Arlington and Alexandria have been working on a plan to restore Four Mile Run south of Shirlington. The waterway was rebuilt in the 70's and 80's to become a giant drainage ditch. This was done by the Army Corps of Engineers, so it's definitely function over form. [The Corps is also responsible for managing the Anacostia in Southern PG County - and it's they who insist on mowing the riverside, meaning the NE branch trail is out in the open, instead of under a nice tree canopy]. Anyway the whole thing is now kinda ugly, environmentally questionable and definitely underutilized.
So that brings us to the Four Mile Run Restoration Master Plan. It's a really good plan and like the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, if half of its ideas become reality it will be a fantastic improvement. This is also part of Alexandria's Green Crescent. Besides the pleasure of biking through a park instead of a storm sewer, the advantages for cyclists are the following:
For bicyclists, a commuter trail on the north side of the stream maintains a fast and efficient commuting route. For a more leisurely experience, the trail on the southern side of the stream will offer an unhurried route.
The trails on both the Arlington and Alexandria sides link with existing trails to create a continuous trail network. On the eastern end of the corridor, the trails link with the Mount Vernon Trail, a trail that runs along the Potomac River. On the western end, the trails link to the Washington and Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail.
In addition, a proposed bicycle facility provides a venue for bicycle rentals and a place at which bicyclists stop to eat, rest, shower and buy supplies. The specific uses for this bridge will evolve over time as the Potomac Yard development nears completion. In addition, new pedestrian/ bicyclist bridges are proposed at other key locations: the extension of Commonwealth; at the site of the new community plaza and recreational facility on Mount Vernon Avenue that links to Arlington ’s Four Mile Run Park; west of the existing Mount Vernon Avenue bridge to provide safe and convenient pedestrian and bicycle access for Alexandrians wishing to shop at the stores along South Glebe Road; and at the place where lower Long Branch meets Four Mile Run in. In addition, with the creation of a new bridge and intersection proposed for traffic traveling on South and West Glebe Roads, the existing bridge would be converted to, or possibly replaced by, a pedestrian and bicycle-only bridge.
So additional trails, additional crossing and a bike station. It all sounds too good to be true.