The National Foreign Affairs Training Center in Arlington wants to update their Master Plan so that they can expand and enhance 6 buildings, add a new parking structure and improve some of the security features (most importantly the fence). GSA has started the scoping process for an Environmental Assessment they intend to prepare for the Master Plan. Comments are due in August 19th and there won't be another opportunity to comment until the EA is completed.
The facility currently has a bike trail from S. Utah Street to S. Quincy with a spur to 1st Place. Arlington County maintains the 12-foot wide trail west of George Mason (the West Parcel) and the State Department maintains the 10-foot wide trail, east of George Mason (the East Parcel).
I used to bike George Mason Drive through here several times a week, but haven't been out there in a few years, nor did I have much of an opinion about the site at the time, but looking at it I have two suggestion.
- The trail currently passes underneath George Mason through a tunnel (though it involves dismounting and climbing down and then back up stairs). Nonetheless, you can't get to the trail from George Mason because there is fencing separating the street from that area. This seems a bit silly since the area on the other side of the fence is not secure - you can bike or walk right up to it. They should remove this unnecessary fencing and create connections from the trail to George Mason on both sides of the road.
- Since the perimeter fencing is likely to be removed anyway, why not push it back about 12 feet from S. Quincy to 3rd Street South and extend the trail to there (red line on image below). Those sides of the facility are all parking lots anyway (so not much of a security threat, I suspect) and it would create a complete trail connection to S. Glebe Road.
What else am I missing? If you ride around there and have a suggestion (biking through the facility?) leave a comment here and send a comment in.