The longest bike/ped tunnels in the country


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One of the cooler things you can do on a bike is ride through an abandoned and converted railroad tunnel, and in DC we're pretty lucky when it comes to that. We have a few good ones in the immediate area, like the Dalecarlia and the Air Rights tunnels on the Capital Crescent Trail and the Wilkes Street Tunnel in Alexandria and some of the country's longest ones within driving distance.  In fact two of the 10 longest ones in the world (more on that in a minute) are not far away in Pennsylvania. They're old turnpike tunnels that started out as railroad tunnels even though trains never went through them. In addition the longest bike/ped tunnel in Virginia is in the DC area, but it's not a railroad tunnel. 

Most of the longer tunnels for walking and biking are old railroad tunnels, but there are lots of shorter tunnels - we might think of them more as underpasses - that are used to help create a grade separated path for cyclists and pedestrians to get underneath roads or railroads. I've spent a significant amount of time making as complete a list of bike/ped tunnels (excluding those that can also be driven through - sorry Zoo tunnel) as I could, and I think its perhaps the most complete list anywhere. It is not, however, complete. There are likely hundreds of short underpasses that I didn't include, simply because the task of finding them is overwhelming. But I got all the tunnels I could find. Rails to Trails has a report on many of these tunnels, which while incomplete and hampered by errors, was the best existing list and was immensely useful. 

There are some issues with my list. First is in deciding what is and isn't a tunnel you can bike through. The Slavošovský tunel in Slovakia is the 3rd longest in the wold. You can definitely ride a bike through it - because I've seen video of people doing that, but on one end you have to carry your bike out of a 20-30 feet deep hole to keep going. Not exactly a commuter route. Another problem is with getting accurate measurements of the lengths. In some cases I could find reliable measurements (from an engineering survey for example) but in others it's just a reported number (sometimes one of many and usually at a nice round number like 200 feet). So if you're hoping for final rulings on the relative position of tunnels of similar length, you're probably out of luck. Third is that I likely missed some tunnels, especially overseas. Known unknowns. 

Having said all that, below is a list of the 10 longest bike/ped tunnels in the United States (for the international list, go here). 

  1. Snoqualmie MR#50 (11894 ft)    King and Kittitas Counties, WA  John Wayne Pioneer Trail
  2. St. Paul Pass MR#20 (8976 ft)   Montana and Idaho                    Route of the Hiawatha   
  3. Sideling Hill (6782 ft)                  Breezewood, PA                         Pike to Bike Trail
  4. Norwalk (3810 ft)                        Sparta, WI                                  Elroy Sparta State Trail
  5. Rays Hill  (3532 ft)                     Bedford & Fulton Counties, PA   Pike to Bike Trail
  6. Kennerdale (3350 ft)                  Kennerdale, PA                           Allegheny River Trail
  7. Big Savage  ( 3295 ft)                Somerset County, PA                  Great Allegheny Passage
  8. Paw Paw (3118 ft)                     Old Town, MD                              C&O Canal 
  9. Rockland (2868 ft)                      Rockland, PA                              Allegheny River Trail
  10. Burro Schmidt (2640 ft)             Kern County, CA                          Burro Schmidt Tunnel Trail 

Of these, 9 started as railroad tunnels and one as a canal tunnel. Two of the railroad tunnels were converted to highway tunnels making them rails-to-highway-to-trails.  The Burro Schmidt tunnel is a pedestrian-only tunnel.  So 6 out of 10 of these are in the mid-Atlantic area.

But what about the longest tunnels in the closest 5 states to DC (MD, VA, PA, WV and DE)? Well, neither DC nor Delaware have any bike/ped tunnels (yet) - in fact I don't think there's a single tunnel in Delaware at all.  In addition to the 6 above, the next four are all in West Virginia, with three of them being on the same trail:

7. Central Station Tunnel (NBRT #6) (2297 ft)  Central Station, WV    North Bend Rail Trail
8. Eaton Tunnel (NBRT #21) (1840 ft)               Eaton, WV                  North Bend Rail Trail
9. Knobley Tunnel (1448 ft)                               Carpendale, WV         Carpendale Trail
10. Silver Run Tunnel (NBRT #19) (1376 ft)     Ritchie County, WV     North Bend Rail Trail

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Finally, here's the list of the longest tunnel by state. Note that, like Delaware, not every state has a bike/ped tunnel. The number refers to it's rank among all bike/ped tunnels. Also, even though the St. Paul Pass Tunnel crosses from Montana to Idaho, I counted it as neither's longest.

31 Moss Creek Tunnel MR#22 (1516 ft)    Roland, ID                        Route of the Hiawatha

32 Cartwrigth Tunnel (1458 ft)                   McKenzie County, ND      FB&CT Trail

34 Chetoogeta mountain tunnel (1447 ft)  Tunnel Hill, GA                 Chetoogeta mountain tunnel trail

40 CNTP Tunnel #9 (1290 ft)                     Alpine, KY                        Cathy Crockett Trail

45 Tunnel On Lakewood Drive (1200 ft)    Swain County, NC            Lakeshore Tunnel Trail

47 Little Tunnel (1193 ft)                             Cumberland Gap, TN      Little Tunnel Trail

89 Clarity Tunnel (630 ft)                            Caprock Canyons, TX     Caprock Canyon Trailway

92 Seaboard Airline Tunnel  (600 ft)           Columbia, SC

101 The Tunnel at Tunnel Hill (543 ft)         Tunnel Hill, IL                   Tunnel Hill Drive

102 Pentagon Tunnel (536 ft)                      Arlington, VA

105 National Road Tunnel (522 ft)               St. Clairsville, OH           National Road Bikeway

116 Dominion Tunnel MR#19 (474 ft)          Saltese, MT                     Route of the Olympian

124 Tunnel Through Ely's Peak (450 ft)      St. Louis County, MN       DWP Trail

126 Oswego Tunnel (429 ft)                        Oswego, NY                     Harbor Rail Trail

137 HRT Tunnel #3 (383 ft)                         Boulder City, NV               Historic Railroad Trail

141 Tunnel Drive #3 (376 ft)                        Canon, CO                       Tunnel Drive Trail

142 Mosier Twin Tunnels (369 ft)                Mosier, OR                        Columbia River Highway Trail

165 Tunnel A (270 ft)                                   Fall Draw, SD                    George S. Mickelson Trail

174 Rocheport Tunnel (243 ft)                     Rocheport, MO                 Katy Trail 

176 Shepaug Tunnel (235 ft)                       Roxbury, CT                      Steep Rock  Trail

196 Fred Meijer Standale Trail Tunnel (155ft)  Walker, MI                     Fred Meijer Standale Trail

222 Saddle Rock Tunnel (76 feet)               Scotts Bluff National Monument, NE     Saddle Rock Trail

225 Phipps Tunnel (70 feet)                        Holliston, MA                      Upper Charles Rail Trail 

Most of these are old railroad tunnels, but a few are not. The tunnel on Lakewood Drive in North Carolina is an old road tunnel as is the Mosier Twin Tunnels in Oregon. The Pentagon tunnel was, of course, built specifically for pedestrian traffic as was the Fred Meijer Standale Trail Tunnel in Michigan. Finally, the Saddle Rock Tunnel, which is on a hiking trail, was a test tunnel for a road. Also of note, the Shepaug and Chetoogeta mountain tunnel are pedestrian only, with the latter being part of a museum. You have to pay to walk through it and then all you can do is hike to the end and then hike back. 

By the way, the Pentagon Tunnel is the 2nd longest specially built bike/pedestrian tunnel in the world, behind only the 1330 foot Mount Baker Ridge Tunnel in Seattle, Washington. 

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Finally, here's the information for the tunnels in the immediate area. Again the first number is their rank in the world. 

68 Air Rights Tunnel (800 feet)                               Bethesda, MD         Georgetown Branch Trail 

102 Pentagon Tunnel (536 feet)                              Arlington, VA 

143 Wilkes Street Tunnel (360 feet)                        Alexandria, VA 

149 Dalecarlia Tunnel (340 feet)                             Brookmont, MD      Capital Crescent Trail 

155 Holmes run Trail Tunnel (300 feet)                   Alexandria, VA        Holmes Run Trail 

172 Telegraph Road Tunnel (250 feet)                    Alexandria, VA 

185 193 Tunnel (201 feet)                                       Glenn Dale, MD      WB&A Trail

192 Duke Street Tunnel (163 feet)                           Alexandria, VA

204 Crystal City Connector Tunnel (117 feet)           Arlington, VA          Mount Vernon Trail

207 Race Track Road Tunnel (108 feet)                  Bowie, MD              WB&A Trail 

228 Old Waugh Chappel Road Tunnel (65 feet)      Odenton, MD          WB&A Trail

TransAction Plan includes and defines bike and pedestrian projects for Northern Virginia

NVTA trail

The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority adopted a TransAction Plan Update in October and it includes more than two dozen projects meant to make bicycling easier and better. 

Adoption of the new TransAction plan marks the first time the NVTA has updated it since passage of HB (House Bill) 2313 in 2013, which “established a dedicated, sustainable funding stream for transportation in Northern Virginia and allows the Authority to begin fulfilling its mission to address regional transportation challenges.”

Here's a list of the included bike projects

  • Construct protected bike lanes on both sides of Route 7 between Alexandria and Seven Corners. Connect with City of Falls Church's bicycle network. Construct trail along Route 7 from Leesburg to Alexandria.
  • Introduce and expand bikesharing services in Herndon in coordination with County regional system
  • Install up to 24 bikesharing stations along Route 29, Route 7, Sycamore Street, Roosevelt Street, and W&OD Trail in the City of Falls Church.
  • Construct multimodal improvements, including new or restructured bus bays, at the current East Falls Church Metrorail Station. These include bicycle and pedestrian connections, improve access and signalization on North Sycamore Street and Washington Boulevard, and bikesharing stations.
  • Provide dedicated bicycle facilities, bikesharing and key sidewalk improvements on north-south corridors in Arlington to connect major east-west corridors with each other. Example corridors includes Carlin Springs Road, Walter Reed Drive/Fillmore Street, Harrison Street, Washington Boulevard, Route 110, and others. Network also includes:
    a. Trail parallel to Washington Boulevard between Arlington Boulevard and Columbia Pike;
    b. Rehab of Custis Trail to current VDOT shared used path design and construction specifications in Rosslyn;
    c. Extension of Custis Trail north of I-66 between North Kennebec Street and North Quantico Street;
    d. Long Bridge Park Esplanade extension to Mount Vernon Trail;
    e. Arlington Boulevard trail;
    f. Theodore Roosevelt Bridge connection to Mount Vernon Trail and Marine Corps War Memorial;
    g. Dedicated cycling facility along the Route 50 service road (southside), between North Rhodes Street and North Meade Street;
    h. Expansion of Arlington bicycle commuter routes: Bluemont Junction Trail, Custis Trail, Four Mile Run Trail, Mount Vernon Trail, W&OD Trail;
    i. Improve connections between the County trail network and activity centers, as well as interjurisdictional connections.
  • Alexandria Bike and Pedestrian Trails Construction and Reconstruction;
    a. Reconstruct Holmes Run Trail from North Ripley Street to I-395;
    b. Construct trails along local streets in the Beauregard Street and Van Dorn Street corridor. This facility will provide a north-south connection to the City's Holmes Run Trail, running eastwest, and connecting bicycle users to Mark Center corridor;
    c. Construct pedestrian and bicycle bridge over Holmes Run at Morgan Street;
    d. Implement and construct projects in the City's Pedestrian/Bicycle Plan; and
    e. Construct bicycle improvements along Royal Street between Jones Point and Bashford Street, including signage and traffic calming.
  • Improve bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in and around the Columbia Pike corridor, including bikeways, bikesharing, and key sidewalk improvements, to convert SOV trips to, within, and between activity center areas from car to bicycle/pedestrian. Includes parallel bike routes along 9th Street, 11th Street, and 12th Street in the vicinity of Columbia Pike
  • Develop a system of coordinated mobility hubs along major corridors to fully integrate transit, bikesharing, carsharing, ridesharing, pedestrians, bicycling, ride hailing, and other shared use services.
  • Improve bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in and around the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor, including bikeways, bikesharing, and key sidewalk improvements, to convert SOV trips to, within, and between Metrorail station areas from car to bicycle/pedestrian, and to enable access to/from Metrorail stations to high-density housing and job centers. Includes a designated bicycle lane along North Lynn Street and along Fort Myer Drive between Lee Highway at Rosslyn Circle and Fairfax Drive south of Arlington Boulevard
  • Improve bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in and around Arlington's Blue/Yellow Metrorail corridor, including bikeways, bikesharing, and key sidewalk improvements, to convert SOV trips to, within, and between Metrorail station areas from car to bicycle/pedestrian, and to enable access to/from Metrorail stations to high-density housing and job centers.
  • Enhance regional bike routes (W&OD), including separate trails for walking and bicycling, updated crossings to increase safety, and lighting to keep trail open all year in the Falls Church area.
  • Improve on- and off-road bicycle and pedestrian facilities, routes, and infrastructure along and adjacent to City of Fairfax corridors to provide better access to Metrorail and regional trails. Expand bikesharing, bike storage, and signage. Includes the extension of the George Snyder Trail.
  • Implement bike rental stations in Town of Vienna in coordination with wider County and regional system. Extend Davis Drive (Route 868) from Glenn Drive (Route 864) to Fairfax County line at the future bridge over Dulles Toll Road (Route 267). Realign Rock Hill Road with Davis Drive. Construct a four-lane roadway over the Dulles Toll Road from Sunrise Valley Drive on the south side to Davis Drive extension in Loudoun County on the north side. The project would include pedestrian and bicycle facilities
  • Construct a four-mile segment of the high-capacity transitway on Duke Street within City of Alexandria. Reconstruct Duke Street from Wheeler Avenue to Jordan Street with a center left-turn lane. Construct bicycle and pedestrian improvements along corridor
  • Implement BRT service between the Pentagon and Kingstowne via Mark Center and Van Dorn Metrorail Station. Includes construction of a four-mile segment of dedicated bus lanes between Van Dorn Metrorail Station and King Street. The project also provides pedestrian and bicycle facilities within the corridor.
  • Widen Arlington Boulevard (Route 50) to six lanes between the City of Fairfax and Arlington County. The project would include intersection improvements, including signalization improvements, and pedestrian and bicycle facilities.
  • Multimodal improvements in Falls Church revitalization areas: West Broad Street, Washington Street Corridor, and East End. Improvements will include improved intersection geometry and signalization, improved pedestrian connectivity and accessibility, improved transit stops, and improved bicycle access
  • Implement multimodal improvements and improve local connections along Fairfax Boulevard. Enhance transit, pedestrian/bicycle, and roadway facilities and infrastructure
  • Implement multimodal improvements and improve local connections along Jermantown Road. Enhance transit, pedestrian/bicycle, and roadway facilities and infrastructure.
  • Implement multimodal improvements along Old Lee Highway. Enhance transit, pedestrian/bicycle, and roadway facilities and infrastructure.
  • Improved connections and circulation for all modes near the Northfax intersection. Improvements to and along Fairfax Boulevard in the vicinity of the Northfax intersection including pedestrian/bicycle safety,
  • Intersection improvements at Fairfax Circle to improve vehicular and pedestrian/bicycle mobility and safety
  • Traffic improvements for the intersection of Mount Vernon Avenue and Glebe Road, including signalization, accommodation for pedestrians, and turn lane channelization. Construct improvements at Mount Vernon Avenue and Four Mile Road intersection, including pedestrian/bicycle improvements. Construct pedestrian/bicycle bridge over Four Mile Run between Commonwealth Avenue and Eads Street. Construct Mount Vernon Avenue and Russell Road intersection safety improvements to accommodate pedestrian and bicyclists, which may entail intersection and parking configuration redesign. Construct a pedestrian/bicycle link from the Potomac Yard Trail to connect to the Four Mile Run Trail on the south side of Four Mile Run, and to the Mount Vernon Trail. Construct Oakville Triangle improvement projects
  • Expand multimodal transportation capacity and safety in the Lee Highway corridor, providing viable options to move more people without increasing the volume of single-occupant vehicles. Includes addition of bicycle facilities along Route 29 corridor
  • Transit and pedestrian/bicycle connections along Sycamore Street and Roosevelt Street with a bridge overpass connecting to planned redevelopment in Seven Corners.
  • Construct a shared used path on both sides of Route 28 from Prince William County line to Dulles Toll Road.
  • Construct a trail along Route 29 from Dixie Hill Road to East Falls Church Metrorail Station.
  • Construct sidewalks, crosswalks, shared-use trails, and intersection improvements to improve pedestrian access to Silver Line Metrorail stations (Ashburn and Loudoun Gateway) in Loudoun County

FRA and DDOT to present remaining alternatives for the new Long Bridge tomorrow

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) are hosting a public meeting on the Long Bridge Project's EIS. At this one they will seek public review and comment on the alternatives to make it out of the latest screening as part of the Draft EIS. The final EIS is to be completed next year.


FRA and DDOT are making plans to replace the Long Bridge, which ideally would be done in conjunction with a bike facility connecting Long Bridge Park, the Mt Vernon Trail, the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail and downtown SW DC, but that isn't exactly part of the plan. As noted in the recently completed purpose and needs statement:

Although not part of the Proposed Action’s Purpose and Need, the Long Bridge Project will explore the potential opportunity to accommodate connections that follow the trajectory of the Long Bridge Corridor to the pedestrian and bicycle network. The feasibility of this opportunity will be assessed as the Project progresses, and will consider whether a path can be designed to be consistent with railroad operator plans and pursuant to railroad safety practices. Future efforts to accommodate connections to the pedestrian and bicycle network may be advanced as part of the Project, or as part of a separate project(s) sponsored by independent entities.

As WABA noted after the draft of this came out

The Long Bridge may be the only blank canvas for a Potomac crossing that the region considers for the next fifty years in this location.

With the scale of the opportunity in mind, we believe that the draft Purpose and Need for the Long Bridge Study is too narrowly focussed on the needs of freight and passenger rail. Indeed, expanding rail capacity, reliability and redundancy are essential to meet the growing demands of a 22nd century rail system. Yet, the regional trail network faces similar challenges to realize long term connectivity plans. Alongside rail improvements, expanding the capacity, redundancy, and regional connectivity of the trail network should be a core element of the study’s purpose and need statement and selection criteria. A Long Bridge replacement without a high-quality trail is a wasted, once-in-a-century, opportunity.

Of the eight Potomac River bridges that connect Virginia into downtown DC,...not one fully satisfies today’s trail standards for width, sight distances or protection from traffic.

The good news is that of the 6 concepts to make it through the Level 1 public screening process (excluding the No Build), three include the Bike/ped path. The meeting tomorrow should present the results of the level 2 screening and we'll see what is still being considered. Concepts that make it through Level 2 Concept Screening will be refined and developed as alternatives for evaluation in the EIS.

Evaluation will use a more detailed set of quantitative and qualitative criteria to assess which concepts best meet Purpose and Need.

Level 2 evaluation will also look at:

– Constructability
– Railroad operations efficiency and effectiveness
– Cost (order of magnitude)
– Preliminary environmental effects considerations
– Safety

It would be pretty amazing if a bike facility were included through the length of the corridor shown in the image above, with numerous connections to the relevant facilities along the way (Ohio Drive, Maine Ave, L'Enfant VRE, Federal Center Metro, 12th, 7th, 3rd, etc..). Maybe it could later be connected to the Virginia Avenue sidepath that will be built as part of the close out of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project in 2018

WHEN: Thursday, December 14, 2017

  • Open House format from 4PM to 7PM
  • Formal presentations at 4:30PM and 6:00PM (same presentation at both times)

WHERE: DCRA Building, Room E200, 1100 4th St. SW, Washington, DC 20024.

Room E200 is located on the second floor of the DCRA building adjacent to the elevators. Bring an ID to show at the entrance in order to access the building.

There's no permanent bike coordinators in DC, Arlington or Alexandria right now

Over the last few months, several DC area bike coordinators positions have become empty.  This is the result of a coincidence, not a conspiracy, but the local governments have been a slow to fill position in some places.

Just a quick rundown:

In DC, Jim Sebastian, former DDOT bicycle coordinator and later the bicycle and pedestrian coordinator hasn't so much left as moved up. He's now the Associate Director for the Planning and Sustainability Division (PSD). I saw the listing for this job earlier this year, but I don't know what happened to it. 

In Virginia, former Arlington County Bicycle & Pedestrian Programs Manager David Goodman moved on to the Fairfax County Office of Revitalization & Redevelopment. He'd held the position since 2008, but left in July. I heard that the County is resisting posting the job, and instead might shift existing people around. This would mean there wouldn't be someone focusing specifically on bicycle and pedestrian transportation. The item was on the Arlington BACs December agenda

Alexandria posted their pedestrian and Bicycle program manager job over the fall as well, so it seems like they're serious about filling it. 


Alexandria Safe and Complete Streets Discussions at Tonight's BPAC meeting

The Alexandria BPAC will be hosting a discussion of Alexandria Safe and Complete Streets from 7 to 9 PM at the Durant Recreation Center, 1605 Cameron Street, Alexandria. At it,

  • Alexandria’s Traffic Safety Officers will provide discuss crash reporting issues, policies concerning vehicles on trails and a summary of recent crashes involving people walking or biking
  • Alexandria’s Complete Street planner, Amanda Mansfield, will provide an overview of Mount Vernon Avenue Complete Streets planning and address other Complete Street initiatives.

They're also hosting a BPAC and Friends Pot-Luck Holiday Party, December 19th, Tuesday, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, 708 Miller Lane, Alexandria, VA 22314

Speaking of Alexandria and Complete Streets, the Lee Highway Alliance's Complete Streets webpage needs something. I mean literally, it needs something. Anything. 

2017 Maryland Bike and Ped funding includes WB&A bridge and National Harbor bikeshare

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According to a recent press release:

The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) announced $20,395,834 in grants to support improvements for bicycle and pedestrian safety and connectivity across the state.

The money comes from federal Transportation Alternatives and Recreational Trails Programs and the state's Maryland Bikeways Program.

A lot of the funding is coming to the DC area

A project to link the WB&A Trail in Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties will receive $4.7 million from the Transportation Alternatives Program.  The project will link the WB&A Trail in Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties with a bridge over the Patuxent River.  The 700-foot bicycle and pedestrian bridge will complete a key missing link in the WB&A Trail, which was built on the abandoned railroad corridor of the Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis Electric Railway.  Once constructed, bicyclists and other trail users will be able to travel more safely than sharing the roadways with motorized vehicles on MD 450, MD 3 and MD 175.  The WB&A Trail is a component of the East Coast Greenway and the American Discovery Trail, which are national trail systems running from Maine to Florida and Delaware to California, respectively.  This project is the result of an inter-jurisdictional planning and design team with broad public interest and support.

Prince George’s County will launch phases 1 and 1A of a 5-phase effort to deliver bikeshare to Prince George’s County, connecting with bikeshare systems in the region.  A Maryland Bikeways Program award of $188,765 will go toward phase 1A, which includes installing four bikeshare stations in the National Harbor area. Phase 1, which is construction, was awarded $737,362.50 from the Transportation Alternatives Program.  In Montgomery County, a $269,834 Maryland Bikeways Program award will be used to expand the Bethesda Trolley Trail Bikeshare network in Bethesda to Grosvenor Metro Station.

Other projects in the DC area include:

  • Install 4 bikeshare stations along the Bethesda Trolley Trail and at Grosvenor Metro station, connecting to the bikeshare network in Bethesda ($269,834). The award will fund final design, purchase and installation of the stations that will connect existing bikeshare in Bethesda with new grant-funded stations to be installed in White Flint and Twinbrook in the spring of 2018.
  • Feasibility study and 30% Design of bicycle facilities on Hanover Parkway in Greenbelt between Spellman Overpass and Greenbrook Dr., and traversing the Greenbelt Road (MD193) intersection ($50,000)
  • 60% Design of a planned bikeway on New Hampshire Ave. (MD650) in Takoma Park between Auburn Ave. and Holton Ln., enhancing connections between the Ethan Allen Gateway, the Sligo Creek Stream Valley Trail, and the Takoma/Langley Crossroads area ($240,000)
  • Rewatering the C&O Canal; construction ($2,450,000) and Towpath Rehabilitation; construction ($1,000,000)
  • Central Avenue Connector Trail (Phase 1-Addision Road); design (640,000)
  • Hollywood Road Sidewalk Design in College Park - Safe Routes to School (SRTS); design ($43,200)
  • Takoma Park Improvements; Safe Routes to School (SRTS); construction ($160,000)

Klingle Valley Trail needed a shopping list of repairs

Klingle Erosion

The Klingle Valley Trail opened after a long and contentious battle last summer, but in September they noticed it was already showing some erosion issues and the trail had to be closed for the bulk of a day while they did repairs. Mark Seagraves reported on it repeatedly. The problem appears to be related primarily to drainage issues.

Erosion has already begun. According to the D.C. Department of Transportation, the new drainage system is faulty. “We have a shopping list of repairs that we want to make,” the Transportation Department’s Paul Hoffman told The Current about the Klingle Valley Trail.

The current newspapers went a little over the top on it, but they're right that we should build things to last. 

The trail has lasted barely three months, and it now threatens to symbolize yet another type of D.C. embarrassment. The city now has ample revenue to invest in upgrades to facilities and infrastructure, and spends generously. But then, all too often, the work turns out to have serious and costly defects.

On NBC4, DDOT said that the trail was under warranty, but the Current reports that the District paid for repairs. 

I don't know yet if the repairs have been done or are complete, but there was a closure on at least one day to do some repairs. 

Klingle emergency


Join Ward 3 Bicycle Advocates (W3BA) to Improve Cycling in Our Ward

Interested in how to improve conditions for bicyclists in our neighborhoods of upper NW DC? If so, we'd like to invite you to join the Ward 3 Bicycle Advocates (W3BA). We intend to be a grassroots group whose membership will collaborate with other groups and advocate on bicycle related matters that affect quality of life issues for all residents of Ward 3. Our mission is simple: create critical mass of those in support of better cycling so that DDOT and local politicians hear our voices so that improvements can and will happen. 

We're focused on both short-term and long-term goals within Ward 3. Examples of short-term goals include (there are likely others that you can suggest!): 

  • Broad Branch reconstruction to include bike lane 
  • Trolley Trail in Palisades connecting to Georgetown University. Potential 5 mile trail 
  • Missing link bike route from Ward 3 to Calvert Street Bridge and downtown 

We envision the long-term goals as being aligned with much of what was include in the Move DC Master Plan, that would include: 
A protected cycletrack on Connecticut Avenue Completion of the Palisades Trolley trail to Georgetown Nebraska Avenue protected cycletrack 

In the near future, we intend to have a group meeting to better define short, medium and long-term goals for the group, divide up work, and determine advocacy strategies. We are very excited to get W3BA off the ground and hope you will become an active member. Ask questions, provide ideas, identify opportunities, participate. We can be a strong presence here in Ward 3, but only if you lend your voice. 

To get started, please join the Yahoo Group: [w3ba-subscribe @ yahoogroups dot com]. Looking forward to the work ahead.

Andrew Aurbach, Chevy Chase DC 
Josh Rising, Chevy Chase DC 
Steve Seelig, Chevy Chase DC 
Brett Young, Palisades DC

River Road Park is really going to happen this time. We mean it. We even put a sign up!


It looks like  Montgomery ParksThe Montgomery Parks Foundation and the Coalition for the Capital Crescent Trail (CCCT) are making one last fundraising pitch before starting work on the River Road Park (previously known as the Capital Crescent Trail Plaza). A recent press release noted that the three groups were joining together to get the long-awaited project done and that they were still looking for donations. 

The new park will feature a seating area, a pergola, plantings, and maps. The River Road Park will become a welcoming gateway to the trail by providing a green, restful place for travelers and neighbors alike.

The park will be located in the open space adjacent to the bridge over River Road, where a new sign has been placed. While funding has been secured for the base project, The Montgomery Parks Foundation is seeking tax-deductible contributions to support additional features at the new park.

Tax-deductible donations may be made here. Interested donors are requested to designate their funds for the “River Road Park.”


The Coalition already has raised and spent about $150,000 to design the park, he said. However, officials aren’t planning on tackling all of the improvements at once.

The first step will involve landscaping the area and adding a curb that will discourage unwanted parking on the site

[Mike Nardolilli, the Montgomery Parks Foundation’s executive director] said the project partners will continue fundraising to add future amenities, such as bicycle racks. Already, since signs have gone up announcing the park project, a donor has stepped forward to pay for a bike repair station, he said.

As noted in my last post on this, the parking lot was removed in 2006, so this has been a long time coming. Can't wait to see it final start to take shape. 

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Police need to rethink their role in bicycle crash reporting

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In the later part of the year, I've seen or received two reports about bicycle crashes and the police reporting/response to them that are similarly troubling. The first was sent to me about a crash on the MVT in which Park Police responded. (Emphasis is mine)

I’ve ridden this trail daily for over 18 years except in the most inclement weather.

On August 5 (2017), I was riding on the trail near Vernon View when a teen hopped off the chin-up bar (an exercise station located approximately 10 feet off the trail) and back-up, arms raised in victory showing off to a watching couple that I assume were his parents.  He backed up – right into me.  Result:  he backed into me, throwing me off the cycle.  Injuries:  broken and separated shoulder, 4 broken ribs, 2 broken vertebrae, and two dislocated fingers.

Ambulance came and carted me off.  First stop – Mount Vernon Hospital ER;  once they diagnosed the extent of injuries, they sent me off to the second stop:  Fairfax Hospital Trauma Center.

It took me from August 5 till Nov 20 to get the National Park Police incident report.  The attending officer wrote no info on the report.  His report claims that he was at the scene from 1518 hours till 1605 hours.  During this time, he never interviewed me.

Well….when I finally got the report and I finally-finally got [the officer] on the phone, I asked him if he had any additional information on:  who hit me, and where my bike was (Specialized Crave Comp 29).

[The officer] told me that the Park Police does not take bikes, and that I should ask the ambulance service (I was in the ambulance with two attendants in the back….there is no room for a bike!) or the Fairfax County Fire Department (called them, and they said they do not take bikes).

How can the Park Police just let a ($1500) bike lay on the ground when the bicyclist is carted off via ambulance?

So, the police report didn't include the names of all the people involved in the crash, and when he was there he didn't take the time to make sure the cyclists bike was taken care of. I recently had a crash that required a hospital trip and the MPD were cool enough to wait with my bike for my wife to pick it up, but I was had the time and faculties to ask them to. What if I had been unconscious? Would they have just left my bike there? Do they normally leave the personal items (a purse for example) of traffic crash victims?

The other incident involves MPD. This is from a listserv

Hello neighbors- on Sunday Oct 1 around 12:30pm - I was riding my bike and struck by a car at 8th/Independence SE. If you witnessed this accident could you please shoot me an email at _______. The police report does not list the people they spoke to. Many thanks. can they not write the names down? I did ask the BAC's MPD officer about this, and while he didn't know the specifics, he said that some witnesses don't want their name included. I suppose that's possible, but in those cases, I'd expect the report to note that such as "Witness 1 [Name refused]" or something. I don't think that is what happened here. 
Perhaps these are two isolated cases that just happened to occur within a few months of one another, but I'd be surprised if there weren't other similar stories out there. 
The police need to get the name of witnesses and other parties to a crash. They need to have a system for securing bikes that have to be left behind. Not doing so is adding insult to injury. It's denying people a chance to recover in court. It's making it harder for them to recover with their insurance companies. It strikes me - as a layman I'll admit - as sloppy work. 

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