Last week, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) took the next major step to extend the Metropolitan Branch Trail from Brookland to the Fort Totten Metro. In a press release, DDOT announced that it is seeking proposals from firms to complete final design and build the new trail segment. Once the contract is awarded, construction could be complete in about 18 months. This will be the first major trail construction since the southern 2.2 mile section opened in 2010. This new phase will extend the sidepath on the east side of John McCormack Dr to the base of the hill across from the Fort Totten waste transfer station. Instead of heading up the hill, as it does today, the trail will continue north alongside the CSX tracks east of the Transfer Station. At the Fort Totten Metro, the trail will climb up and over the Green Line tunnel portal, then descend back to street level. This phase of construction will add nearly a mile of new trail, improving walking and biking access to the transit hub and the new development surrounding it. The project will include stairs for a direct route down to the Metro entrance and an improved trail through Fort Totten Park westward to Gallatin St, where the interim route continues northward. The new 10-12 foot wide trail will include lights, security cameras, and a relatively gradual grade compared to the steep climb up Fort Totten Dr. For more renderings and detailed design drawings, go to metbranchtrail.com/resources/. When complete, the Met Branch Trail will span more than 8 miles between Union Station and the Silver Spring Metro Station. So far, the southern 5.5 miles are a mix of off-street trail, protected bike lane, and low traffic streets. Once built out from Bates Rd to Fort Totten, about 2 miles will remain to be built through Manor Park and Takoma to the Maryland line. DDOT finished 30% design for this last phase in 2016 and aims to complete final design in 2017.
In 2013, WABA’s board of directors established a list of 10 regional priorities on which to focus our advocacy efforts in the coming years. Read about those priorities—which are ordered arbitrarily—below. Rock Creek Park Multi-Use Trail Rehabilitation WABA will work to ensure that the District Department of Transportation and the National Park Service finish the design and construction of a complete repaving of the trail and improve access to it, as outlined in the Rock Creek Park Multi-Use Trail Rehabilitation Environmental Assessment. Capital Crescent Trail WABA will work to ensure that a complete off-road paved multi-use trail is built in conjunction with the Purple Line from Bethesda to Silver Spring. WABA will advocate for improved trail access to the existing facility. Washington, Baltimore, & Annapolis Trail WABA will work to extend this rail-trail southeast from its current terminus in Glenn Dale, Md., through Maryland’s suburbs into D.C. and connect it to the area’s existing trail network. Finish the Metropolitan Branch Trail WABA will work with D.C. and Montgomery County to ensure that those jurisdictions design and construct the Met Branch Trail segment from Brookland to Downtown Silver Spring, and that that segment includes the Prince George’s Connector Trail. Northern Virginia U.S. Route 50 WABA will work with Fairfax County to improve bicycle access along the U.S. Route 50 corridor from Fairfax to D.C. with a new, separated bicycle facility. Protected Bike Lanes WABA will work with regional governments to increase the mileage of on-road, physically separated bike lanes and cycletracks. Southeastern Trail Corridor WABA will work to increase access for bicycling in the southeastern area of the region, including trails like the Suitland Parkway Trail. Safe Passages to School WABA will work with regional governments to implement Safe Routes to School policies and and provide bicycle safety training to ensure kids have safe modes of transit between their home and education center. Increased Bike Parking and Commuter Amenities WABA will ensure that all local jurisdictions have a comprehensive bicycle parking and commuter amenities policy. Police Enforcement and Education WABA will encourage police to enforce existing traffic laws that affect cyclists such as right turn on red, passing too close, and speeding. WABA will advocate for better education of police officers on bicycle-specific laws and how to properly enforce them. Details and updates on WABA’s initiatives in these areas will be posted to our blog. For more information on our advocacy work, see waba.org/advocacy. Contact Advocacy Coordinator Greg Billing at email@example.com with any questions. WABA’s advocacy is supported by your membership dollars. Join or donate to WABA today to enable us to continue to achieve success in our advocacy work. Photo by Flickr user Rebecca Schley