The National Park Service's National Capitol Region (NCR) recently released a draft version of its "Paved Trails Study", which serves as a plan for how NCR sees the paved trail network, both within and outside of the parks, developing in the future and as an update to the 1990 plan. In addition to identifying several high priority capital projects, the NPS Paved Trails Study also identifies some lower priority capital projects which it groups by park.
Here are all the paved trail projects identified for the Chesapeake and Ohio National Historic Park. Though the C&O Canal Towpath is 184.5 miles long, the scope of this study includes the Towpath as far west as Great Falls Park, representing approximately 13.5 miles of the total length. The NPS study is about paved trails, which it defines as asphalt or concrete trails that serve pedestrians and cyclists of all abilities. While the C&O Canal Towpath and the Fort Circle Hiker Biker Trail are not paved, NPS has included them in this study due to their regional significance.
- Close the gap in the Capital Crescent Trail (CCT) between 30th and 31st - this is a high priority project and was covered in this earlier post.
- Close the gap in the C&O Canal Towpath between Lock 0 (by the Thompson Boat Center) and Lock 1 (just north of the West Heating Plant)
- Develop a regional trailhead with bike share at Lock 0. (See table below for what a regional trailhead involves)
- Develop local trailheads facilities at crossing of CCT and the Towpath near Palisades Park.
- Enhance signage and wayfinding on the Towpath
- Conduct study of culvert blockages along the Towpath
- Conduct a lighting study for the CCT to determine areas for possible improvement
I'd like to see some additions
- a direct connection between the Key Bridge's west side and the Towpath using a spiral bicycle bridge. Alternatively, improve the connection between the towpath and the US-29 bridge over it and widen that sidewalk.
- a direct connection between the Key Bridge's west side and the CCT using a spiral bicycle bridge.
- connecting the Towpath to the Palisades neighborhood at Fletcher's boathouse via a grade separated facility
- connecting the Towpath and the CCT at Chain Bridge
- connection the Towpath and Cabin John at either MacArthur Blvd or Vasser circle using the old trolley right of way (you can see the old trolley turn around and a spur on this map) and a bridge over the Clara Barton Parkway.
- Update: add in a trail along the old Glen Echo Trolley Trail