Wednesday, November 27, 2013

BAC - FAC Meeting - Getting there by Getting Through NPS

Our December Bicycle Advisory Council Facilities Committee (BAC-FAC) meeting will be Monday, December 2 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Shaw's Tavern, 520 Florida Avenue NW.

The agenda includes discussion of fostering effective engagement with the National Park Service (NPS) and prioritizing projects which involve NPS property or an in District control but must adhere to certain NPS requirements.

The National Park Service operates several large and small parks in and around the District.

Some categorized the relationship between NPS and the region's bicyclists and pedestrians as cool at best and acrimonious at worst, with cyclists wanting expanded and safer access to NPS facilities and NPS being focusing on larger or high profile parks, preservation, and fiscal constraints.

However, NPS has initiated certain internal changes that may allow for greater access to its parks. Along with renewed cooperation with the District, NPS may be more open to making its parks more accessible. This meeting hope to discuss with issues are most critical for trail and park users.

While this meeting will focus of bicycle access, many concerns involve basic access for pedestrians or other non-motorists. So if you do not bicycle but run or walk, we also would like to hear your comments.

Items on the agenda include:

-Metropolitan Branch Trail - This trail provides an off-street route for bicyclists and pedestrians from NOMA to Edgewood in Northeast. While the southern portion of the trail is progressing, the section north of Brookland is incomplete.

-Oxon Run Trail - This trial that runs within Oxon Run Park in southeast provides an attractive walking and bicycling route. While the District has made some improvements to the trail, it lack safe connections to the nearby community and sections of it still require improvement.

-Arlington Memorial Bridge - This bridge serves as a connection for bicyclists and pedestrians who visit the National Mall or use the Mount Vernon Trail in Virginia. However, non-motorized access to the trail and large gaps in the roadway and sidewalk make use of the bridge hazardous.

-Fort Totten connector- This bike route would connect the Metropolitan Branch Trail to Northwest Branch Trail in Prince George's County. This link would allow potentially hundred of daily recreational riders and bike commuters safely access the Metropolitan Branch Trail.

-Rock Creek Park Trail - An asset to the District, Rock Creek Park offers residents and visitors an opportunity to commune with nature. However, the trail that runs adjacent to Rock Creek contains sections that are too narrow, creating unsafe conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians.

-Suitland Parkway Trail - This trail runs parallel with the Suitland Parkway between Martin Luther King Avenue SE and Alabama Avenue SE. While this is technically a NPS trail and the District sporadically performs maintenance under and an agreement, it is in poor condition and lacks safe connections to adjacent neighborhoods.

-Woodrow Wilson (WW) Bridge Trail Connection - While not a trail that exists in the District, BAC FAC supports a connection from South Capitol Street to it. This connection would allow bicyclists and pedestrians to access the WW trail, which would allow access to Alexandria and the National Harbor in Prince George's County. The current route is circuitous and requires scaling a relatively substantial hill in Oxon Run park.

This is not a final list, but is a pretty good start.

Please contact Jeanie Osburn (, chair of this committee for more information or to add a topic to this list. There is a reservation in Ms. Osburn's name as well as under Bicycle Advisory Council.  The nearest Bikeshare station is New Jersey Avenue and R Street NW and 7th and T Streets NW. Metrorail is also accessible using the Shaw-Howard University station on the Green and Yellow lines (7th and S Street exit).

Hope to see you next Monday at Shaw's Tavern and please feel free to pass this information on to anyone you think is interested.