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Glad to hear this is moving forward. The cleared portion of alternative 3 looks like an old road of some sort - I checked it out last year after the most recent AA county section to the north was completed. For people riding the main route of the WB&A it looks like roughly the same distance for both alternatives, so perhaps the gradient would be the deciding factor (there's already a pretty steep hill leading down from Conway Rd). But I agree that alternative 2 would be better for connecting to Bowie St.

(as an aside - when I saw it last spring or summer, the PG county trail ended short of Bowie St. It stopped at a ROW perhaps 100m from the Amtrak line. Maybe you can take that ROW to Bowie St? It's driveable - I saw someone back there with a 4WD truck)

The Northern Crossing is the better option. The Con of the steep approach is just about a non-issue because the section of trail from Conway Road to the river's edge is fairly steep.

The easement for Alternative 3 (Southern Crossing) would have to come from the The Villages at Two Rivers and the developers already paid for and built the last segment of trail. Asking for an easement on top of that would be a hard sale.

Whichever route they choose, this is great news.

Maybe this will bring the South Shore Trail back into focus for AA County, as the completed WB&A should increase interest in a safe bike route from Odenton to Annapolis. Anyone have current information on AA County plans?

I would be happy with either option. Been waiting a very long time for this!

Any idea just how steep the approaches are for either case?

Toon,

Work on Phase I (http://www.aacounty.org/departments/recreation-parks/parks/trails/forms-and-publications/south-shore-trail-map-1.pdf) is to begin this summer as is the feasibility study of phases III, IV and the MD Route 3 Crossing.

It's a no-brainer! The trail was always intended to connect and there's no way to get around the disconnected portions other than riding on Rt. 301 and dangerous Annapolis Rd. Ridiculous!

I don't like the idea of adding any more steepness to the the already steep trail, but whichever option can be built quickly.

Personally, I don't understand why the original trail can't be built. It was on a RR Right of Way and is still a transportation structure. Firearms safety course?! The author of that old article, Candus Thomson, seems to incorrectly imply that the safety course would be no more if the ROW is used. Why would a buffer zone be necessary if the firearms are unloaded as the article states? In fact, that could be used as part of the training simulation. How would a cyclist/pedestrian trail affect boy scouts, 4-H clubs, outdoors people and birders, and church groups other than in easier access (all of which are also cyclists, btw)? But, in absence of any sense on the part of Anne Arundel county and it's leaders then, of course, the alternative route should be built quickly. It's only been 17 years! I'm also curious whether or not the county lost the one million dollars in federal funding for the trail while they dragged their heels and didn't follow through on the lawsuit. Constant griping about balanced budgets while rejecting huge sums of money seems pretty hypocritical if that was the case.

At the trailhead for the new spur on the PG Co. side of the river there exist MNP&PC informational displays, but oddly none of them explain the spur's pre-trail history, and there is scant mention on the web of the fact that the spur is itself a rail trail. I will explain some of that history here. Corrections and elaborations are welcome.

The Bowie Race Track was serviced by WB&A trains from the first day that that facility, then known as Prince George's Park, opened in 1914. When the WB&A's main line went out of service in 1935 the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) filled the void in service by building a spur from their (now Amtrak's) main line east to the WB&A main line and continuing eastward over the WB&A race track spur route. The new spur trail with the exception of its first 40 yards sits atop the grade that the PRR constructed.

There are other remnants of this rail line beside the many crossties and tie plates that lie on either side of the spur trail. At this writing a satellite map view shows traces of both the terminal tracks at the race track and the wye connection at the Amtrak main line at Lemons Bridge.

A schematic of the WB&A race track spur, including its joining with the main line in a wye configuration, can be found on page 110 of John R. Merriken's book Every Hour on the Hour.

This PRR schematic indicates that a remnant of the WB&A main line route was used to turn PRR race trains. A PRR wye, shown in the middle of the schematic, was oriented 90 degrees clockwise from the (PRR-removed) WB&A wye. This also shows the shanty nicknamed "Track" from which an employee would direct train movements on the spur. http://broadway.pennsyrr.com/Rail/Prr/Maps/Itlk/map_ett_phil_1968_2343.gif

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