Prince George’s County Advocacy Training

Are you a Prince George’s County resident and want to learn more about how to advocate for better bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure? Do you ever feel like you want to report a maintenance issue, but are not sure who to contact? Are you curious to learn more about what the county is doing to make it safer for walking and biking?  Join us and Black Women Bike for an online webinar that will help demystify advocacy across Prince George’s County! This event is open to all.

Register Here

Cool Spring/Adelphi Bike & Pedestrian Access Improvement Project

Join the Prince George’s Department of Public Works and Transportation to learn about pedestrian and bicycle access improvements in Cool Spring near Adelphi Road and University Blvd.

The scope of the project is to provide safe walking and bicycling access for residents of the Cool Spring Neighborhood to University of Maryland and the coming Purple Line station. DPWT staff are at he early stages of the design process, so now is the perfect time to weigh in with concerns, suggestions, and dreams about bicycle and pedestrian accessibility and safety in the area. Attend the meeting and speak up.

Zoom Meeting Link: https://zoom.us/j/97302479498

Or dial in using your phone: 301 715 8592; Access Code: 973-0247-9498

You may also submit comments to DPW&T Project Manager, Nina Upadhyay at nupadhyay@co.pg.md.us by February 14, 2021.

Prince George’s County Trail Highlights with Robyn Short

Often when people think about biking in Prince George’s County, Maryland, the Anacostia Branch Trails are the first that come to mind. But, Prince George’s County has over 160 miles of bike trails ready for your next ride. Join WABA Instructor and Black Women Bike Organizer, Robyn Short, as she offers a look at some of the lesser-known trails in the county and how you can reach them.

This webinar is FREE to join. Invite friends and family members and be sure to bring plenty of questions!

Tune in on Zoom

Add to your calendar by clicking here.

Click here to register for the Zoom meeting

Meeting ID: 916 9273 4759   Password: bike

Tales and Trails of Prince George’s County with Robyn Short

This event will take place entirely online

Often when people think about biking in Prince George’s County, Maryland, the Anacostia Branch Trails are the first that come to mind. But, Prince George’s County has over 160 miles of bike trails ready for your next ride. Join WABA Instructor and Black Women Bike Organizer, Robyn Short, as she offers a look at some of the lesser-known trails in the county and how you can reach them.

This webinar is FREE to join. Invite friends and family members and be sure to bring plenty of questions!

Tune in on Zoom

Add to your calendar by clicking here.

Click here to register for the Zoom meeting

Meeting ID: 999 1558 6497   Password: bike

Trail Ambassadors could come to Prince George’s County.

Kids on a trail in the Anacostia Tributary Trails System. Photo Credit: Robert Meyers.

Prince George’s County is home to miles of beautiful and well-used paved trails for transportation and recreation. Bladensburg Waterfront Park alone sees more than 1,000 people on an average summer Saturday, and the trails are a great place for walks with friends, training for a 5K or going to the grocery store on a car-free, stress-free corridor.

Prince George’s County is working towards creating and expanding a regional network of world-class trails, and world-class trails networks require consistent field presence to support trails users and address maintenance issues. 

Support better trails!

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), in collaboration with Maryland Milestones/ATHA Inc., proposes an expansion of our current trail maintenance program into Prince George’s County. These trail ambassadors will help maintain the bicycle commuter and recreation routes made up by the Anacostia Tributary Trails (Northwest Branch and Northeast Branch) and Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail. The program is modeled on the success of the Trail Ranger program that has been in operation in the District of Columbia since 2013.

Are you a resident of Prince George’s County? Sign our petition to let the Prince George’s County Planning Board know that you would like to see WABA’s friendly ambassadors on County trails! 

This petition will be included in WABA’s written comments to the County Planning Board’s annual budget process. Prince George’s County Planning Board is part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), the bi-county agency that administers parks and planning in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland. 

Click here for more information on WABA’s Trail Ranger program in the District of Columbia and here for more information about the Prince George’s County Planning Board’s annual budget process.

Prince George’s County Has A New Countywide Trail Plan

Last month, Prince George’s County’s Planning Board adopted a new plan to improve, greatly expand and better care for the county’s network of paved off-street trails. The plan is an important step towards better trails and more options for getting around by bike in the region. Prince George’s County has some of the most popular and well-connected trails in the region. The Anacostia Tributary Trails, the Washington Baltimore & Annapolis Trail, and the Henson Creek Trail are fantastic. But those trails only reach a subset of the county and need substantial attention to meet increasing demand. Residents in Largo, Oxon Hill, and Glenarden rightfully want a trail near them that links into a broader network. They want safe, reliable options for getting around without a car, and they see new trails as the obvious choice. These are some of the many issues the new plan tackles.   The Strategic Trails Plan lays out a new vision for what the county’s trail system could and should be. It proposes an interconnected, countywide network of high-quality trails that link parks, major destinations, and neighborhoods. The plan calls for 250 new miles of primary trails and a feeder network of secondary trails to bring convenient trail and park access for 300,000 more county residents. The future network will encourage walking and biking by creating safe, convenient, and connected routes.

Kids riding along a trail on the Anacostia Tributary Trails System in Prince George’s County.

Prince George’s County doesn’t currently reward folks who travel by bike with safe, protected, dedicated infrastructure. In fact, in many places, the roads discourage and punish people who get around without a car. But this plan changes that. The vision is a connected county that is easy to navigate by foot and by bike. To achieve that vision, the Department of Parks & Recreation needs to make significant changes to its approach to planning and managing trails. The plan identifies a comprehensive roadmap of strategic investments, policy changes and new programs to support existing trails and develop new ones. The county will need more dedicated funding, additional staff, new partnerships with state and local land stakeholders, and a new, proactive approach to fix trail problems before issues become irreversible. But the payoff—a connected county that encourages active transportation—is more than worth it. There is a lot of work to do, but for the first time, Prince George’s County has a countywide vision and a roadmap to implement it. And WABA, the Capital Trails Coalition, and the broader community of trail advocates are ready to help make it happen! Click here to see the approved network map and read the full plan.

Is the WB&A Trail along MD 704 feasible? Study says YES

A critical gap in the region’s trail network is closer to completion! Prince George’s County took a big step forward on the WB&A (Washington Baltimore & Annapolis) Trail by publishing a feasibility study of a trail extension along Martin Luther King Jr. Highway (also known as MD-704) to connect the existing WB&A Trail to DC.

Rendering courtesy of Wallace Montgomery and Prince George’s County.

A 12-mile rail-trail in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel Counties, the WB&A Trail is already one of the region’s great recreation and transportation trails. Along the tree-lined route, the trail rises over and tunnels under major highways, connecting neighborhoods, parks, schools and jobs. But the trail is far from complete. The trail ends miles from DC’s northeast border and remains isolated from the rest of the DC trail network. Extending the trail to DC would fill a substantial gap in the regional trail network (in fact, the trail would go all the way across Prince George’s County!), creating safe walking and biking options for the communities along the corridor. That’s one reason why the trail has been at or near the top of the Prince George’s County’s Bicycle and Pedestrian transportation funding priorities since 2011! The WB&A Trail was converted from an old railroad. Unfortunately, planners didn’t make the entire rail corridor into a trail—some was converted into a highway. That highway is Martin Luther King Jr. Highway (MLK Highway), a straight shot from the trail’s southern terminus to the DC line.

WB&A in Green, trail extension in Red

MLK Highway was built to move cars quickly, making the corridor a hostile place for people biking and walking. Despite close proximity to neighborhoods, schools, parks and stores, sidewalks are missing on more than half of the 6.5 mile corridor. Wide intersections make safely crossing the street challenging even where crosswalks and traffic lights are present. It’s a stressful place to bike and walk, so few people do it.

MLK Highway is a 6-8 lane speedway. Building a trail alongside it would make it accessible to people outside of cars.

That’s exactly why WABA, together with Prince George’s County, Oxon Hill Bike and Trail Club, the Capital Trails Coalition and many others are working to change MLK Highway. This major highway is the only connection between dozens of communities, and we strongly believe it should be a safe place to bike and walk. With a new multi-use trail, MLK Highway could transform from a barrier that separates communities into a safe, inviting corridor that unifies them with new options for getting around. And the neighbors would benefit tremendously from a safe place to bike and walk along MLK Highway! The corridor has 16 parks and recreation centers, five schools, two libraries, and over 30 places of worship all within a half mile of MLK Highway. WABA has been with this project from day one. We’ve been leading rides on the trail and on MLK Highway, meeting with elected officials along the corridor, supporting the planning department, researching the economic effects of extending the trail, and organizing trail advocates across the county.

A WABA-led ride on the WB&A! Here we are at Mile 0.

The feasibility study identified places along the corridor that have plenty of room for a multi-use trail, and other areas that are more challenging (based on physical and engineering constraints). The study gives us solid footing, and helps all partners understand what the hurdles will be as the vision for this trail and a path towards completion takes shape. And we’ll continue to be involved, because closing this gap in the trail network is critical to WABA’s mission. A feasibility study is a significant milestone, but we’ve got lots of work to do before we’re safely riding a completed WB&A Trail. Want to get involved in this project? Join neighbors and advocates to build momentum and support for a new 704 trail. Sign up below! I want to support the WB&A!

A new trail bridge over the Patuxent!

Great news! About a month ago, we learned that the Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis (WB&A) Trail will receive $4.7 million for a bridge over the Patuxent River, connecting Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties! This long-awaited bridge will close a key gap in the trail network. Currently, the WB&A Trail is in two segments— six miles in Anne Arundel County (from Odenton to the river), and six miles in Prince George’s County (from the Patuxent River to the trailhead on Annapolis Road). The bridge will connect these segments, connect communities on either side of the river to jobs, retail, parks, amenities, and much more. The WB&A Trail has been a WABA priority for decades, and this funding commitment is an important win. Please join us in thanking Secretary Rahn for investing in trail infrastructure:

Say thanks

The first of several important connections

The WB&A Trail is a converted railroad corridor, and not surprisingly, the railroad line used to connect all the way into DC. While 12 miles were converted into a rail-trail, the other seven miles to the south were used to create a state highway, Maryland 704. Today, Route 704 is an over-built highway and a barrier to safe travel by foot or bike. Luckily, leaders in Prince George’s County see the value in a trail along the entire corridor. Planners and engineers are looking into converting a portion of the roadway into a trail— extending the trail to the DC line. A feasibility study  is currently underway, but it will take a lot of work to get our vision to reality. All told, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) announced more than twenty million dollars in grants to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety and connectivity across the entire state. With Secretary Rahn’s leadership in funding the Patuxent River bridge, the future looks bright for WB&A Trail users.  
Want updates on this project by email? Yes!

Speak up for a bridge across the Patuxent River!

The Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis Trail (WB&A) is a 12-mile rail trail in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel County. It’s a wonderful trail- except for one critical gap. The trail has no connection over the Patuxent River. No bridge means the two segments of the trail are totally disconnected. It’s a critical gap that stands in the way of what could be an incredible trail experience. But, with your help, that could change! Anne Arundel County has proposed a bicycle and pedestrian bridge across the river. Please sign the petition to show your support! Why is the connection important? With the bridge, the trail could connect communities on either side of the river to jobs, retail, parks, amenities, and much more. Why is this significant, regionally? The WB&A Trail is not a stand-alone project. It’s an important piece of a handful of regional and national trails, including the East Coast Greenway, the American Discovery Trail, and the September 11th National Memorial Trail. It’s also a key spoke of a network being defined by the Capital Trails Coalition, a collaborative effort to connect the regional trail network in the Washington, DC region. Where are we in the process? Anne Arundel County is considering three alternatives (a no-build alternative and two build alternatives) and accepting public comments. From that point, the county will move into the initial design of the bridge, which will allow the counties to pursue funding to complete the design work and construction.

Patuxent River bicycle and pedestrian bridge- Alternative #2

Patuxent River bicycle and pedestrian bridge- Alternative #3

What are the two build alternatives? There is a northern and a southern option. Alternative #2 is the northern option. It is the shortest distance and the most direct route. During the initial assessment, the County noted this alternative will have the least negative environmental impact, although the approach to the bridge will be a bit steeper than Alternative #3. Alternative #3 uses a previously cleared segment on the Anne Arundel County side of the river, and would include building a longer section of trail to approach the bridge. The bridge would cross into Prince George’s County a bit further south than Alternative #2. The County anticipates a larger environmental impact, and would require that easements from an adjacent homeowners’ association be secured. Both of these factors could slow the process down. How else can I take action? WABA will submit the petition signatures to Anne Arundel County before the deadline, but if you’d like to dive deeper with your comments, you’re welcome to send your thoughts directly to the county, using this form. When is the deadline for submitting comments? The deadline is April 17. Did you know? The WB&A Trail is one of WABA’s advocacy priorities. You can learn more about our continuing work on the development of the trail here.