The DC BAC's facilities committee had a whole meeting this year on working with the National Parks System on updating the decades old National Capital Parks Bicycle Plan (that may not be the actual name. As near as I can tell only one paper copy survives). That may have been prophetic as the long-time Superintendent of Rock Creek Park, Adrienne Coleman, will reportedly be retiring in January. She's overseen several policies and decision that were in contrast to the wishes of bike advocates (the reversal of the test closure of Beach Drive during midday hours, pushing for a narrow trail in RCP, disagreement on the Met Branch Trail alignment in Ft. Totten and the PG County Connector Trail in the same area, and recently denying Bike DC's permit to use the Rock Creek Parkway to name a few). This alone might be reason for hope, but now it appears that NPS, in conjunction with NCPC and the DC government, is working on Capital Space designed to ensure that Washington’s parks reach their full potential. (via Richard Layman)
The Draft Plan is now available. It focuses on Six Big Ideas. The first one is "Linking the Fort Circle Parks". The McMillan plan called for making the forts into parks and linking them with a Parkway called the Fort Drive. In 1930, the Capper-Cramton Act turned this part of the plan into policy and NCPC set out acquiring the land needed for the Circle Parks and Fort Drive. Parts of Fort Drive (in Fort Dupont and Fort Reno, and Military Road in RCP) were built but the road began to be seen as expensive, impractical and a cause of traffic. So in 1965 it was shelved in favor of a 23 mile greenway trail connecting the forts.
So, 44 years later, surely that 23 mile long trail exists today and is enjoyed by millions, right?
- Design and build the entire greenway trail to link all of the fort parks.
- Improve existing trails, including the hiker-biker trail, with increased maintenance, signage, and interpretation.
- Strengthen connections from the greenway to transit, schools, and other parks with improved streetscape conditions, street crossings, on-road bike lanes, and signage.
While that is the biggest bike element is isn't the only one.
Under the "Enhancing Urban Natural Areas" idea, they use the Oxon Run Stream Corridor as their model and they include:
- Define a loop trail system with a series of bike lanes and off-street trails that provide connections through Oxon Run to Oxon Hill Farm and across the Suitland Parkway and the proposed Fort Circle Park hiker-biker trail.
- Introduce a signage system for the multi-use loop trail system, such as mile markers and other directional and informational signage that are provided within the park and at key intersections, to direct trail users to nearby destinations
- Improve sidewalk connections and safe connections that encourage kids to walk or
bike to school through the park.
For the "Enhancing Center City Parks" idea they state as one goal
Enhance connections between parks with improved green streetscapes that include pedestrian and bicycle facilities
And they write about the possibility of a NOMA First Street, NE Linear Park
The First Street, NE, network of open space is one component of a park and open-space strategy for the emerging NoMA area. The open spaces, most of which are yet to be constructed, will be created in the existing street right-of-way and along the Metropolitan Branch Trail in an area that lacks park and open-space amenities.
And for "Transforming Small Parks" a goal is to
Improve pedestrian and bicycle safety along all the streets adjacent to small parks to improve park access.
They're having a public meeting on all of this on Oct 27th. 5:30-7:30pm at MLK Library. Now if only we could get Rock Creek Park back on the agenda.