For a while it's felt like Prince George's County was disinterested in following the other jurisdictions in making the area more bikeable. But lately, they've really been making up for lost time. They built a section of the Prince George's Connector. They started work on a connector between the Anacostia Tributary Trail System (ATTS) and DC future Anacostia Riverwalk Trail that will also connect to Cheverly. And now they've just awarded a contract to study a connection between the WB&A Trail and the ATTS.
The contract to study a possible trail linking the WB&A and Anacostia trails has been awarded to Wallace, Montgomery & Associates of Towson, Maryland, according to Fred Shaffer of the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission. The winning bid was for $64,000. The study funding was authorized by legislation introduced by Councilman Eric Olson and will evaluate four possible routes, develop a first-order cost estimate for each, and design 30% of the trail. (Design of 30% is necessary for most federal funding, in addition to the local match.)
At a recent kickoff meeting for the task order, representatives from Councilman Olson's staff emphasized that Mr. Olson hopes to see the WB&A connected to the Anacostia system around Bladensburg. However, the study may focus on connecting the WB&A to Cheverly. At the instigation of state Senator Ivy, plans are already underway for a trail to connect Cheverly to Bladensburg, Shaffer said.
Local trail advocated and MNCPPC staff have been pondering a western extension of the WB&A Trail since it opened in 2001. At the kickoff meeting, Shaffer provided some of that background to the contractor. A key question is how and where to cross the Capital Beltway.
One option is to use a combination of Lanham-Forest Park and neighborhood streets in Lanham, plus a new pedestrian bridge near the existing flyover ramp that connects US-50 to the New Carrollton Metro Station. Other options include following MD-450 and MD-704. From New Carrollton to Cheverly, the route is likely to parallel US-50 using neighborhood roads such as Parkwood Street, with short trail connectors and bridges.
Public input will be sought some time this fall, with the final report completed Spring 2011.
If you would like to stay informed about developments with this study you can send an email to WBA_Trailfirstname.lastname@example.org to join the WB&A Trail list-serve.