We Need the Arboretum Bridge & Trail!

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The Arboretum Bridge and Kenilworth Park South Trail is a project that will connect Wards 5 and 7 in DC for people who walk and bike. It is an incredible opportunity to create a new connection for residents needing to get across the Anacostia River and to provide access to some of the District’s most unique outdoor gems: Anacostia Park and the U.S. National Arboretum. 

Connection is the key focus of this project. Currently, to cross the river without this bridge, people have to travel from Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens either 1.5 miles south, to Benning Road, or 2.5 miles north, to the pedestrian bridge at Bladensburg Waterfront Park. These distances make it difficult or impractical for residents of Mayfair, Eastland Gardens, Kenilworth, or Deanwood to walk or bike across the Anacostia River. Communities adjacent to the trail should not face an undue burden to try to cross the river.

DDOT, National Park Service, and the DC Department of Parks and Recreation held a meeting in July to share the updated plans for the bridge to accommodate the concerns of the rowing community, and maintain the navigability of the deepest part of the channel. While the compromises made have slowed the project a bit, we appreciate the project team taking time to hear from concerned stakeholders, including rowers and others most focused on the river. To counter the vocal opposition to the bridge design during the July meeting, we think that voicing our support project now is important to keeping forward momentum.

Let the project team know why you support the Arboretum Bridge and Trail!

Arboretum Bridge & Trail Project Area
Project Area of the Arboretum Bridge & Trail Project

The Arboretum Bridge and Trail Project is located on National Park Service lands and is being led by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) in partnership with the National Park Service and the DC Department of Parks and Recreation. This project will receive funding through a federal grant through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Program.

This project is one of the final pushes in a much larger vision called the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative. Started in 2003, this initiative created the blueprint for the Anacostia River Trail, which is nearly complete.  Twenty years later, this bridge is one of the final segments in the larger plan to create a clean river environment with new parks and recreation centers, revitalize neighborhoods and multi-modal transportation options, encourage more job-creating commercial centers. 

The project team currently anticipates completing the design in fall 2023, beginning construction in fall 2024, and completing construction in 2026. To encourage the project team to keep to this timeline, we believe it’s important for trail users and residents to share why they support the project.

Constructing the bridge and connecting trail are key pieces in building out the District’s low stress network. DDOT has plans to connect the trail from the Arboretum gate to Maryland Avenue, which will add important connectivity when the Arboretum is closed, but that connection is not part of this project. WABA has been supportive of the connection for years and helped facilitate feedback on the design back in 2019. Read more here.