Brett Young found this fascinating 1981 article from the Northwest current about the Cabin John Trolley right-of-way and how it ended up not being a multi-use trail.
The streetcar line was abandoned in 1962, and in 1979 the DC government started work to acquire the right-of-way to construct a section of the cross-town water main. At that time the Palisades Citizens Association accepted the water main construction but only if DC agreed to build a multi-use trail, then called the Watermain Bike Path, on the right-of-way once construction was complete.
Flash forward two years to 1981 and the Palisades Citizens Association held another vote - at 10:30pm in which voting was not restricted to dues paying members as required in the bylaws - on the pathway design recommended by the recreation committee and the trail lost 76-65. That recommended trail would have extended from Galena to Foxhall Road. Opponents were concerned about crime and a large influx of C&O Canal towpath users into the Palisades (this was all before the Capital Crescent Trail). They claimed that DDOT was going to build parking lots and picnic facilities (Picnic facilities? I'm sorry but decent citizens with impressionable children live here, sir!) along the ROW. Oddly opponents tended to be younger and newer (probably Reagan administration transplants) and proponents were older residents many of who lived adjacent to the ROW.
Another document notes that the Cabin John Trolley Trail (or Glen Echo or "Watermain Bike Path" if you will) was included in the 1975 District of Columbia Bikeway Planning Study. So earlier this week, when I said the trail idea dates back to 1990, I was off by at least 15 years. It also notes that DDOT would not include lights because it had a policy of "discouraging night riding." Oh how times have changed.
Two other alternatives were considered by the PCA recreation committee. A trail from Foxhall all the way to Dalecarlia Reservoir and one from Foxhall to Nebraska (along with options to just build connections to the C&O Canal and no build, which is what was eventually done)