The National Park Service (NPS) has announced that the MacArthur Boulevard Shared-Use Path at Glen Echo Park Environmental Assessment/Assessment of Effect (EA/AoE) is available for review. The GW Parkway branch of NPS will hold an informational "Open House" meeting on the EA at Glen Echo Park – North Arcade Room 202 on January 24 from 6pm to 8pm. Comments open today and will be taken through February 8th.
NPS and Montgomery County DOT are designing a realignment of an 800 foot long segment of the MacArthur Boulevard Trail in the Glen Echo Park area.
The route would be relocated from MacArthur Boulevard to NPS property, where it would parallel MacArthur Boulevard from Oxford Road along the northeastern edge of the Clara Barton National Historic Site parking lot. Heading southeast, the path would cross over an historic trolley bridge, located above Minnehaha Creek. Montgomery County would restore, to NPS specifications, the bridge for adaptive reuse as a shared-use path. Before returning to MacArthur Boulevard, the path would pass through a small parking lot on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land used via agreement by NPS.
This project has been in the works for a long time.
The MacArthur Boulevard Shared-Use Path Project is part of Montgomery County’s MacArthur Boulevard Bikeway/Lane Improvements Project that extends from I-495 to Oberlin Avenue in southwest Montgomery County, Maryland and is currently being designed by the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT). The project was originally proposed in 2003 by MCDOT in order to “upgrade the existing shared-use path to current standards, promote usage, enhance safety for all users, and to improve the safety of bicycling on the MacArthur Boulevard roadway to better serve the experienced cyclist” (MCDOT 2004). Design for the project has been ongoing since 2003; however, due to a number of safety concerns with the original plans, including the narrowing of the shoulder in the vicinity of the intersection with Goldsboro Road, MCDOT approached NPS to see if it were possible to shift approximately 800 feet of the shared-use path onto the Cabin John Trolley Right of Way (Cabin John ROW) in the vicinity of Glen Echo Park and the Clara Barton National Historic Site
And a description of the trail and work
The shared-use path would be an eight-foot wide asphalt pathway with handrails for safety. The shared-use path would be constructed primarily on fill materials that meet current industry standards; however, a minor cut is needed along one section. The shared-use path would have a maximum five percent change in grade as per Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.
A 15-inch reinforced concrete pipe would be placed under the fill to manage drainage that currently flows through an open ditch between the upper parking lot and the trolley ROW. Clearing would be required to remove undergrowth and trees that have encroached upon the Cabin John ROW and in the area between the upper parking lot and the ROW south of the bridge. New landscaping would consist of appropriate native trees, shrubs, and grasses. Signage along the trail and pavement markings would meet or exceed the current standard for facilities of this type, and would provide warning and direction for both trail users and vehicles, as appropriate.
The trolley bridge over Minnehaha Branch would be adapted and re-used to accommodate bicycles and pedestrians
The original design, which kept an 8 foot trail alongside the road, was one of three that were dismissed - in that case due to the need to build a long and tall retaining wall.
I'm not sure about pushing the trail across the parking lot, but I love the idea of restoring and adaptively reusing the old trolley bridge.
If you go to the meeting, I'd love some notes.