Join a Safety Walk on the Met Branch Trail This Friday

On the MET Branch Trail

On Fri., June 14, area ANC commissioner Tim Clark will host a safety walk on the Metropolitan Branch Trail in light of the attack on a cyclist there earlier this week. Those interested in participating are encouraged to meet at the trail entrance at 3rd and Randolph streets at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.

For more information about the attack, see WJLA, the Washington Post, Titan of Trinidad, and DCist.

We understand that the continuing string of violent incidents on the Met Branch is a significant deterrent to use of the trail. However, more eyes, not less, are one way to make the trail safer. We’ll continue to work with the Metropolitan Police Department and the District Department of Transportation to ensure that the trail is under surveillance. And we’ll continue to push for the completion of the Met Branch, so that more people are able to use it—thus creating an even stronger alliance of eyes on the street.

To that end, we’d like to take this opportunity to announce our trail ranger program. The trail ranger program, created by a grant to WABA from DDOT, will combine outreach, communication, and data collection on all of D.C.’s DDOT-managed trails: the Met Branch, Suitland Parkway, Anacostia Riverwalk, and Marvin Gaye. The work of the program manager and its assistants won’t be limited to any one of these trails in particular. While the rangers will, of course, work on the Met Branch, the grant will also enable them to address issues on other trails, like the devastating condition of the Suitland Parkway trail.

The trail ranger program will begin on June 24. We’ll post more information about the grant and the work of the trail rangers here.

Read a full description of the trail ranger program below the jump, and please plan to attend Friday’s safety walk.

The purpose of the Trail Ranger program will be to improve safety and increase trail usage by quickly and accurately reporting conditions and making the trails more favorable for daily use.  The main objective will be to increase the number of issues reported and repaired by DDOT through the DC311 system.  We will also increase awareness and conditions of the trail by high profile volunteer trail clean up days.  Our success will be measured by an increase in the number of new users and more regular users, increased numbers of trail users engaged, the number of volunteers attending the clean up days and number of tasks reported and tracked in the system.

Trail Monitoring
The Trail Rangers will ride each of the trails owned by DC pulling a lightweight trailer with supplies needed to assist bicyclists or alert trail users to poor trail conditions.  The Trail Rangers will regularly ride the Metropolitan Branch Trail, the Suitland Trail, the Marvin Gaye Trail and the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail and provide feedback to UFA managers regarding trail conditions and usage.

Trail Clean Up Days
WABA, with support from the Student Conservation Association, will organize and conduct trail clean up days using volunteer recruitment from among our thousands of engaged volunteers, plus extensive social media promotion.

Assist Trail Users
Trail Rangers will be equipped with patch kits, maps and other supplies to assist trail users in need.  In addition they will be assigned a recognizable uniform which will identify them as DC Trail Rangers.  In this way they will be easily identified as a helpful presence on the trail for users to feel comfortable approaching the Trail Ranger with requests for assistance or information.

Trail Feedback
All information regarding trail conditions will be reported regularly via the DC 311 app and a summary report of staff work loads, tasks completed and service requests submitted via Google word document weekly.  Trail Rangers and Manager will maintain regular contact via phone, email and face to face meetings to coordinate activities and respond quickly to potential issues. In addition, the Trail Rangers and Manager will work on establishing a system for soliciting concerns and issues from trail users beyond the grant period.

Photo by DDOTDC on Flickr