WABA has its testimony on the PG County Park and Planning Budget up, and there are a lot of things they're working on.
Prince George’s County Connector Trail
The Connector trail will link the West Hyattsville Metro to the future Metropolitan Branch Trail in Washington DC and provide non-motorized access from the Anacostia Tributaries trail network to the District of Columbia. Initially, the land necessary for trail construction was to be obtained through an easement with the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority. However, it is now our understanding that Shoppers Food Warehouse seeks to acquire the land to expand its operations. If this easement does go through, then Shoppers Food Warehouse should be required to construct the Connector Trail as well as a new soccer field as proposed by the Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation.
Anacostia River Trail
By extending the Anacostia River Trail south, it will connect directly to the future Anacostia Riverwalk and Trail planned for the District of Columbia. Design work on the trail extension is on hold as the Maryland State Highway Administration decides on remediation measures in the area. We encourage Park and Planning to watch this project closely so that any remediation includes the Anacostia River Trail.
Henson Creek Trail Extension
$450,000 in funding for the design and construction of the Henson Creek Trail has already been allocated and trail design is set to begin soon. This design work must be completed quickly so that an application for federal matching funds can be submitted by March 1, 2007. We encourage MNCPPC-PG to set funds aside for additional construction of this important trail project and to ensure that design of the trail moves forward quickly so that federal funding sources can be captured.
A proposal by the City of Mount Rainer to designate the Northwest Branch trail (pictured) as a transportation corridor will allow the county to install lighting that would greatly extend the usable hours of the facility as well as contribute to safety of trail users.
Improve NW Branch Trail Crossing of Queens Chapel Road
The Northwest Branch Trail crosses Queens Chapel Road near the West Hyattsville Metro station. This is a very busy crossing for both cyclists and pedestrians. WABA recommends that a bike/pedestrian activated signalized crossing be added to this intersection. If the pedestrian crossing light was synchronized to existing traffic lights at the intersections of Queens Chapel with Ager Road and Chillum Road, the impact on traffic flow would be minimal. It should be noted that Queens Chapel is a state highway (Rt. 500) and there would need to be cooperation between the State and Park & Planning for the changes to be made.
Build the Piscataway Creek Trail
To date over $500,000 in funding has been allocated for the design and construction of the Piscataway Creek Trail in the County. We strongly feel that the County should focus its efforts on the southern segments of the trail south of Fort Washington Park. With a $40,000 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Foundation, community volunteers have already begun installing permeable trail surfaces on the Piscataway Creek trail to demonstrate environmentally friendly trail designs. But more funding will be needed to build a low-impact bridge and boardwalk across a creek and wetland area and to link the trail to other nearby park areas. The hard work carried out by the volunteers is a good sign of the strong community support for this trail. Because the initial segment of the Piscataway Creek Trail is entirely on National Park Service property, a memorandum of agreement has been drafted that would guarantee perpetual public access to any trail facilities built on National Park property using local funds. This is a good agreement for the citizens of Prince George’s County, and we urge the Park and Planning to finalize the agreement and begin design and construction of the trail.
Improved Trail and Bikeway Maintenance and Signage
Park and Planning is responsible for an extensive network of trails that offer recreation and non-motorized transportation opportunities to thousands of County residents and visitors each year. However, maintenance and repair of these facilities has lagged due to inadequate funding and a lack of priority. We strongly encourage Park and Planning to increase the funding available for trail maintenance and to also ensure that the County’s trails are adequately signed and all gaps are eliminated.
Increase Planning Staff
Finally, due to the sheer number of bike and pedestrian projects either planned or underway, Park and Planning staff is over taxed resulting in project delays. It is our understanding that funding for additional positions within the department have been approved and we encourage Park and Planning to increase the number of positions dedicated to bike and pedestrian planning at the agency. Additional staff can review master plans and site plans to ensure that bicycle and pedestrian-friendly developments become the norm in the county. Additional staff will also be freed to purse the many sources of federal funds available for bicycle and pedestrian projects.
Find out how to support the effort here.