Cyclist on H Street is killed after his tire got caught in the streetcar gap, hit by bus

Saturday night, a cyclist was killed on H Street NE after his bike wheel got caught in the gap between the streetcar rail and the pavement. After it got stuck, he fell into the path of a charter bus.

Malik Habib, 19, of Northeast, fell while cycling in the streetcar lane in the 300 block of H Street NE, police said. A charter bus, which also was eastbound on H Street, struck Habib at about 9:35 p.m.

I wonder how far behind him the bus was and if the bus was also in the streetcar lane.

Some will recall that in 2014, DDOT proposed banning bikes in the streetcar lane (or guideway, as they called it). Their stated reason was not the danger of the tracks, however, but concern about impeding the streetcar and the danger of being a slow vehicle in front of a streetcar. Advocates opposed the ban and DDOT eventually relented. (Safety concerns related to the tracks were often brought up though)

I'm just going to throw this out there - and then duck - maybe, if we really want to commit to Vision Zero, we should accept a ban on biking on the guideway. I'm writing a post on Vision Zero that's not ready yet, but the thesis is that if we REALLY want zero road deaths, then we're going to need to make much bigger sacrifices than we have so far. Maybe this is one of those. After all...

Lopez identified the top five spots in each of Boston’s neighborhoods for cyclist injuries, including the portion of South Huntington Avenue directly across from the Back of the Hill stop of the trolley’s E line. Seven cyclists were injured at this location over a period of four years. Through analysis of the narrative police reports of these crashes, Lopez and her colleagues found that all but one could be attributed to a cyclist getting his or her wheel lodged in the trolley tracks. 

In the meantime, we probably need to promote this video more and look at technical improvements that can make this safer. This is not the first track related crash on H Street after all. [If I were a real media-type, or a lawyer for Habib's family, I might FOIA all of DDOT's internal emails on "flange fillers"]. This is also not the first streetcar related bike fatality but it's the first since the old streetcars were removed.

Regardless of what is done going forward, it's clear that the G and I street improvements and DDOT safety video weren't enough to save Habib. 

Old Town North plan turns rail into park, adds bike lanes and a bikeway

Last year, Alexandria updated the Small Area Plan (SAP) for Old Town North. While there are several parts of the plan that are intended to improve cycling in the area, one of the most exciting is parts is the plan to convert the existing railroad - that the Mt. Vernon trail currently parallels - into a linear park with am improved and extended trail. But the plan also calls for extending the North Royal Street bikeway across a developed power plant site and adding bike lanes.

On the north end, the rail spur would be replaced by a linear park, and the trail currently alongside it would be improved and extended to both the sidepath along Potomac Green Drive and the end of the spur at North Henry Street (dependent upon rail corridor expansion for DC2RVA). The trail along East Abington would also be improved. The Mount Vernon Trail would be moved from the water's edge into an expanded waterfront (from 5 acres to 7-9 acres), where it could be separated into bicycle and pedestrian trails. New trail connections would be created at Slater's Lane and 3rd Street. The trail along the existing spur would also be separated into bicycle and pedestrian trails. 

RoyalNorth

On the south end the rest of the rail spur would also be replaced with a linear park and improved trail. And 2nd street would be extended as a pedestrian (and bicycle?) connection to the trail and the waterfront.

RoyalSouth

Use of the rail corridor was considered for transit.

It was determined that a linear park is more feasible due to extensive land acquisition that would be required for a transitway along the rail corridor. In addition, the rail corridor provides limited access to higher density uses that are compatible with high capacity transit. Utilizing existing local streets and the potential new street network with the former power plant site will provide better transit access to existing and future land uses.

The expansion to the waterfront open space creates the opportunity to widen the current waterfront trail access between the former power plant site and the River, with the potential to separate the bicycle and pedestrian trail for a better connection between the plan area and Daingerfield Island to the north. It could include a bicycle repair station too.

Waterfrontview

Alexandria's Transportation Master Plan includes a bikeway on Royal Street, and facilities on Bashford, Madison Pendleton and Oronoco, and where relevant this plan recommends extending the bicycle facilities into the former power plant site as redevelopment occurs, as well as on Slaters Lane, which would provide an east-west bicycle connection from the former power plant site to the existing bicycle lane on Slaters Lane west of the Parkway.

The plan recommends additional long and short term bicycle parking (required for new development) and 5 bikeshare stations in the plan area. It also recommends parking maximums for each use on the former power plant to encourage pedestrian, bike and transit use and help in achieving the sustainability objectives of the Plan.

Outside the project area, it recommends pursuing the design of a trail extension along the east side of Daingerfield Island as part of a future NPS Daingerfield Island master plan process.

Some of these things could happen soon. Constructing a new trail or cycle track on the east side of E. Abingdon between the existing Mt. Vernon Trail at the rail spur, and Slaters Lane is scheduled for the 2017-2019 time frame. Building an enhanced bicycle corridor on Madison Street between the Braddock Metrorail station and the waterfront is scheduled for 2018 as is the Neighborhood bikeway along N. Royal Street between Jones Point Park and Bashford Lane.

Railspur

DDOT and NPS have plans for crossing the Anacostia at the Arboretum

ARTBRidge

In 2016, DC opened an important part of the Anacostia Trail from Benning Road to the Maryland side of New York Avenue. But that was only phase 1 of that section. Phase 2 will build a trail along the river from the existing trail at Foote Street, SE to the existing trail in Kenilworth Park North, and then across the river to the Arboretum and through it (the white dashed lines in the image below).

image from ggwash.org

Phase 2 is being broken up into at least a couple of pieces and the first of those - the new 390 foot long bridge and the trails from it to Kenilworth Park North and Hickey Hill Road in the Arboretum - has made it to the concept review phase with the NCPC.

The 10 foot wide trail will be built above the flood plane with triangle "nodes" at the bridge crossing and the connection to the main trail. The project is limited just south of the bridge on the east side and short of the paved roads on the Arboretum side. [I certainly hope they don't build this but not include a paved connection to the west side roads.]

  PhaseIIa
 
The western node will be a T-junction that will feature wayfinding, educational space, an amphitheater and lay-by areas.
 
Westnode
 
The east node will feature wayfinding, landscaping and educational signage. 
 
Eastnode
The existing trail node will feature a bicycle repair station, lay-by area, bench, wayfinding, landscaping and educational signage. 
Trailnode
But the key part is the bridge, which promises great views of the river.
 
ViewRiver
From below:
Kayakview
 
And usable space beneath the east abutment.

Kayakview
 
The bridge will also have lights for nighttime boaters. The NCPC presentation is here.
 
In December, NCPC 
  • requested that the National Park Service continue to coordinate with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure the proposed trail connections between Anacostia Park and the National Arboretum are accessible, and that appropriate signage and wayfinding is provided for trail users
  • recommended that further evaluation of the trail intersections to ensure that the proposed lay-bys, benches and other uses will  not conflict with pedestrian and bicyclist circulation, considering the lines-of-site and set-backs necessary to allow for such uses
  • requested further details about how the kayak and canoe launch will be accessed and if there will be impacts to the existing sea wall.

The CFA and NCPC both approved the design in fall of 2017, and preliminary design is expected to be completed in Fall of 2018, but no schedule for work is provided. Last year, DDOT told me that the full completion of Phase 2 was about 6 years away. 

The project was granted $6 million by the Federal Lands Access Program for construction. 

NIST Gaithersburg Campus Master Plan seeks to open access to cyclists

PlanNIST

The National Capital Planning Commission is working on a review of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Campus Master Plan for its 579-acre headquarters campus located in Gaithersburg, MD.

The master plan provides a framework for the future physical development of the campus to ensure that NIST continues to meet its mission of promoting U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology. The plan focuses on research buildings by modernizing existing laboratories and infrastructure to support current and future research, and by adding new research facilities for planned programs.  It also addresses security, roads and campus gates, parking, pedestrian circulation, the landscape, storm water management, the site utilities infrastructure, energy conservation and sustainability.

Though not mentioned above, that also means cycling. NIST would like to make the campus easier to bike to and around. Currently, campus circulation is car oriented and only about 1.1% of employees bike to work, while 83.8% drive. The Master Plan seeks to open access to pedestrians and cyclists by expanding the network of pathways, sidewalks, and trails. Some of the key additions include:

  • A multi-use trail throughout the periphery of campus will be expanded. It would connect the major points of interests outside of the core of campus to each other. Runners, walkers, or cyclists can access this trail at many different points within the core of campus and it will take them to site features such as the ponds, the recreation and sports fields, western forest, and historic stone test wall. The trail will be low maintenance and not paved, except where it uses existing side walks. Several materials are suggested--woodchip path, natural surface, mown path, gravel--depending on the campus location. Some portions of the trail exists today and are frequently used.
  • The installation of more bike parking. Covered bicycle parking near key entrances is recommended to encourage ridership. Simple, manufactured shelters are planned.  New and replacement bicycle racks should be MCDOT-recommended "U-shape" racks rather than the typical grid style racks existing on campus.
  • NIST plans to enhance their Transportation Demand Management policies to further encourage use of public transportation and bicycles, and reduce the use of single occupancy vehicles.
  • Include convenient shower and changing facilities
  • Identify (and fund if necessary) locations for potential Capitol Bikeshare expansion both on campus and at the Visitor Center as the service expands further into Montgomery County past the current limits near Key West Avenue, within two miles of the NIST campus. Provide an on-campus bikeshare service for employees, if Federal policy permits.
  • Require employees that drive to obtain/purchase parking permits to park on campus. These permits should designate a parking lot or area in which the vehicle is allowed to park.
  • Bicycle signage is almost nonexistent within the campus, with cyclists using a combination of sidewalks and roadways to manuever around. It is recommended that shared lane markings (sharrows) be installed on the pavement of North Drive, West Drive, East Drive, South Drive, Center Drive, and Research Drive. By designating these roadways as bicycle routes with appropriate MUTCD-approved signage, drivers will be more aware of cyclists and reduce potential conflicts.
  • Controlled bicycle exits are recommended at Gates D (along Quince Orchard Road) and F (along Muddy Branch Road), extended to Gate E if initial installation is effective. Exits should allow employees to securely enter and exit the campus using their key cards.

CurrentNISTCurrently the campus has some bike facilities nearby, but more is planned. Shared-use paths are present along Clopper Road/
West Diamond Avenue, which provide east-west connectivity between the Metropolitan Grove MARC station and Gate A. At this time, there is no sidewalk on the east side of Quince Orchard Road along the campus. However, Maryland has planned a new shared-use path for this location. A shared-use path to the south of the campus on Muddy Branch Road provides southern connectivity to the Great Seneca Highway, with bicycle access to areas northwest and southeast of the site. 

Two community bicycle/pedestrian trails are proposed, which would provide additional access to and from the NIST campus:

• The Quince Orchard Road shared-use path would be an extension of the existing hiker/biker trail along the east side of Quince Orchard Road that currently terminates approximately one quarter mile south of Gate D to the West Diamond Avenue intersection. This trail would provide much needed pedestrian and bicycle connections and crossings adjacent to the campus on the east side of Quince Orchard Road that could be used by NIST staff to more safely access the campus, particularly at Gate C. Construction is planned for 2018.

• The Muddy Branch Trail is an initiative by the City of Gaithersburg that would provide a hiker/biker trail along the eastern edge of the NIST campus between the campus fence and the Interstate 270 right of way. The trail would provide a connection between West Diamond Avenue and Muddy Branch Road and would require some relocation of NIST fence lines.

NISTTrails

It's nice to see so much attention given to biking in a suburban campus. An opportunity for the public to provide comments just ended, but it is possible that more input opportunities will come. 

Complaining about sidewalk cycling for over 140 years

This is from the Washington Evening Star on August 28, 1875

GTownCyclist

Region comes up short on safe drive laws according to national review

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, "an alliance of consumer, health and safety groups and insurance companies and agents working together to make America's roads safer" released their annual report on highway safety laws. It doesn't mention cycling or walking other than noting that traffic fatalities for both groups is up. Nonetheless, the report does cover some areas - impairment, distracted driving and driving by young people - that are relevant to road safety for all users. 

The report comes out strongly in favor of automated enforcement, underride guards on trucks, speed limiting devices on trucks, lane departure warning devices and automatic emergency braking (AEB). They also advocate mandating that car buyers be allowed to buy additional safety features separate from other options in a package. 

Many of the laws they advocate are focused on keeping drivers and passengers safety, below I've focused on the ones most focused on avoiding crashes, not those on surviving them. 

Teen Driving

There are six laws dealing with teen driving that Advocates is promoting and neither DC, VA or MD have them all. 

Learner’s Stage: Minimum Age 16 for Learner’s Permit - A beginning teen driver is prohibited from obtaining a learner’s permit until the age of 16. States have not been given credit if the law allows for a beginning driver to obtain a learner’s permit before the age of 16.

Learner’s Stage: 50 Hours of Supervised Driving Provision - A beginning teen driver must receive at least 50 hours of behind-the-wheel training, 10 of which must be at night, with an adult licensed driver during the learner’s stage. States have not been given credit if the number of required supervised driving hours is less than 50, does not require 10 hours of night driving, or if there is a reduction in the required number of hours of supervised driving (to less than 50 hours) for drivers who take a driver education course.

Intermediate Stage: Nighttime Driving Restriction Provision - Unsupervised driving should be prohibited from at least 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. States have not been given credit if the nighttime driving restriction does not span the entire 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. minimum time range for all days of the week

Intermediate Stage: Passenger Restriction Provision - This provision limits the number of passengers who may legally ride with a teen driver without adult supervision. The optimal limit is no more than one non-familial passenger younger than age 21.

Age 18 for Unrestricted License - A teen driver is prohibited from obtaining an unrestricted license until the age of 18, and either the nighttime or the passenger restrictions, or both, must last until age 18 and meet the definition for an optimal law. States have not been given credit if teen drivers can obtain an unrestricted license before age 18.

DC doesn't require 50 hours of supervised driving prior to getting a license, doesn't limit young drivers to day time driving and doesn't limit unrestricted licenses to those over 18.

MD doesn't require drivers to be 16 to get a learner's permit, doesn't limit young drivers to day time driving or to a certain number of passengers and doesn't limit unrestricted licenses to those over 18.

VA rates lowest since it doesn't require drivers to be 16 to get a learner's permit, doesn't require 50 hours of supervised driving prior to getting a license, doesn't limit young drivers to day time driving or to a certain number of passengers and doesn't limit unrestricted licenses to those over 18.

Impairment

There are three laws dealing with impairment that Advocates is promoting and only VA fails to get all three as they don't have an open container law.

Open Container Law - This law prohibits open containers of alcohol in the passenger area of a motor vehicle. To comply with federal requirements, the law must: prohibit both possession of any open alcoholic beverage container and the consumption of alcohol from an open container; apply to the entire passenger area of any motor vehicle; apply to all vehicle occupants except for passengers of buses, taxi cabs, limousines or persons in the living quarters of motor homes; apply to vehicles on the shoulder of public highways; and, require primary enforcement of the law. State laws are counted in this report only if they are in compliance with the federal law and regulation.

Distracted Driving

There are two laws dealing with distracted driving that Advocates is promoting and only MD has them both. Both DC and VA lack a law restricting phone use by new drivers. 

Graduated Driver's License Cell Phone Restriction - This restriction prohibits all use of cellular devices (hand-held, hands-free and text messaging) by beginning teen drivers, except in an emergency. States are only given credit if the provision lasts for the entire duration of the GDL program (both learner’s and intermediate stages).

Overall DC is rated green, MD is yellow and VA is red. 

 

Alexandria has a plan to improve the King-Callahan-Russell intersection

Alexandria is planning to revise the intersection of King Street, Callahan Drive, and Russell Road - located at the foot of the George Washington Masonic Temple with the goal of making the intersection safer, improving pedestrian movements, providing space for cyclists and preventing rush hour back ups. This is being paid for with a grant from the Federal Transit Authority (FTA) to make pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements to improve access to transit. 

After a two-year break, the latest concept plan was released late last month. It shows a pair of bike lane on King Street on the west side of the intersection; a 5' wide concrete bicycle path on the south side of the street to the east side of the intersection along with sharrows EB on Kin, for those who'd rather stay in the road.

I have tried as best I can to highlight these:

Intersection2

I'm assuming the path would connect to the bike lanes at W. Rosemont, but it looks like the west side bike lanes end where King narrows as it passes under the railroad tracks. 

There's also a new pedestrian crossing of King, better crosswalks everywhere, traffic island removal, and new and moved traffic signals. 

Bike lane construction underway in DC with more to come

Screenshot 2018-06-12 at 11.41.13 PM

As many readers may have noticed in their rides or on social media, the District is chipping away at its list of bike lane projects. Here is a partial list of what they're planning or doing this year. 

They've already installed new bike lanes on 17th St SE/NE and L'Enfant Promenade/Banneker Circle and are working on new segments of protected bike lanes (PBLs) in Georgetown and near Catholic University. Some other notable facilities that could be built this year (or maybe are already underway) include

  • A neighborhood bikeway on 8th NW between Butternut and Eastern;
  • bike lanes on Alabama from 15th to Bruce Pl. SE;
  • PBLs on K between 1st and 7th NW;
  • PBLs on 17th between Mass and NH Ave NW; 
  • a climbing lane on Cathedral from Connecticut to Shoreham, NW; 
  • bike lanes on Wheeler from Alabama to Southern, SE

But there are other smaller projects and intersection improvements on the "maybe" list too, especially on 15th NW.

****They plan to start a study of PBLs on Pennsylvania Ave SE in Capitol Hill and a Great Streets assessment of that street from the Sousa Bridge to 27th Street which has a goal of providing bicycle lanes. The Capitol Hill Section was even included in a list of 6 separated bike lanes that DDOT asked to add to the region's Visualize 2045 Long Range Plan. 

The following projects will remove one or more traffic lanes to allow for separated bicycle lanes.

  • Pennsylvania Ave. SE from 2nd St./Independence Ave. to Barney Circle (1.3 miles)
  • 17th St. NW from New Hampshire Ave. to K St. (<1 mile)- more on this below
  • K St. from 7th St. NW to 1st St. NE (<1 mile)
  • K St. from 1st St. NE to Florida Ave. NE (<1 mile)
  • Irving St. from Warder St. NW to Michigan Ave. NE (1 mile) - more on this below
  • New York Ave. NE from Florida Ave. to Bladensburg Rd. (2.3 miles)  (not shown on the map below)

Screenshot 2018-06-14 at 12.41.09 AM

[Unfortunately,  DDOT has also requested that three segments of the planned streetcar network be removed from the Constrained Element: the Anacostia Initial Line, Anacostia Extension and the M St. SE/SW line. Not sure how this will impact the proposed bike trail along the Anacostia line]

****Soccer Stadium Protected Bike Lanes (seen above) DC Department of General Services (DGS) is building two-way protected bicycle lanes, designed by DDOT, on 2nd St SW between R and T Streets, on Potomac Ave between S Cap and 1 st Streets, and on R St between 1st and 2nd Streets. DDOT is awaiting approval from ANC 6D06 for the PBL from P to R which requires the elimination of parking between P and Q Streets.

****A sidewalk level PBL is under construction on Virginia Ave SE between 2nd and 9th Streets as part of the CSX tunnel reconstruction project. It is scheduled for completion in late 2018.

****DDOT met with the Dupont Circle ANC 2B Transportation & Public Infrastructure Committee in mid-may to discuss the 17th Street NW PBLs. Those would run from New Hampshire to Massachusetts, but as noted above, DDOT asked to extend those as far south as K in the 2045 plan. At that meeting several merchants on 17th complained that the PBL would make deliveries difficult, "invite unsafe pedestrian and bike traffic and jeopardize their businesses." (That is not true).  A former ANC Commissioner argued that it would make it hard to walk there. (That is also untrue). Some suggested that widening the 15th Street PBL could suffice. That's a good idea, but it's not a substitute for a PBL on 17th. It's as crazy as suggesting a loading zone on 15th for businesses on 17th. I'm no expert, but Duke's has an alley right behind it, why can't that work for deliveries? Anyway the resolution from the ANC was tabled.

****DDOT recently completed the 30% design of the Eastern Downtown cycletracks on 6th and 9th NW and plan to present them at a public meeting in July.

****This week there was a packed open house on the Crosstown Protected Bike Lanes. This project is several years away from completion, but if completed it will greatly improve east-west travel on the north side. DDOT is developing preliminary (30%) designs for protected bike lanes along

  • Irving Street NE/NW between Michigan Avenue NE and the 400 block of Kenyon Street NW; and then on Kenyon to Warder Street

  • 5th Street NW/Park Place NW between Grant Circle and Kenyon Street NW; and

  • 7th Street NW/Warder Street NW between New Hampshire Avenue NW and Kenyon Street NW.

  • (Later, and not part of this project, DDOT wants to extend the PBL on Kenyon as far west as 14th Street)

The boards aren't up yet, The boards are here and you can see some tweets of some of them here, here and here. Options at Irving and Michigan include a shared-use path on the south side of Michigan, a two-way cycletrack on the north side of Michigan or a shared use path on the north side of Michigan. There are also multiple options for transitioning to and from Kenyon Street; getting from Kenyon to Rock Creek Church Road; and how to transition from a two way bike lane to existing bike lanes on Park. 

****The Water Street NW PBL in Georgetown mentioned above ends at 30th, but some day could cross Rock Creek on a new bridge that might look like this (funding exists for concept design and EA):

FutureBridgeRCP

****DDOT held a public meeting on the Western downtown cycletrack (20th, 21st and 22nd Streets NW) on May 23rd. At that meeting they noted that there are more than a dozen possible options for what that might look like, but that they are doing the legwork needed to trim that down to 3 possibilities that they will get to the 10% design phase by this summer and one of those will go to 30% design in the winter. A final report will be completed in Spring 2019. Final Design will be completed in 2020-2021 with construction starting the next year.  You can see the existing conditions, and possible configurations, here

****DDOT held a meeting on the Connecticut Avenue Streetscape and Deck-Over Project in late April. Protected bike lanes and sharrows are being considered in some options. [But there are no plans to run bike lanes through the old trolley tunnels :( ] Construction would not start until 2021. 

Conn1
Conn1

Tunnelview

 

  

From the archives: WaPo's 1983 bicycles are most "lawlessly operated" vehicles in DC

There are more than a few sentences in this 1983 article on the reckless disregard of cyclists and the way the poor law-abiding motorists must sit in their cars, clutching their pearls and saying "oh my" as they watch them ride that one could see in an article today. But really quite a bit has changed. A lot of these claims (like that "cyclists are close to out of control") might show up in a letter to the editor, or even an opinion pieces, but not in a feature. The police, I hope, would not say that cyclists must obey the same laws motorists do or that "the tragic fact is that most don't". 

We also don't hear much about messengers anymore. I'm not sure that there even are any. There is, despite it being 1983, still a mention of not wearing a helmet. The DC transportation bike staff was just one person - Michael Jackson who later went on to work for Maryland - down from two in 1980.

Also it sounds much worse back then. One bike commuter was hospitalized 7 times in 15 years and regularly had half and full beer cans and cigarette butts thrown at him. (Ah it was a different time when everyone smoked and it was still legal to drive around while drinking a beer. That's true young people, that was legal and socially acceptable!)

Wapo1
Wapo1
Wapo1

Parks and Open Space Plan calls for creation of regional trail system

Though the comment period has come and gone, the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) is working on a new version of the policies for the Parks & Open Space Element Update of the Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital, one that is strongly influenced by the recent NPS Paved Trails Study. 

Since the federal government’s goal is to protect and enhance the National Capital Region’s parks and open space system while providing recreational, ecological, social, and educational benefits for visitors, residents, workers, and future generations, it would make sense that this plan would have some impact on cycling and trails. And so it does. One of the key guiding principals is that the government should "Provide Access to and Connections between Parks and Open Space" and trails are one of the main ways they plan to do that. 

Improving access and enhancing connections includes improving physical and visual connectivity and filling the gaps in the existing system. It also requires a shift from thinking of parks and open space as isolated spaces to planning how the park network functions as a whole and rethinking how streets, sidewalks, trails, and plazas, complement and connect parks and open space and facilitate movement within the network.

Furthermore, trails, parkways and greenways are specifically mentioned as they types of facilities they want to connect.

Similar to parkways, trails create an integrated, inter-jurisdictional network for recreation, multimodal transportation, and education. Trails often follow scenic routes, linking destinations including significant cultural properties and natural resource areas. However, these areas can sometimes be vulnerable to ecological or development changes, and trail development in or near sensitive areas and habitats must be planned with thorough research and careful design.

And trails can help connect people to and along the Waterfront

For example, the recently completed Kenilworth Segment of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail connects Anacostia Park in Washington, DC with Bladensburg Waterfront Park in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The recently completed threemile connection made it possible to link Washington, Maryland and Virginia through a 16-mile long trail. This segment of trail provides a pleasant, accessible, and safe route for cyclists who commute between Prince George’s County and Washington, and offers convenient access to the river and its natural resources.

Several policies identified in the plan call for trails to be used to create connectivity

POS.C.1 Plan and maintain connections between parks and open space through streets, sidewalks, plazas, and trails to create a unified and accessible park system for the national capital region.

POS.C.2 Improve public access to parks and open space, including removing barriers that limit physical or visual connectivity.

POS.C.3 Create access points to the region’s park system from adjacent communities where impacts on natural and cultural resources will be minimal

POS.C.4 Link open space along the Potomac and Anacostia shorelines to provide a continuous public open space system.

POS.C.5 Promote access to waterfront parks by encouraging improved pedestrian and other multimodal connections, and wayfinding signage from adjacent communities.

POS.C.6 Promote public access along the region’s shorelines, including on federal properties when security considerations will permit.

POS.C.7 Develop, improve, and maintain a regional trail system that serves recreational and commuter needs by closing gaps and connecting parks and open space, natural areas, and destinations. Ensure that regional trails connect with the national trail network.

POS.C.8 Consider opportunities to develop trails or connect trail systems when planning anddesigning projects throughout the region. Ensure that new development do notpreclude future improvements to trail connections.

POS.C.9 Improve access to the Civil War Defenses of Washington historic fort sites by linking them to surrounding communities using the existing street rights-of-way, sidewalks, and trails where possible.

POS.C.10 Provide public access to open space on or adjacent to federal properties as mission and security considerations permit, while minimizing impacts on natural and cultural resources. Where security is an issue, encourage limited access through coordinated programs and events.

Furthermore, trail maintenance should be an opportunity to engage with and educated the public

POS.B.21 - Consider opportunities to educate and engage communities in the cleanup, planting, removal of invasive species, and maintenance of the region’s rivers, trails, parks, and open space.

But since another principle is that they should balance interests, it means trails have to build in low impact ways, especially in the sensitive Capper-Cramton Parks

Capper

POS.D.4 Ensure that proposed improvements and maintenance projects along trails and parkways minimize impacts to viewsheds and are sensitive to their natural and historic qualities that make them significant.

POS.D.5 Minimize impacts from development adjacent to parks and open space, including trails and parkways, to protect their natural and historic features.

The plan also calls for collaboration between agencies and jurisdictions

As an example, portions of the trail system cross multiple jurisdictions, and there may be opportunities to collaborate on maintenance or improvement projects with other stakeholders to ensure that trails continue to serve both recreational and transportation functions. The federal government can provide leadership and assist in linking new and existing trail networks with parkland or trails on federal properties to create an integrated parks and open space network serving the residents of and visitors to the region.

POS.F.2 Develop partnerships and build coalitions among local agencies, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, foundations, and other stakeholders to create, manage, maintain, and connect a cohesive open space system.

If you missed the last comment period, you'll get another chance. NCPC staff will revise the Parks & Open Space Element based on public comments and stakeholder feedback recieved through May 7, 2018. At a Commission meeting in the winter, staff will present the revised element for the Commission's approval and adoption. The public will have the opportunity to comment on the revised element in the weeks leading up to this Commission meeting.

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