RAISE Grants fund two critical trail projects

Great news! Two of the Capital Trails Coalition’s top priority trails projects will receive $30 million in funding through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s extremely competitive FY22 Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program: 

The Long Bridge Bike-Ped Span

The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) will receive $20M to build a new bicycle and pedestrian bridge across the Potomac River between Long Bridge Park in Arlington, VA and East and West Potomac Parks in Washington, DC. This new bike/pedestrian span, part of the larger Long Bridge rail expansion project, will create a safer and more accessible way for residents and visitors to cross the river. This is the culmination of over a decade of advocacy alongside more than 1,400 community members like you who called on our transportation leaders to include accommodations for people who walk and bike as part of this once-in-a-generation bridge project. Early concept designs released this summer are encouraging but have room for improvement, and your support will enable WABA to continue to fight to ensure the project is sufficiently wide to ride and connected on either side.

The South Capitol Street Trail

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) was awarded $10M to move forward a 3.8 mile walking and biking trail along South Capitol Street SE in DC’s Ward 8, extending the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail network and providing a connection to the Oxon Hill Farm Trail in Prince George’s County, MD. This new trail fills a crucial gap in the low-stress network and will give residents in Ward 8 and across the region a new low-stress option for commuting and access to green spaces. WABA has been on the ground helping organize community members to call for improvements to the South Capitol Street corridor and throughout the underserved neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River, and this successful grant demonstrates the power of that grassroots activism towards transportation equity.

WABA also congratulates Prince George’s County on their award of $20.5M for the New Carrollton Multi-modal Transportation System Project that will include a new train hall, sidewalks, bike lanes, enhanced signalization, and traffic calming improvements. This project will improve safety and increase accessibility for the community, improving the County’s on-street low-stress bicycle and pedestrian network. Transit-oriented development complements trails to create sustainable and walkable communities, and that future starts with bold projects like this.

While we celebrate

While we celebrate, we know there’s more work to do to keep up the momentum for continued expansion of the low-stress network. Of the nearly 900 miles of trails in the Capital Trail Network, there are still more than 400 planned miles to build. We need your support today to keep up the fight for more and better trails throughout our region. 

These grants are a huge step forward for our region’s trail network, but game-changing funding like this doesn’t happen out of the blue. Advocates like you have spoken up for these trails over and over, in petitions, emails, and public meetings. Our staff and coalition partners have worked with a tangle of state and federal agencies for more than ten years to move these projects forward. We can’t organize that support or dismantle those bureaucratic barriers without your help.

Chip in today to build out the trail network!

Win! Suitland Parkway Trail Will Connect To The New Douglass Bridge

WABA

Source: DDOT

The new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge will include a direct, safe and convenient bicycle and pedestrian trail connection to the Suitland Parkway Trail. DDOT announced the change to the bridge plans yesterday via the the Anacosita Waterfront Initiative (AWI) blog. Phase 1 of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge will now include a trail connection from reconstructed bridge along the northern side of the traffic circle and parkway to Firth Sterling Avenue SE and the Anacostia Metro Station. Bicycle and pedestrian trail user will bi-pass the high speed I-295 exit ramp through a new tunnel underneath the road. The large yellow arrow on the rendering above points to the new trail tunnel. Phase 2 of the bridge project will finish the direct trail connection from the Anacostia Metro Station to the existing trail head. WABA has been engaged for over three years with DDOT on the bridge replacement planning process. This victory concludes months of advocacy and petition efforts after we raised the trail connectivity issue back in January. The advocacy work on this bridge project in line with our Southeastern Trail Corridor advocacy priority. We are encouraged by the many improvements and updates to bicycle and pedestrian access that have been made. The current design reflects the District’s multi-modal vision. You can learn more about the entire bridge project on the AWI website and watch the updated video of the proposed bridge below. When complete, the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge will be the best bicycling bridge in the region and it will be a major connection in the regional trail network. While we wait for the new bridge and trail connection, join us on July 12th for a clean-up event of the Suitland Parkway Trail with our Trail Rangers. Sign up online here And here’s a neat video rendering of the new bridge:

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.

bridge-to-trail-overhead

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

An Update on the South Capitol Bridge

 

On Tuesday night, DDOT held a well-attended meeting to update residents on the status of the South Capitol Bridge planning. Previously, WABA raised a number of concerns about the the project’s scale, accommodations for bicyclists, and contribution to overall connectivity for bicycling.  We have met several times with DDOT’s Anacostia Waterfront Initiative team, and we’re pleased to report that the majority of our concerns about the bridge and connectivity to and from the bridge have been addressed. The bridge will have a 10-foot wide two-way cycletrack on each side. The cycletracks will be physically separated from automobile traffic, and will connect directly to the Anacostia and eventual South Capitol trails. For additional details, see Washcycle’s post here. Renderings of the bridge are available at DCist. We still believe that the overall scale of the bridge may be too large and that traffic volumes should be re-analyzed in light of the recent opening of the new 11th Street bridge. Additionally, the monumental ovals prioritize aesthetics over traffic flow, safety, or community connectivity. But given the overall scale, we feel that DDOT has done well in listening to the needs of the bicycling community and designing solutions. It is important to remember that these designs are roughly 30 percent of the total design work. From this point, DDOT will select a design-build contractor to complete the design and construct the bridge. That means that 70 percent of the design work is still to come. The chosen contractor will be motivated to be on time and under budget—not necessarily to involve the community or continue efforts to accommodate all modes of travel. Many thanks to those who attended the meeting to represent the interests of bicyclists. See the presentation given by DDOT below the jump.

South Capitol Street Corridor Project: 7/30/13 Project Information Update Meeting Presentation

Rendering via DDOT via DCist