DDOT hosted a second public meeting on the Suitland Parkway Trail Rehabilitation Project on November 15th. Please find the meeting presentation along with the meeting recording on the project website: Metropolitan Branch Trail | Trails DC
- New York Avenue NE Vision Framework is now available for review! Check out updated plans for the New York Avenue Trail, improved connections, and safety improvements.
- National Capital Planning Commission review of the Arboretum Bridge & Trail presentation was delayed. The National Capital Planning Commission now plans to discuss the Arboretum Bridge and Trail Project on February 1st. Public comments are accepted through January 12th. If you’re looking for more information, review notes from the last public meeting, read a project overview, or check out the FAQs. If we can help you prepare remarks, please let me know!
- 11th Street Bridge Project: 11th Street Bridge Project is at 100% design and construction is slated to begin in 2024. Read more at the HillRag.
What we’ve been up to:
- Bicycle and Pedestrian Subcommittee of the Transportation Planning Board Technical Committee Meeting: On November 29th, Michael Farrell, Senior Transportation Planer at MWCOG, presented an update on the National Capital Trail Network (NCTN) to jurisdictional committee members and local stakeholders. The NCTN nearly mirrors the Capital Trail Network and the work of MWCOG helps to advance our regional trail priorities.
- TrailNation Playbook in Action: Mapping and Gap-Filling Strategies to Accelerate Network DevelopmentWebinar: On October 28th, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy hosted a webinar to dive into strategies around Mapping and Analytics and Gap-Filling Strategies. Together, these strategies help prioritize projects, build public support for trail networks, and make the case for further investment. The CTC was highlighted alongside other efforts across the country for more than 120 participants. Speakers included: Derek Strout, GIS Specialist, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Kalli Krumpos, Senior Organizing Manager at Washington Area Bicyclists Association (WABA), Curtis Bridges, AICP, Database and Active Transportation Planner at Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization (CRTPO), and Jordan Petrov, Associate Planner, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC). The recording will be posted to RTC’s Webinar Archive.
- WABA’s Cider Ride: On November 5th, we talked trails with 750+ riders while supporting the Bladensburg Waterfront Pitstop. Riders explored several trails in the CTC network on the 10-mile, 30-mile, and 60-mile rides, fueled by apple cider, donuts, and pie!
Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals:We loved hearing from several folks from CTC member organizations at an APBP social in October, including DDOT and Prince George’s County Parks and Recreation Department. who shared about their experiences working through about their work on trails to the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals at a social gathering along the Metropolitan Branch Trail in Washington, DC.
Legacy Trails Grant Program: Required Match Now Only 20% American Trails is pleased to partner with the U.S. Forest Service in continuing the Legacy Trails Grant Program. We will be looking to fund projects that restore fish and aquatic organism passage, improve trail resiliency, preserve trail access, decommission unauthorized trails, and convert unneeded Forest Service roads to trails. The application portal closes on December 1.Read the program FAQ.
Trails Capacity Grant Program: American Trails administers the Trails Capacity Program and invests in building nationwide trails community capacity by funding trail stewardship training, maintenance, research, and education. This grant program targets funding for small local trail projects that engage the community and connect trail assets to a broader spectrum of users. The application portal opens on December 4.
Love Your Block 2023 Program:The Love Your Block program brings city leaders and residents together to build stronger neighborhoods, one block at a time. Cities participating in Love Your Block invite community groups to identify priority projects and award mini-grants to support neighborhood-driven solutions that the community can implement. From turning vacant lots into community gardens to helping elderly neighbors with home repairs so they can avoid fines and safely age in place, resident volunteers are “loving their blocks” and making their neighborhoods and cities better places to live. The Love Your Block Program is a two-year grant in the amount of $100,000 which includes a Fellow and an AmeriCorps VISTA focused on impact volunteering and civic engagement. Read more about the program here.
RACE to Rebuilding Trust & Community: Arlington County, in collaboration with United Way of the National Capital Area, launched a new equity-based funding program, RACE to Rebuilding Trust & Community, to support local organizations’ efforts to respond to community needs. Through this Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA), Arlington County intends to eliminate, reduce, and prevent racial and social inequities and disparities to improve outcomes for those who have been historically marginalized and including Arlington nonprofits who may apply for grants.
This NOFA will provide grants to Arlington nonprofits to implement a program or project in direct response to a demonstrated community or human service need identified through their experiences. It also provides grants to support the day-to-day functions for organizations who demonstrate how their operations will be enhanced to meet the direct needs of residents in the communities they serve. Applications are due December 21, 2023.
WEBINARS & EVENTS
December 5th, TBA – WEBINAR
- Join the East Coast Greenway Alliance for a webinar entitled, “State of the Greenway: Rising in this Infrastructure Moment”. The webinar is part of the ECGA’s annual Impact Series, highlighting the impactful work of the Alliance throughout 2023 and a look ahead to what’s next.
December 9th, 12:30-3pm EST – RIDE
- Celebrate the opening of the Trolley Trail Extension with two ride options! Gather at Shortcake Bakery in Hyattsville with Arrow Bicycle OR meet at Proteus Bikes in College Park. The groups will meet in the middle at Denizen’s in Riverdale Park. See here for more details!
December 9th, 10:30-11:30am EST – RIDE
- Ride along with DC’s Ward 5 Family Biking for a 2-mile family ride and holiday party, escorted by police and supported by ride marshals. The ride ends at Bryant Street Market off of the MBT for a Holiday Party with fire pits, hot cocoa, gingerbread cookie decorating, latkes, $1 Right Proper beer, and festive fun!
December 12th, 2-3pm EST – WEBINAR
- Join America Walks for a webinar entitled, “Climate and Age-Friendly Communities”.Join this webinar for a discussion on how to integrate age-friendly resilience into community planning and disaster preparedness efforts. Register here.
December 12th, 3:30-5pm EST – CAPITAL TRAILS COALITION MEETING
- Join the Capital Trails Coalition’s Membership Meeting to hear updates from across the region. Attendees can join in-person in Crystal City or virtually. Add the event to your calendar by clicking here.
December 13th, 10-12pm EST – ADVOCACY COMMUNITY MEETING
- Learn from ChangeLab Solutions about how we can advance health equity through trails and recreation. This presentation will help attendees understand how and why inequities arise, the connections between trails & recreation and health, and introduce various community engagement techniques that can assist with advocating for trail implementation. Reply to this email for meeting details.
December 14th, 3-4pm EST – WEBINAR
- Join a webinar hosted by the Conference of Regional Trail Initiatives featuring Charles Cooper of the Brumidi Group for the latest news from Washington DC. Following a presentation from Charles, we’ll have time for Q&A and consideration of the implications for your work. Zoom link.
January 18th, 12:30-2:00pm EST – WEBINAR
- Join a webinar hosted by the Conference of Regional Trail Initiatives featuring Lily Brown of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Christopher Lepe of Mariposa Planning Solutions to learn from the Bay Trail Equity Strategy, which has completed Phase 2. Zoom link.
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.