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Yeah, they really need to at least make it safe. About 10 years ago I climbed across, and it was scary then. If it's there, local kids are always gonna do it, no matter how much fencing you put up, and eventually someone will get hurt.

I recall about fifteen years ago the president of the Citizens Association of Georgetown fell to his death there.

I think that there's more to this than just WMATA and DDOT. NPS has veto power over projects on abutting land that impact their land. Also, I understand that Georgetown U has an ownership interest in one of the parcels, so they would have to go along with any plan to connect a trail through to Georgetown.

What's interesting is the way that WMATA is broke but DDOT seems to be flush right now.

Come January 20, I thought we would have the yuugest, bestest trestle along with all other infrastructure.

GU might have ownership where the lawn they mow, parallel to Canal RD, is located. But they don't own the bridge nor anything involving the old trolley path.
Honestly, GU needs to be involved with the trail as it extends into their area. I've already spoken with them a few years ago and at that time, they told me they were cool with the trail as long as it went around their property (Meaning another bridge from The Go Hoya sign to Prospect street)

Also, about a year ago, one NPS worker told me he thought it would cost more to tear down the bridge than repair it.
NPS, at one point many years ago, told WMATA that if the want to get rid of the bridge, they had to get rid of everything including the foundations.
Now that opinion was many years ago and NPS opinion towards the bridge may have changed. We shall see.
Based on that report, I think in 2017 we are going to see major progress on this bridge.

Finally, all of you may snicker, but the Gondola is a very serious project and this trail will connect with that project.
So stay tuned!

The best way to determine ownership -- although not infallible -- is to look at the DC Atlas: http://atlasplus.dcgis.dc.gov/

If you set the basemap to DC Property Basemap it shows you property lines and lot and square numbers. With those numbers you can go to the DC Real Property Assessment Database and look up the owner.


The stretch from Foxhall Road to the trestle is Square 1322 Lot 817, that's owned by WMATA.

The stretch from the trestle to roughly the entrance to Georgetown U is Square 1321, lot 822, also owned by WMATA.

The stretch from the Georgetown entrance to Prospect Street is Square 1321, lot 821, owned by Georgetown University.

There is also a stretch to the south which connects to Prospect Street as well, Square 1321 lot 811, also owned by Georgetown.

The map is a little unclear, but it looks like the land under the trestle itself is the right-of-way for a road that was never built, the Archbold Parkway, owned by the National Park Service.

So at a minimum, the stakeholders are WMATA, Georgetown, NPS and DDOT. There may be more than one operating unit of NPS involved, generally the parkways are managed separately from the parkland. I haven't been able to find a good source of information on which operating unit of NPS controls which land.

Back in 2000, Georgetown wanted to widen Fowler's Road, the road connecting Canal Street to the school and passing the old trolley abutment. WMATA argued that Georgetown couldn't do that without reimbursing them, they sued Georgetown and won. I suspect that after that, Georgetown bought the ROW east of the abutment, but they didn't own it in 2003 when the case was decided.


The case cited is interesting reading and provides good historical context for the trackway. It also shows how complex the ownership issues can be, in many cases it will take a court ruling to establish ownership authoritatively. Note that this case was appealed and the appeals court ruled 2-1, so in effect you have two judges ruling one way and two ruling the other.

Trivia buffs will note that the swing vote at the appeals court was Merrick Garland.

It's hard to imagine that Georgetown, having been through the effort and expense of a lawsuit, and then forced to buy the land, would just turn it over for a bike trail.

The lesson of the lawsuit is you never know what the future brings.

The 3 people I met at GU seemed okay with my idea as long as it went around the university.
I heard rumblings/rumors that there was mix feelings depending on who one would talk to there but personally I've never heard anything negative from them.
If DDOT takes over this project, then they will have to sit down with GU and talk out the project.
If the bridge gets fixed, the people going east will be walking/biking through their campus and GU will need to address that somehow.
As for turning over the actual rights to the property, I'm not even sure that's necessary. All they need to give is permission.

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