Last month, the Arlington County Board voted to approve the contract for Phase II of the Washington Boulevard trail. The new trail section will connect Columbia Pike to S. Walter Reed where it will connect with Phase I. Phase I connects Water Reed to Arlington Blvd. The trail will primarily be located within the highway right-of-way but will also pass through the property of the U.S. Navy Supply Facility and Arlington County’s Towers Park. Access to the public streets will be provided at Walter Reed Drive, 6th Street, 9th Street and South Rolfe Street.
This trail was originally identified 23 years ago in the 1994 Bicycle Master plan and so it has taken quite a bit of time to get here. When Phase I was completed back in 2009, the idea was that the second phase work would start soon thereafter, but neighbors complained about all the trees that would be cut down (~180), despite the facts that many of these trees were invasive or dead, that more trees would be planted to replace them and Arlington will give you a free tree so, y'know, maybe people should just do that, but... bygones. There's now a design that everyone seems content with (though I'm not sure the new design is better as Jay Fisette claimed)
The original design had a 10' wide trail, separated from the road by a 1.5' wide concrete barrier, 2' wide paved buffer and a 10' shoulder while removing 198 trees. Instead they're building a 10' wide trail separated from the road by a 2.5’ wide curb and gutter and a 5’ wide landscaped buffer which only removes 84 trees.
Trail users will now be 6' closer to the traffic lanes.
The project also includes an extensive planting plan that includes 263 new trees.
Fort Myer Construction won the $2.8M contract which came in about $900,000 high because of increased construction costs everywhere. That gap will be covered with TCF-NVTA Local balances from the Complete Streets Program. Work could end by the end of the year, but since the contract was awarded at the end of their window (Summer) it might not start until early 2018.