It’s been a busy spring and summer for the Capital Trails Coalition!
- Our friends at Prince George’s County Parks & Recreation, in coordination with partners at DDOT and Montgomery County Parks and assistance from NPS and RTC, submitted a $25M multi-jurisdictional RAISE grant application for a series of equity-focused and gap-filling trail projects. This kind of collaboration is exactly what the Capital Trails Coalition was envisioned to support, and we eagerly await word from USDOT!
- CTC Chair Tony Goodman joined DC Mayor Muriel Bowser to open the new Fort Totten segment of the Metropolitan Branch Trail.
- We hosted our first in-person membership meeting in over 2 years, delving into the results of the strategic roadmapping process kicked off over the winter.
- We’ll be following up soon with ways to help plan and contribute to its implementation.
- Finally, we brought aboard Kalli Krumpos as our new Trails Coalition Manager!
Want to know what else we’ve been up to across the region? Read on below!
- In June, Prince George’s and Anne Arundel County officials broke ground on the Patuxent River Bridge. This new bicycle and pedestrian crossing will connect the two segments of the iconic WB&A Trail in both counties, which is also part of several national trail networks (the East Coast Greenway, the American Discovery Trail, and the 9/11 Memorial Trail).
Prince George’s County
- On June 30th, construction began on a crucial missing link in Hyattsville between the Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail and the Northwest Branch Trail along Baltimore Avenue. The trail extension will improve accessibility for folks in College Park and the University of Maryland.
- CTC staff also joined the Bike and Roll Safety Day in Suitland, MD to highlight existing trails and opportunities to expand the trail network for a better connected Prince George’s County.
- We arranged a forum for CTC members to hear from managers of the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Op Lanes project in June about bike and pedestrian improvements coming to the Beltway northside corridor. The big focus was the new shared-use path to be built alongside the widened American Legion Bridge – unfortunately, this amazing new crossing’s plan features only a single connection to the historic C&O Canal towpath and no direct linkage to MacArthur Boulevard in Montgomery County. This is a critical piece of the county’s active transportation plan and we will continue dialogue with our partners in the county, state, and at NPS to identify opportunities to improve connectivity.
- Early this summer, after an unusually long negotiation process, Virginia passed its 2023 budget with a truly historic investment in trails – $93 million for multi-use trails, a nearly 8-fold increase over the previous year’s general fund commitment. The budget bill also establishes a statewide Office of Trails to manage funds, potentially bringing greater equity and stability to a trail development process long reliant on earmarks and political horse-trading.
- Arlington County is currently studying improvements to the Arlington Boulevard Trail between Jackson Street and George Mason Drive including the crossing at Glebe Road. CTC staff had a chance to join project managers for a walking tour and encouraged folks to share their ideas, thoughts, and experiences via the project’s survey tool to take an okay trail and make it great!
- CTC staff had the pleasure of exploring parts of the Custis and W&OD Trails in Arlington and Fairfax with folks from Sports Backers here to check out examples of good (and bad) trail design as they prepare to kickstart construction on the 43-mile Fall Line Trail through the Virginia capital region.
- In April, the CTC celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Mount Vernon Trail with many of our members and friends at Daingerfield Island. Credit to the Friends of Mount Vernon Trail and its army of volunteers for moving mountains (a lots of invasives) to maintain this venerable pathway. And a reminder that widening and repaving is on the horizon!
- In May, we joined for the initial public meeting for the I-495 Southside Express Lanes Study looking at easing congestion between Springfield in Fairfax County, VA and MD-210 in Prince George’s County, MD over the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge. We helped drive public comments urging VDOT to look at alternatives to express lanes – like improving transit and the bike/pedestrian network throughout the corridor – and are working with partners on a long range strategy to encourage more trail development.
- We are also continuing to monitor the progress of the ActiveFairfax Transportation Plan which will establish Fairfax County’s vision for trail development over the next decade and beyond. We look forward to updating our map with new projects and details!
District of Columbia
- In April, CTC staff led an awesome ride along the Anacostia River and Marvin Gaye Trails in honor of Celebrate Trails Day, highlighting these two amazing trail resources east of the Anacostia River as well as the opportunities to improve connectivity. We had a chance to return to Ward 8 in May for this year’s first Open Streets celebration along MLK Jr. Avenue SE. A chance to share our work with the community…and show off our new CTC t-shirts!
- The CTC and many of our members joined the Long Bridge Project presentation provided by the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) in June, with focus on the hugely important bike/pedestrian span to be built in parallel to the new train span. The good: solid connectivity to the trail network on the Virginia side. The bad: a too-narrow width of 14’ and limited connectivity on the DC side. In the short term, we’re helping drive comments urging a safer, more comfortable 20’ width (a position recently endorsed by the National Capital Planning Commission). Longer term, we’re meeting with partners to explore strategies for creating a more seamless experience for users on the DC side while acknowledging the congestion and limitations in Potomac Park.
- Also along the Potomac, we celebrated the opening of the new pedestrian and bicyclist tunnel under the I-66 bridge, a project made possible thanks to the support of Capital Trails Coalition members like you!
- Finally, Rock Creek Park is getting all kinds of improvements! In June, the majority of the repaved Rock Creek Park Multi-Use Path reopened to the public, with the new Zoo loop and pedestrian bridge near Woodley Park set to open by the end of July. The last piece of this multi-stage project along Piney Branch is scheduled to begin in the fall. Longer term, NPS is also studying a new trail along Military Road. This critical east-west connection must feature seamless connections to the larger active transportation network; to that end, the CTC is supporting DDOT’s application for funding to bring the future trail from 17th Street NW to the 14th Street bike lanes.