Monday, August 02, 2010

Two-Mile Missing Link on Anacostia Trails Coming Soon


The undeveloped land between the National Arboretum and Bladensburg Waterfront Park will soon see a spike in the ratio of aluminum and spandex to natural habitat, as cyclists will be gifted a $1.3 million trail system serving as a nexus for bikers coming from Prince George's County into the District of Columbia. Construction on the coupling bike paths began in late June and the official opening is expected by the end of this calendar year, just in time for anxious winter-cycling enthusiasts.

Once finished, the link will add an already operable and underutilized 24 miles of Maryland trails (Anacostia Tributary Trail System) to 16 miles of trails in the District (Anacostia Riverfront Trail). About half of the District's involved trails are already completed, and the other half are currently under construction. For those willing to tolerate the sweat-soaked business attire that accompanies environmental stewardship, the trails will potentially serve as a commuting option for Marylanders coming into the city for work.

The area on which the proposed trail system will be built is in much better shape than it was a decade ago. An $8.5 million wetland rehabilitation effort in 2006 helped beautify the former dump site, but limited access into the area has made it difficult for citizens to recognize the dramatic improvement. The new trail will not only provide new options for commuters, but open the 22 acres of wetlands and wildlife to cycling and hiking eco-tourists looking for exercise and the chance at spotting a bald eagle or oh-so-adorable muskrat.

This much needed link was targeted by Gov. Martin O'Malley as Maryland's highest-priority trail project in his Maryland Trails Plan, made public earlier this spring. Mayor Fenty and his administration remain vocal in their commitment to providing the proper funding and support to ensure completion and maintenance of the link and involved trail-ways on the District's side of the border.

"This is just the first of eight major, missing-link projects proposed by the governor," explains Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) spokeswoman Erin Henson, "that when fully completed will connect over 800 miles of trail-ways. The goal is to encourage people to get out of their cars by offering transportation alternatives to commuters. The projects also intends to provide citizens with opportunities for a healthier, more active lifestyle, while connecting them to the local environment."

Washington D.C. Transportation News

12 comments:

IMGoph on Aug 2, 2010, 12:37:00 PM said...

the map clearly shows that the trail is being built on the east side of the anacostia, not the west side.

it kind of makes your first line about "the undeveloped land" between the arboretum and bladensburg waterfront moot. partially because they're on opposite sides of the river, partially because there's a giant cemetery in between the two, and i don't think that's about to be "developed" anytime soon...

Brooks Butler Hays on Aug 2, 2010, 1:00:00 PM said...

you win again imgoph, but what you don't realize is that i intentionally include minute inaccuracies in each article for your amusement. there are a few out there that you still haven't found, so keep reading.

the map is not entirely accurate, but it's the best i could find. maybe i should have said "largely undeveloped," but my sources and my impeccable mental image of the entire district did not clue me into the existence of a cemetery. the west side is being developed by the district, hints the mentioned half of anacostia trails that are currently under construction. so when all are combined and completed the park and arboretum will be essentially connected

IMGoph on Aug 2, 2010, 1:34:00 PM said...

if you don't want my readership anymore, just let me know.

Brooks Butler Hays on Aug 2, 2010, 1:50:00 PM said...

imgoph, i'm just trying to be playful, don't be offended, i/we of course want your readership

IMGoph on Aug 2, 2010, 1:54:00 PM said...

...and i'm just trying to be snarky. since that's how you always write, i figured you'd pick up on it quickly.

Brooks Butler Hays on Aug 2, 2010, 2:06:00 PM said...

well, i appreciate you recognizing my style. i'm much better at being a smart aleck myself than i am at detecting playful sarcasm from others. from now on i'll take your comments both seriously and with a grain of salt

Anonymous said...

Actually, current plans for the bike trail bypass the Arboretum, but there is some discussion underway to change the plans so that the Arboretum will be linked. Folks who are interested should weigh in with the Park Service and DDOT.

Anonymous said...

haha, I am pretty sure that is the only way to take imgoph's commentary. Though I greatly enjoy it.

IMGoph on Aug 5, 2010, 11:16:00 AM said...

anon: i really try hard to be serious on facts where i need to, and to add levity where i can. it's hard out there... :)

Gavin said...

This is probably the best map of the missing link (big PDF).

Brooks Butler Hays on Aug 5, 2010, 3:49:00 PM said...

thanks gavin, i had glanced at that map but originally thought it was too big and busy to work, but i managed to zoom in on the area of interest and i've added it to the article

Anonymous said...

Bike trails! I wish there was a more sustained effort at building real bike trails across DC. They all seem to run along the outskirts of the city, leaving those of us here in DC with far less in bike trails than our suburban neighbors.

 

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