The Montgomery County Department of Transportation has completed designs for the remaining northern section of the Metropolitan Branch Trail. That section will fill the gap between the stub built as part of the Silver Spring Transit Center and the Takoma Park section from New York Avenue and Fenton to the DC Boundary that was built in 2004 and 2006. The trail section will feature both a bridge over Georgia Avenue and an underpass beneath Burlington Avenue.
The project has two phases. In phase I the existing sidepath along the west side of Fenton will be extended north from New York Avenue to King Street and then along the south side of King Street to the end of that road. This basically consists of widening the existing 10 foot wide sidewalk to about 16 feet with modifications of driveways, pavement, signs and lights. The final design of this is being submitted.
Phase II will continue the trail from King Street to the Silver Spring Transit Center as a 10 foot wide, separate multi-use trail. For this portion the 35% design is being submitted.
From the end of the Phase I section along King Street, the trail ill swing north along the railroad tracks and under Burlington Avenue through an underpass, and then between the tracks and Selim Road. The slope in this area is pretty steep. so the trail will have to built into the slope with retaining walls and built up platforms.
It will continue between Selim Road and the RR tracks.
The Trail will continue alongside Selim Road and then cross over Georgia Avenue on a new bridge before passing between the B&O Railroad Station and Georgia Avenue. The bridge over Georgia Avenue an the "tunnel" under Burlington (which is also East-West highway) were once deemed too expensive and it took a lot of groundwork to get these funded. The trail was also originally to pass to the rear of the B&O Station and extend under the rear canopy of the building, but MPI, the group that manages the historic station, opposed this alignment because they used the rear of the station for parties and events. It appears they have won.
The trail will then cross along the north side of the B&O Railroad Station property, including a crossing of the driveway, and move to the gap between the railroad tracks and the properties that front on Georgia Avenue and Silver Spring Avenue.
The trail will continue through the gap between the railroad tracks and the properties that front on Georgia Avenue, Ripley and Silver Spring Avenue to the existing trail build as part of the Transit Center. The path of the trail goes right through an existing 1-story building, part of Progress Place, that will be razed. There doesn't seem to be a direct connection to Silver Spring Avenue yet.
Here's what the cross-section of the undepass looks like.
The plans will be presented to the Planning Board on May 19, 2016. They will be accepting comments in-person or in writing until then. You may sign up online to testify at the hearing. Written comments may be sent by email to email@example.com or via mail to "Montgomery County Planning Board, 8787 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20910." Comments must be submitted at least one full business day before a scheduled hearing (i.e. by 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning before a Thursday hearing).
Update: I missed it at the time of writing this, but WABA also had an update on the MBT recently. On the Montgomery County section they add some input on MPI
Montgomery Preservation Inc (MPI), the nonprofit that controls this site, has spent years resisting proposed solutions, rejecting compromise design alternatives, and declining the County’s attempts to compensate them for the space the trail requires.
MPI’s insistence on replacing a proposed bridge over Georgia Ave—a solution that will keep bike riders and pedestrians far away from that corridor’s heavy traffic—with an at-grade crossing shows that the safety of trail users is low on their list of priorities. It has become increasingly clear that MPI is not interested in being a good neighbor and is not interested in public safety.
The Montgomery County Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment (T&E) Committee has the ability to put an end to MPI’s antics. Reassuringly, during a budget work session last month, members of the committee expressed frustration with MPI’s obstruction. The Committee understands the importance of the completion of the trail—not just for Silver Spring, but for the regional connections that the trail will provide, and for the many residents that will benefit from the closing of the gaps in the MBT.
And on the DC portion
The 30 percent engineering designs for [the Bates Road to Fort Totten Metro Station] segment are completed. DDOT should be issuing a final design and building contract soon, with construction anticipated to begin in 2017.
DDOT is still working on the 30 percent design for [the Fort Totten to Takoma Park] segment, but anticipates that that design process will be completed in June of 2016.
And that DDOT is working on new lights, having completed the new install from Franklin to T street.