This summer, Maryland started a plan that would establish a safe, accessible and fully interconnected network of "dual-use" trails across Maryland.
There's no timetable for the project, which will unfold, piece by piece, over as many as 20 years. It will cross scores of jurisdictional boundaries, draw on the ideas of citizens and partner agencies, and mix and match funding sources. But by making its plan public, the state Department of Transportation aims to guide a comprehensive effort to make a seamless system of trails.
"This trail network will literally weave communities together," said Maryland Secretary of Transportation John D. Porcari, a driving force behind the state's long-term Trails Strategic Implementation Plan.
There is certainly room, as the article points out, for improvement
Many [trails], though, have gaps or need upgrading, problems the state's plan aims to address. Nearly all - from the 11-mile BWI Trail that circles the airport, to the popular Baltimore & Annapolis Trail, which connects Glen Burnie to the state capital over a 12-mile route - are isolated from one another and lack connectivity to mass-transit stations.
"We need to have the gaps in the existing network filled in so that more Marylanders can use trails for recreation, getting to work, or just to do weekend shopping," says Richard Chambers, executive director of One Less Car
But the state's top priority, Porcari said, is to link extant trails to each other, easing bike and pedestrian travel between discrete parts of the state. To that end, the transportation department has identified eight key "missing links" around Maryland, trail segments that, when they're filled in, will offer exponentially greater connectivity from region to region.
The TSIP (As a Texas grad, I hate the name) isn't scheduled to be completed until the end of the year, so I'm not sure how official this list is. But of those eight trails, four are in Prince George's county. Which makes one wonder why neither the Post nor the Gazette covered this and left it to the Sun?
Anyway, the four local trail connections mentioned are:
1. Little Paint Branch Trail Connector - It's listed as partially complete. I suspect this is what they're talking about.
The greenways corridor along Little Paint Branch begins north of Calverton at Fairland Regional Park and flows south to connect with Paint Branch. Portions of the stream valley are owned by M-NCPPC. The greenways protects riparian resources and provides recreational opportunities. A segment of multi-use trail exists along the stream valley between Sellman Road and Rt. 212.
But I'm not sure what the connector connects to.
2. Anacostia River Trail - Construction Scheduled. This must be the Anacostia Trail on the east side of the river from Bladensburg Waterfront Park to the District line (some of which was recently built but is uselessly incomplete)
3. Henson Creek Trail - Planning Underway. Not sure what their planning, but it should definitely stretch to the Metro Station.
4. BW&A trail - the alignment planning for the much needed Patuxent River crossing is underway. This would connect the two existing sections.
That they're working on a TSIP is a pretty good sign. The website is a little sparse though. I hope there is adequate local involvement - the site doesn't list the stakeholders invloved (MoBike? College Park? Oxon Hill? WABA? Don't know.)