DDOT Begins Construction on Major Section of Metropolitan Branch Trail

I just received the following DDOT announcement which I think it great. If you’re a big user of the city’s many trails, you already know that they don’t all link up as nicely as they could. The Metropolitan Branch Trail aims to solve some of this, making it easier to bike, jog, etc. — whether for recreation or as your preferred route to work. The news release is as follows:

MBT(Washington, D.C.) Today, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Director Gabe Klein kicked off construction on a new section of the Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT), a proposed 8-mile multi-use trail that will stretch from Silver Spring to Union Station, connecting the Capital Crescent Trail, the Anacostia Tributaries Trail System and the National Mall.  The new construction section marks a milestone in creating a continuous trail from Catholic University to downtown DC.

“This is a fantastic step forward in transforming the District into a pedestrian and bicycle friendly city,” said Mayor Fenty. “When this trail is completed, walkers and bikers won’t have to compete with cars on our busiest streets – residents will have access to a trail that leads them through the heart of the city.”

As a commuter and recreational trail, MBT will link people to jobs, schools, stores and Metro. For Washington area residents and visitors, the trail will offer:

  • recreational opportunities
  • health benefits
  • bicycle commuting
  • access to and from the surrounding neighborhoods
  • access to public transportation

MBT Overview
MBT is named after the “Metropolitan Branch,” the first rail line built through the corridor by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The corridor is now home to Amtrak and Metro as well as freight lines. It is anchored by two significant railroad landmarks, Union Station and the old B & O Railroad station in Silver Spring.

Since the trail planning began in the 1990s, three segments are currently in place from New York Avenue to Union Station, 1st Street NE and John McCormack Road.

When completed, the new 1.5 mile addition to the trail will lead pedestrian and bikers over Florida Avenue, under New York Avenue and over Rhode Island Avenue, avoiding 18 lanes of heavily traveled roadway.  Construction on this section, from New York Avenue to Franklin Street NE, is expected to be completed this summer.

Ultimately, the trail will connect to metro stations at New York Avenue and Union Station; as well as the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station, upon completion of a bicycle/pedestrian bridge which is planned for the site.

“The Met Branch Trail will be an important pedestrian and bicycle route,” said Director Klein. “With the region’s air quality worsening, the trail will allow people to get out of their cars and bike to work or to a Metro station. It will safely link residents to jobs, schools, stores and public transportation.”

Trail Connections
The MBT will connect to the Capital Crescent Trail, the Anacostia Tributaries Trail System and the National Mall, and will be part of the East Coast Greenway. The MBT will serve as an important recreation and transportation route and will provide direct access to seven of Metro’s Red Line stations (and the Green line at Ft. Totten) and to the Marc trains in Silver Spring.  With bicycle racks on Metro buses and non-rush hour bicycle access on Metro, commuters can safely use a variety of alternative transportation options.

For additional information on the Metropolitan Branch Trail visit www.metbranchtrail.com/ or www.ddot.dc.gov.

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