Arlington County has been planning a stream restoration project for Four Mile Run for nearly a decade now. Work might begin in 2016, and when it does it will likely involve a detour for the section between Eads and Mount Vernon Avenue, as workers will need access to the north bank.
The Tidal Restoration Project will improve access to the water, add a viewing platform, replace rip-rap with "living shorelines," decorate the water treatment facility's fence, add blue watermarks to the trail at every outfall, install a decorative bench and restore native plants.
- Naturalize the banks along the corridor and improve access to the stream through overlooks and terracing
- Minimize sediment transport by capturing it in accessible area (site 1)
- Replace rip-rap with vegetation and create Living Shorelines on Arlington side (site 2)
- Establish historical tidal wetland condition in Four Mile Run Park (site 3)
The project will include a new pervious surface trail from Bruce Street that goes along the stream. (Highlighted in yellow)
And a new crossing just upstream of Commonwealth and Eads
But to do the stream restoration, the trail will need to be closed for a year, starting next summer. The planned detour would take trail riders off the trail and have them cross FMR at the Route 1 and Mount Vernon Avenue Bridges and use Alexandria's Four Mile Run Park Trail (on the south side of the stream) to travel between those bridges.
While the FMRP Trail is a nice 10-foot wide trail, and is currently being reconstructed in places, the detour also utilizes narrow sidewalks, narrow trail segments, sidewalks with heavy pedestrian traffic and sidewalks with lots of curb cuts. Especially bad is the detour along Mount Vernon Avenue.
The detour will likely push cyclists using Eads Street onto Glebe or its sidewalks rather than biking far out of their way.
Other, less impactful detours, related to other projects are also planned in the near future.
- A redevelopment at the Berkeley, which is just west of the work area for the environmental project. The plans involve repaving (so short term closure). The redevelopment plans do NOT include taking down the fence at the back of the parking lot. A relevant meeting was held 12/21.
- A VDOT project to improve the 395 bridges over FMR creek. They expect some night closures of the FMR Trail over a period of 6 months, starting next year. Detour involves the bridge. BAC asked the County to look at improving bike infra on Martha Custis before that starts.
The first of those projects should, reportedly, include a widening of the trail to 12 feet.