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.
Comments are open until May 19th.
Here are all the paved trail projects identified for the George Washington Parkway, which with 33 projects, has the most of any park. There are some good ideas here, but many of the best ideas from the 1990 plan - like widening the trail - have neither been completed, nor carried forward to this plan.
Immediate (0-2 years) - all of these projects are high priority projects that were covered in this earlier post.
- (G1.7) Conduct alternatives analysis to provide off-road trail connection from the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge to Arlington Ridge Park
- (G2.2) Improve access on Airport Access Road overpass to Reagan National Airport/ Aviation Circle; connect with steps; expand sidewalks
- (G2.3) Connect 14th Street Bridge to proposed off-road facility on Boundary Channel Drive along Lagoon; create on-street trail facility on Boundary Channel Drive that connects under I-395 to Long Bridge Drive
- (G2.4) Develop connection from Mount Vernon Trail to the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge on south side of bridge
- (G2.5) Improve safety and access at intersection of Mount Vernon Trail and Custis Trail at Lee Highway/North Lynn Street approach to Key Bridge Coordinate with NPS regarding access drive to future boathouse
- (G4.7) At the intersection of Mount Vernon Trail and Four Mile Run Trail at Reagan National Airport, provide safety and sightline improvements and explore the potential for new roundabout
Short Term (2-5 years)
- (G1.2) Develop off-road trail facility along Vernon View Drive from the MVT to Fort Hunt Road
- (G1.3) Develop off-road trail facility along Fort Hunt Road from Fort Hunt Park to Belle Haven Road
- (G1.4) Develop off-road connector along Belle Haven Road from Fort Hunt Road to Mount Vernon Trail
- (G1.5) Develop off-road connector along Belle View Boulevard from Fort Hunt Road to Mount Vernon Trail
- (G1.6) Realign trail within Gravelly Point Park to separate through-traffic
- (G3.1) Develop a regional trailhead with bike share at Mount Vernon Estate
- (G3.5) Develop a regional trailhead at Jones Point Park
- (G3.6) Develop a regional trailhead at Long Bridge Park
- (G3.7) Develop a regional trailhead at Gravelly Point Park
- (G4.2) Provide traffic calming measures to facilitate crossing of GWMP at Vernon View Drive
- (G4.3) Provide traffic calming measures to facilitate crossing of GWMP at Collingwood Road
- (G4.4) Provide traffic calming measures to facilitate crossing of GWMP at Morningside Lane
- (G4.5) Provide traffic calming measures to facilitate crossing of GWMP at Belle View Boulevard
- (G4.6) Provide traffic calming measures to facilitate crossing of GWMP at Belle Haven Road
- (G4.8) Provide at-grade crossing improvements per ongoing EA recommendations at Arlington Memorial Bridge
- (G4.9) Provide at-grade crossing improvements per ongoing EA recommendations at Washington Boulevard
Mid Term (5-10 years)
- (G1.1) Realign trail at bridge near Little Hunting Creek at Mount Vernon Estates
- (G2.1) Replace existing 300-foot-long bridge through wetlands near Dangerfield Island
- (G3.2) Enhance existing Local/NPS trailhead with improved signage and amenities at Riverdale Park
- (G3.3) Develop a local/NPS trailhead at Fort Hunt Park
- (G3.4) Develop a local/NPS trailhead at Belle Haven Road
- (G3.8) Develop a viewshed compliant local/NPS trailhead with bikeshare at Arlington National Cemetery
- (G3.9) Enhance the existing bikeshare station on North Meade Street adjacent to the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial with signage, shelter, bike repair station, etc.
- (G3.10) Develop a local/NPS trailhead at the Theodore Roosevelt Island parking lot
- (G4.1) Provide improvements to at-grade Highway crossing at Mount Vernon Estate and Garden
- (G5.1) Implement edge of pavement striping on trail within close proximity of roadway along National airport perimeter
- (G5.2) Coordinate with the City of Alexandria to promote, through enhanced signage, the Potomac Yard Trail as an alternate to the Mount Vernon Trail and as a commuter route
Some really good proposals were in the 1990 Plan that don't show up in this one. Among them are
- Widening the trail to at least 8 feet, 10 feet where possible and 12 feet near the city center and bridges
- Relocate the trail at the Gravelly Point parking lot to eliminate conflicts between drivers and cyclists (maybe this has been "done" and things use to be worse than they are now, but conflict has not been eliminated)
- Provide an attractive barrier between the trail and the parkway north of the airport where the two are very close together. This would protect cyclists from on-coming headlights and from vehicles crossing from the trail to the road or the road to the trail.
- Construct a shoreline loop trail on Dangerfield Island
- Develop safe access under the Boundary Channel Bridge (Despite the fact that to everyone else the Boundary Channel Bridge isthe bridge from Arlington Memorial Circle to Arlington Cemetery, on second review NPS is clearly talking about the "Humpback Bridge" (based on the map on page 61 of the 1990 plan). They also use the two to mean the same thing here. So this has actually been done).
- Build both an east-west and north-south trail near the Pentagon (maybe this was done. There aren't enough details to know what this entailed).
- Re-establish federal ownership of the Glen Echo Trolley Right-of-way and develop parts of it for trail use.
- Extending the Mount Vernon Trail to Scott's Run Park in Fairfax County.
Trailheads are nice, but the 1990 plan was significantly more ambitious than the one proposed now is, at least when it comes to the Mt. Vernon Trail.