More Trail Events Coming Up

With hard work on the Met Branch and Anacostia Riverwalk Trails behind us, the Trail Ranger team is getting in gear for our lesser known trails east of the Anacostia.  With the Riverwalk Trail as a backbone of the network, the Suitland Parkway Trail and Marvin Gaye Trail serve as feeder lines from the Maryland line.  Come ride the trails with us and lend a hand keeping them in shape.

Suitland Parkway Trail Cleanup & Ride
Saturday, July 12, 10 am – 1 pm

Join us Rangers for a personal introduction and cleanup on one of DC’s least known bike trails. Through a little hard work, you’ll get a ground level perspective of where the trail goes, its challenges, and the future improvements we are advocating for. Learn more and Sign Up

Marvin Gaye Trail Cleanup & Ride
Sunday, July 27, 11 am – 2 pm

Roll up your sleeves and join the team in a community cleanup and ride on the Marvin Gaye Trail. Running the length of Marvin Gaye Park, the trail follows the Watts Branch creek for nearly 2 miles as it winds through quiet, green neighborhood streets from Minnesota Ave. to the Maryland line. Come discover how to get there, help us keep it looking fresh, and discover why you might want to come back. Learn more and Sign Up

Riverwalk Trail Gets Some Attention

ART Cleanup

Last Saturday morning, our Trail Ranger team and some eager volunteers gathered in River Terrace park on the east bank of the Anacostia River to give the trail some much needed help.. In just under two hours, our crew greatly improved the Benning Road bridge crossing, trimming back overgrown vegetation, clearing sight lines, and removing glass. As the northernmost river crossing on the Riverwalk, the Benning Road bridge is often abuzz with bike and foot traffic. Thanks to our efforts, this crossing is a bit roomier, making for a more enjoyable ride.

With the hard work done, the group enjoyed a relaxed spin around the trail, highlighting some of the trail connections, nearby attractions, and the 4.5 mile Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens trail extension, now under construction.

Every week, we’re highlighting the work of WABA’s Trail Ranger program, an effort to increase use and upkeep of multi-use trails in the District. Check back for big trail updates, achievements, and ways to get involved with our cleanups and events. Click here for more about our Trail Ranger program.

Trail Ranger Cleanup Events Are Underway

Sunday morning, a crew of eleven eager neighbors and trail lovers joined our Trail Ranger team for our first trail cleanup of the summer. In just under three hours, we tackled some big projects to ensure that the Met Branch Trail we have today always offers a smooth ride, clean sight lines, and lasting artistic flair. Read on for a photo recap and a look at what’s next.

For our first trail cleanup event, we focussed our efforts on the busy southern section of the Met Branch Trail from New York Ave. to Franklin St. Thanks to regular attention from our Trail Rangers and city maintenance crews, the trail itself is in excellent condition, so we trained our eyes on  uncovering and highlighting some of the incredible murals that make this 1.5 mile section such a pleasure to travel on.

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Mother nature is not this mural’s best friend, but now it is in good shape for the summer.

Some art is better left to the professionals.

Some art is better left to the professionals.

Keeping aggressive growth out of your face so you can focus on enjoying the ride

Check out more photos on flickr.

Next Up: Anacostia Riverwalk Cleanup June 28

Keeping our trails in good shape is never ending work.  Fortunately, each trail in DC brings something to the table, and the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail is no exception.  With striking views of the river, soaring bridges, and blissful turns through parks and dense canopies, the riverwalk is a terrific place to ride, and a pleasant place to meet some new friends while you work

Join our Trail Ranger team on Saturday, june 28 for a relaxed cleanup.  For more details and to sign up, click here.

New Frederick Douglass Bridge Won’t Connect to Suitland Parkway Trail

New-Frederick-Douglas-Memorial-Bridge-Aerial-View-2-Updated-July-2013

The District Department of Transportation is proposing a new Frederick Douglas Memorial Bridge that will not connect to the Suitland Parkway Trail through Anacostia. The Suitland Parkway Trail’s trailhead is only one mile from the proposed bridge.

DDOT will invest $600 million in a new South Capitol Street / Frederick Douglas Memorial Bridge across the Anacostia River. This is the largest capital investment project  in the DDOT’s history and represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get the design right for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Bridge engineers have been listening to the concerns of bicycling community over the last two years, and DDOT has made improvements to the bridge design for bicyclists and pedestrians. The new span will have two 18-foot-wide multi-use trails, one of each side of the roadway. The sidepath space will be divided into an 8-foot sidewalk and a 10-foot-wide bicycle path. There will be direct connections from the bridge, around the traffic circles, to the street grid and existing or planned trail networks.

But there is a glaring exception: There is no direct connection to the Suitland Parkway Trail from the bridge. The Suitland Parkway Trail is a multi-use path that extends two miles east from Anacostia to the District’s border with Maryland. Prince George’s County is beginning plans to extend the trail another 3.5 miles east to the Branch Ave Metro Station. It is a preferred route for bicyclists because the trail is steady uphill grade ; many nearby residential streets have very quick and steep climbs.

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Bicyclists wishing to travel from the bridge to the trail will follow one of two routes. The first is on the south side of the trail, follows the traffic circle around counterclockwise, underneath I-295, and ends at the intersection of Firth Sterling and the Suitland Parkway. This route crosses roads eight times including two high speed interstate ramps. The second route begins on the north side of the bridge, follows the traffic circle around clockwise and ends on Howard Road. Engineers would then paint bike lanes on Howard Road. Neither route ends anywhere near the Suitland Parkway Trail.

Residents who live just up the Anacostia River experience a similar roadway design every day. The unpleasant walk or bike ride from the Pennsylvania Ave Bridge underneath the freeway to Minnesota Avenue SE is nearly the same layout. Pedestrians and bicyclists must navigate a sea of crosswalks, high speed interstate highway ramps and numerous traffic lights. It’s unsafe, unpleasant and intimidating. DDOT should not repeat the same mistake.

DDOT engineers need to propose a direct connection from the new bridge to the trail. This connection should aim to keep pedestrians and bicyclists separated from car traffic, minimize crosswalks and prioritize grade separated trail crossings. Trail user should not have to cross high speed freeway ramps. The design should prioritize the experience of bicyclists and pedestrians. Most importantly, the trail connection should keep kids, adults, and seniors safe and be a direct, safe, and convenient connection of communities.

Sign the petition asking DDOT to design and build a safe trail connection from the South Capitol Street Bridge to the Suitland Parkway Trail

Anacostia Riverwalk Bridge Closer to Completion

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In January, we reported that construction had stalled on the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail bridge over the CSX tracks on the east side of the river. It appears construction activity has restarted at the bridge site with DDOT posting photos on their Facebook page of a large crane posting the bridge’s main span.

We took a field trip to the site and snapped the photo above to see the progress ourselves. The bridge’s main span is now in place. Final work will include the bridge decking and finishing the approach ramps. Take a minute and read the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative’s update on their project website explaining the progress, which says that a spring opening of the bridge is expected.

We want to thank DDOT for making the completion of this bridge a priority.

DDOT Clarifies Status of Anacostia Riverwalk Trail Link

Last month, we wrote here about DDOT’s failure to provide, via the new 11th Street Bridge, a direct connection for the east and west sides of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail.

Councilmember Tommy Wells’ staff followed up with DDOT to ensure that trail access would be included in the construction of the new bridge. DDOT responded thusly:

To clarify, there WILL be a direct connection from the bridge to the trail on the east side of the river.  DDOT will build a temporary path connecting to the existing path (which links directly to Good Hope Rd and the Riverwalk Trail).  This is a temporary solution because DC Water will be working on the site long term as part of the Clean Rivers Project.  When finished, DC Water will build a permanent ADA-compliant trail in its place.

As for the width of the sidewalk on the bridge itself, there will a 12 foot wide clear space between the railing and the outside wall for bicyclists and pedestrians to use.

Many thanks to DDOT and Councilmember Wells’ staff for their assistance with this important connection for cyclists and pedestrians.