Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Metropolitan Branch Trail Safety Open House June 22

Stephen Miller, bicycle advocate and coordinator for Urban Pathways for the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, will be hosting a Trail Safety Open House to discuss ways to protect users of the Metropolitan Branch Trail from crime, Wednesday, June 22, from 4:00p to 7:00p in the pocket park near S and 4th Streets NE.

The Metropolitan Branch Trail is a shared use trail that runs roughly parallel to the former B&O (currently CSX ) right-of-way, mostly in the Northeast quadrant of the District.  The trail will eventually cover approximately 8 miles from Union Station in the District to Silver Spring Metro Station in Maryland. Last May, an important segment opened that linked New York Avenue to Franklin Street NE and allowing a contiguous 1.5 mile car free route.

Recently, criminal activity has been reported on the trail with assailants appearing to target bicyclists. This informational
may prove useful in helping trail users avoid and even thwart crime. According to a posting by Stephen on the Met Branch Trail group page, the open house will give trail users the opportunity to meet the neighbors and users of the trail and instill a sense of camaraderie while fostering a safety discussion with the following organizations:
  • Representatives from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to speak with you about how MPD polices the trail and investigates criminal behavior
  • Staff from the District Department of Transportation to discuss trail lighting, trail design and maintenance
  • A video booth for you to express your concerns, suggestions and experiences as part of an educational film Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is producing on trail safety
  • Volunteers from the Guardian Angels to discuss the creation of a trail safety patrol. 
Initial plans as shown in the Metropolitan Branch Trail Public Art / Civic Design Sketchbook called for envisioned the conversion the of then fallow land into recreation / greenspace. While aspects of that plan are less certain today, this event will allow trail users an opportunity to discuss the future of the trail and current development surrounding it.

Update according to Metbranchtrail group:

Who will be there...
  • Guardian Angels to discuss the MBT volunteer safety patrol
  • MPD to discuss policing and safe behavior by trail users
  • DDOT to discuss trail maintenance and lighting
  • Rails-to-Trails Conservancy to discuss upcoming trail events
  • NoMa BID Ambassadors to discuss homeless & NoMa maintenance issues
  • Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) to help you will all questions bike-related
  • YOU! Meet neighbors and trail users as we work to keep our communities safe.
The forecast: Partly sunny with a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs around 90. Don't worry, we'll have a tent to keep you dry if a storm comes by!
At the event, we will have...
  • Video station for people to express their thoughts on MBT trail safety for a video Rails-to-Trails is producing
  • Free t-shirts and limited amount of bottled water
  • Sign-up sheets for MBT emails, MBT listserv and MBT volunteer safety patrol
  • Info sheet containing safety tips and contact information