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According to the linked Washington Post report, the funding is federal stimulus money, so presumably the replacement of the Long Bridge Railroad Bridge is "shovel ready".

If so, it's too late to add a trail crossing component to this bridge replacement, even in the highly unlikely event that CSX Railroad would ever agree to its inclusion.

Nonetheless, I like the idea of directly connecting a trail over the Potomac to the upcoming trail through Arlington's Long Bridge Park. The National Park Service has long opposed a trail crossing of the GWMP at this location, because it might "dump" additional trail users onto the already "overused" Mount Vernon Trail, but a direct trail connection between the river crossing and Long Branch Park would negate that NPS objection.

I think that this money is stimulus money, but not the shovel ready type. It is from the $8 billion high speed rail pot. The Examiner has more about it.

"Nearly $3 million will be used to begin the process of replacing the Long Bridge that crosses the Potomac River and carries freight, commuter and all Amtrak trains headed south from Union Station. The funds will help cover preliminary engineering and planning."

If the project is still in the preliminary engineering and planning phase, there may still be time to incorporate a trail, but only if advocates act quickly and mobilize grassroots action targeted at the appropriate elected officials.

"The National Park Service has long opposed a trail crossing of the GWMP at this location, because it might 'dump' additional trail users onto the already 'overused' Mount Vernon Trail"

...the one they refuse to widen? Seriously?

If I were going to take someone's word for truth on it, it would be Allen's.

Interesting idea to have a bike bridge at that location although riding up to the George Mason Bridge isn't too much of a burden. I do like the idea of having a more direct approach to Ohio Drive from Arlington. Many cyclists use East Potomac Park for training sessions.

I couldn't help but be surprised by the idea to continue a bike trail through the tunnel near Maine Ave. though. That's the one next to the FCC, isn't it? If they ever built a bike trail through there, they'd have to do something about the rat colony there. It is seriously nasty down there. I think the rats even make their way up to the parking lot above that tunnel.

I can ride faster than the rats can run.

About a year ago, I went to a meeting in Arlington as a representative of the DC BAC that was planning cyclist accommodation in the intended redesign of all the 14th St. bridges and surrounding connections. Whatever became of that? Does the rebuilding of the Long Bridge now preclude these plans?

I had thought at the time that it would be feasible to connect the intended park in Arlington with a sidepath across the most downstream (SE) auto bridge over to Capitol Hill and the ballpark. This would be a lot more straightforward than the present route going all the way to the upstream bridge and then cross back, and would be less expensive than a completely separate bridge. The down side was that I couldn't see a way to get past the railroad tracks without squeezing onto the shoulder of the freeway, but I was told not to worry about that, that everything was open for redesign, including possibly putting the tracks in a tunnel.

Liam, that was part of the 14th Street EIS. In their last newsletter from last summer, they mentioned the various options for cyclists and that the Draft EIS would be available in October '09 but I haven't seen it yet. This project is separate from that, but should be coordinated with it. Here is info from the meeting Liam is talking about


Optimally, given the large number of bridges within a short span of the river there, you would have two bike/ped crossings, one each on the outlier spans. That means the existing crossing on the George Mason Bridge and a new crossing on the downriver side of a new Long Bridge.

Superintendent Dottie Marshall (George Washington Memorial Parkway NPS) has made public her support for a bridge connection between Arlington County's Long Bridge Park to the Mount Vernon Trail crossing over the GWMP. That connection is being studied by the FHWA as part of the continuing 14th Street EIS.

Yes, as David Patton notes, the NPS-GWMP staff position has evolved over the past decade, from adamantly opposing a bike-ped overpass of the GWMP at Long Branch Park (between the current Metrorail and CSX railroad bridges) to supporting a *study* of this crossing in the ongoing 14th Street Bridge EIS.

I'd add, however, that this NPS "support" is possibly a delay tactic, since the NPS-GWMP also got this crossing *removed* from a separate Environmental Assessment study of the Long Branch Park, Roaches Run wildlife sanctuary, and Gravelly Point areas that had been funded by a Congressional earmark obtained by Rep. Jim Moran.

It remains to be seen what the 14th Street Bridge draft EIS will actually recommend, so stay tuned.

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