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
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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!)

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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.

Montgomery County Council votes to delay road projects with bike elements to fund transit, pedestrian and some bike projects

The Montgomery Council Council voted to delay the expansion of the Montrose parkway and to defer adding two lanes to Goshen Road South in Gaithersburg until after 2024 to free up money for transit, pedestrian and bicycle projects. 

The Montrose Parkway project, while mostly a road expansion, would also include a 10' wide bike path along the north side from Parklawn to Viers Mill. Planners believe the trail would get high use. Where the Parkway met with the Rock Creek Park Trail, the new path would connect to the trail and the trail would go over the Parkway on a 107 foot long bridge.

MontroseRCT

Design for the RCT bridge over Montrose Parkway

The Goshen Road widening would include an 8'-wide hiker-biker path on the west side and 5'-wide bike lanes on both sides.

The one-year delay from Leggett’s initial proposed construction schedule will enable the [Parkway] project to be redesigned to incorporate “better pedestrian and bicycle facilities and connections,”

The major change would be to enlarge the width of the shared use path from 10' to 16', consistent with its view that this trail be part of its proposed off-road "breezeway" network of bikeways.

Some of the money freed up ($2.98million) will go to funding the Bicycle and Pedestrian Priority Area Projects. 

The council proposed other projects, but only the one in bold below was in the final agreement. 

  • $2.8 million to accelerate bicycle infrastructure projects in the Wheaton, Veirs Mill, Takoma-Langley and Pine Branch areas
  • $1 million for bike lanes between Nebel Street and the White Flint Metro station
  • $12 million to begin the final design and right-of-way acquisition for a new four-mile hiker and biker path along the east side of Falls Road from River Road to Dunster Road in the Potomac area
  • $12.5 million to construct a 3.5-mile cycling and walking path called the Life Sciences Loop Trail in the Gaithersburg area
  • $9 million to complete a bikeway on MacArthur Boulevard from Oberlin Avenue to DC. The improvements included widening the existing shared-use path to 8', widening the roadway to 26' to allow sufficient width for on-road biking, and providing a 5' -wide buffer between the road and the shared-use path. Project will be delayed for ~4 years.

In addition,

Some proposed investments in bicycle infrastructure were deleted from the plan, especially in areas upcounty and near the Potomac.

As an aside, I noticed that on the Capital Crescent Trails Budget Page they used a photo of the trail from in DC

Finally, this letter has a lot of information on the status of bike projects in Montgomery County. If you're curious about something, it's a great place to start. For example, the CIP includes funding to:

Build an on-street route for the Capital Crescent Trail through the Bethesda CBD and funding for the Bethesda Loop Trail identified in the recently approved Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan. It will consist of protected bike lanes on Woodmont Avenue between Norfolk Avenue and Wisconsin Avenue ($1,860,000), protected bike lanes on Montgomery Avenue between Woodmont Avenue and Pearl Street ($1,004,000), and bike lanes on Norfolk Avenue/Cheltenham Drive between Woodmont Avenue and Pearl Street ($91,000) and on Pearl Street between Cheltenham Drive and Montgomery A venue ($45,000). The Pearl Street bike lanes would be finished in FY20, and the other segments in FY21.

VDOT project widens Washington Boulevard Trail over Route 27, Phase II in Penrose has begun

This isn't really news anymore, but I don't think I've mentioned it. Last December, VDOT wrapped up work on the trail portion of the Washington Boulevard Bridge rehabilitation over Route 27 by the Pentagon.  It replaced a narrow sidewalk with a wider path. 

The path is now 14 feet wide on the bridge and replaces a narrow concrete sidewalk that pedestrians and cyclists used to use. It is 10 feet wide on the approaches to the bridge.

I haven't been by since construction wrapped, but here's what it looked like during construction.

Washblvdconst

And then at the end of December there's an image at ARlNow.

Further down, at Columbia Pike, the trail was widened and improved as well.

Pentagon

Still seems to be no sign their going to fix this remnant driveway that was supposed to have been removed years ago, but never was.

One more update - work on Phase II of the Washington Boulevard Trail, (the section near Penrose, not the above trail next to the Pentagon) began in January and should wrap up this winter).  As of 5 weeks ago:

Excavation is currently underway along the west side shoulder of Washington Boulevard to permit installation of storm drainage, retaining walls and the trail pavement. A temporary shift of the Washington Boulevard southbound lanes is taking place to provide additional work space along the shoulder.

Phase 2 of the Washington Boulevard Trail project will construct a 10’ wide, paved bicycle and pedestrian trail along the west side of Washington Boulevard (VA Route 27).  The new trail section will link with the Phase 1 trail section, which was built between Arlington Boulevard and Walter Reed Drive.  The trail will primarily be located within the highway right-of-way but will also pass through the property of the U.S. Navy Supply Facility and Arlington County’s Towers Park.  Access to the public streets will be provided at Walter Reed Drive, 6th Street, 9th Street and South Rolfe Street.

image from washcycle.typepad.com

New renderings of Georgetown Heating Plant Development show tow path connection

Back in April, developers of the Georgetown Heating Plant - located just across the canal from the C&O tow path and across Rock Creek from the trail - presented their designs to the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB). While HPRB voted for the concept design, it voted against demolition of the existing building. The developers are expected to take their designs to the Mayor's Agent for Historic Preservation in hopes that it will find the project to be one of "special merit" that would justify demolition.

The design currently involves a trail from 29th and K, along Rock Creek and the across the Canal on a new bike/ped bridge to the tow path.

Screenshot 2018-06-01 at 12.14.25 AM

Among the project’s several exciting elements is a new bridge over the C&O Canal. The bridge will serve as an important link, allowing for greater connectivity between the C&O Canal towpath, Rock Creek Park, and the Georgetown Waterfront Park, fulfilling a long-standing goal of the National Park Service.

In addition a grand staircase on one end and a set of metal stairs on the other would connect the trail to the property itself. They have some new renderings available

Screenshot 2018-05-31 at 11.53.24 PM

Rendering from Rock Creek Park, with the trail at the bottom and then ramping up to street level on the right. 

Screenshot 2018-06-01 at 12.04.26 AM

Rendering of the new tow path connection

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