When the Capital Trails Coalition was founded, our goal was to serve as a entity where collaboration and coordination between public and private organizations, agencies, and neighborhood groups would thrive to advance the completion of an interconnected network of multi-use trails. Collaboration takes trust and trust takes time to build. Six years later, we are starting to see the fruits of our labor in a big way.
An example of this collaboration took place this summer when the Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation, Montgomery County Parks Department, and National Park Service worked together to submit a Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Grant through USDOT. This $23.3M application included 3.5 miles of new construction, 11 miles of trail rehabilitation, and safety improvements at eight intersections and at-grade crossings. RAISE is an extremely competitive program, and packaging the application gives both Counties a higher chance of being awarded the funds (as seen with the Circuit Trails). Arlington County also applied for the Cemetary Wall Trail and the District Department of Transportation applied for the South Capitol Street Trail. Grants will be awarded by November 22, 2021.
What else is happening across the region?
On October 13th, President Biden signed H.R. 2278 into law! This bipartisan Act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to designate the September 11th National Memorial Trail. The trail links the National September 11th Memorial, the Pentagon Memorial, & the Flight 93 Memorial.
Wayfinding on trails is extremely important. It not only helps people get to where they need to go, but trail markings play a critical role in emergency response. In September, the CTC brought trail managers and planners from across the region as well as DC’s Office of Unified Communications together to discuss best practices in wayfinding and emergency response. Our regional partners discussed a variety of signage projects that are happening across DC, MD, and VA, including: the Capital Crescent Trail in the District, the Fairfax County Parkway Trail, the Anacostia River Tributary Trail System, and the Anacostia River Trail in the District.
- In September, The state announced $16.8 million to advance 42 bicycle and pedestrian projects. The Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grants provide funding for on- and off-road pedestrian and bicycle facilities, environmental mitigation efforts, and projects that are part of the Safe Routes to School initiative. Several trail projects in the CTC Network were selected including: C&O Canal Resurfacing, Oxon Cove repaving project & new bridge, and the Greenbelt Station/WMATA City of Greenbelt Hiker-Biker Trail.
- The Montgomery County Planning Department is partnering with the Montgomery County Department of Transportation and the Better Block Foundation to temporarily connect the Bethesda Trolley Trail to the Montrose Parkway Trail and activate hubs at key intersections along the way. WABA and the CTC partnered with the Planning Department and the Better Block Foundation to hold a community bike ride on Saturday, September 18th. Read more here.
- The Montgomery County Planning Department held a public hearing on October 14th to review the Capital Crescent Trail Tunnel project. WABA testified at the hearing to show our support for the project. Read our testimony here.
Prince George’s County:
- On August 16th, our Trails Coalition Manager and our partners at the East Coast Greenway Alliance joined the Prince George’s County Club 300 and Montgomery Explorers walking groups for a group walk along the Anacostia River Trail.
- On Thursday, September 9th, Our Trails Coalition Manager tabled with the Prince George’s County Trail Ambassadors along the Anacostia River Trail in Hyattsville, MD. The Trail Ambassador program launched in January 2021 as a seasonable program.
- On Tuesday, October 19th, we testified at the Prince George’s County Planning Board Public Budget Hearing. The Planning Board approves MNCPPC’s budget request then submits the budget to the Council for final review.Our two main goals are to see the Prince George’s County Parks and Recreation Department hire an additional Trail Planner and to add additional dollars to the operating budget for trail maintenance. You can read our full testimony here.
- Virginia General Assembly’s FY 2022 budget passed Chapter 552, Item 447.10.G. This stipulates that the Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment, Secretary of Transportation (OIPI) coordinate a policy working group comprised of representatives from VDOT, the Department of Rail and Public Transportation the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Statewide Trails Advisory Committee, and staff from both House and Senate Appropriations Committees to recommend a process to identify new multi-use trails in Virginia. The Capital Trails Coalition was invited to present to the working group to share our methodology and lessons learned.
- WABA, the Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling, and CTC wrote a letter to Mayor Wilson and the City Council to show our support for the Holmes Run Trail project. Read our letter here.
- The CTC Trails Coalition Manager presented at the Fairfax Trails, Sidewalk, and Bikeways Committee meeting in July.
- Signed onto the Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling’s letter thanking the Board of Supervisors for the addition $100M for bike/ped projects. The funding mechanism is not yet clear, and FCDOT is working on putting a list of possible projects together.
- We hosted a site visit to the Arlington Boulevard Trail with the Arlington County Board Chair, Matt de Ferranti.
- We worked with Rails-to-Trails Conservancy to develop renderings of the Arlington Boulevard Trail near Glebe Road:
- The Arlington County Board unanimously passed the CTC Resolution on September 21st!
- The WABA/CTC was invited to participate in the Crystal City to DCA (CC2DCA) Stakeholder Meeting. WABA submitted comments on the proposal.
- The National Park Service is studying the possibility of closing upper Beach Drive to cars. They held a public comment period this summer which considered a few different concepts. “Concept 1” (restoring weekday commuter car traffic) or “Concept 2” (continuing the current no-through-traffic protocol) has ended. The Park Service is now evaluating the huge number of comments. NPS stated that it will release its recommended action this fall. The Park Service says it will maintain the current traffic program (no commuting cars) on upper Beach Drive until any decision is made. You can read our comments here.
- The National Park Service is preparing a Development Concept Plan for sections D & E of Anacostia Park, the area of the park east of the Anacostia river between the 11th Street Bridge and the CSX railroad bridge. The plan will provide a framework for future development and use of the park. NPS held a public comment period earlier this summer. Read our comments here.
- On Monday, September 6 and Tuesday, September 7, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) celebrated the opening of the new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. WABA and the CTC attended the launch and hosted a table with maps, stickers, and outreach materials!
- The District of Columbia closed three miles of Georgia Avenue to cars on Saturday, October 2nd. There were a variety of activations along the closed corridor and we had a tent with a free photobooth! Check out some of our photos on Twitter!
- WB&A Trail Bridge went out for construction BID in September!
- Rhode Island Ave Trolley Trail going out to construction BID on Nov 18th!
- Prince George’s County trail improvements:
- Regraded and newly paved underpass on the Paint Branch Trail at Lake Artemesia
- Newly resurfaced Paint Branch Trail under Route 1 near the University of Maryland
- Newly paved gravel link between Cottage City levee path and Anacostia River Trail
- New safety fencing along the NE Branch Trail adjacent to Edmonston Pumping station.
- NOVA Parks, The City of Falls Church, and NVTA held a ribbon-cutting for the opening of the W&OD Dual Trail Project!
- We are thrilled to welcome Jay Corbalis as our newest Steering Committee member! Jay is the Vice President of Public Affairs at JBG SMITH.
- Tony Goodman formally took over as the Chair of the CTC on October 1st! Tony is the District’s Business Emergency Management Operations Center (BEMOC) Manager at HSEMA.
- Our next full Coalition meeting will take place on Thursday, December 9th from 10am-12pm