Greater Greater Washington

A former trolley line could become a walking and biking trail from the Palisades to Georgetown

During DC's streetcar era, the Glen Echo line ran from Georgetown to Glen Echo Park along a path through the Palisades. But for 52 years, this land has lain dormant. It could turn into a trail to get people on foot and bike between these neighborhoods.


Photo by the author.

The right-of-way is 3.11 miles from Georgetown to Galena Road in the Palisades, which is one block north of the Palisades Recreation Center. The District government owns the part west of Foxhall Road, in the map below. Pepco currently uses the land to access utility poles. Some residents use it for jogging, walking, or pet exercise.


Map of the trail segment west of Foxhall Road.

However, gaps split up the trail. It had a number of trestle bridges which fell into disuse and neglect. They were demolished in the 1970s. There is also no agency consistently maintaining this right-of-way. There are no trash cans. Fences are broken. Storm drainage is inadequate, and the trail is eroding.

And yet, as one walks along the trail, the views along this trail are the best in all of DC. The scenery overlooking the Potomac River is stunning.


Photo by Doug Dupin.

The trail was once wide enough to accommodate two trolleys, about 25 feet. On this section, the trail would need to be paved, and the bridges rebuilt. Even with paving just 10 feet wide the trail could have room for bicyclists, joggers, and others to enjoy this resource.

There is some community opposition to paving and to restoring the bridges. Some people who live near the trail have posted signs arguing the trail is better in its "natural" state.


Photo by Doug Dupin.

East of Foxhall Road toward Georgetown University, there has been little opposition to restoring the trail. On that section the trail rises over Glover Archbold Park on the Foundry Branch bridge, one of four remaining bridges from the old Glen Echo Trolley line and by far the largest.


Photo by the author.

From there, the trail would continue past Georgetown University's campus and then to Prospect and 37th Streets. WMATA currently owns this section of the trail.

There is already a trail in this area, the Capital Crescent Trail along the C&O Canal. However, that is much lower in elevation. It doesn't easily connect to neighborhoods along the way, and ends down below the Whitehurst Freeway. The trolley trail, instead, would stop one block from the top of the Exorcist steps. One resident, after walking this section of the trail, exclaimed, "Now I can ride my bike to the Apple Store on Wisconsin Avenue!"

Maryland is currently retrofitting one trolley bridge at Glen Echo Park as part of the MacArthur Boulevard bike path, and the Foundry Branch Bridge is likely salvageable as well. Residents are waiting for a report from WMATA about the condition of the bridge.

The Palisades and communities along MacArthur Boulevard have limited transit options, with only periodic service from the D5 and D6 buses. At the same time, parking and traffic are continual problems in Georgetown. The Glen Echo trolley trail could offer a sustainable transportation option to Palisades residents and visitors, while improving connectivity to Georgetown.

Here's a 15-minute video showing what it's like to traverse the trail today:

You can sign up here to stay in the loop about the trail.

Brett Young has lived in Chicago, Los Angeles and has been a resident of Washington DC for 4 years. By day, he is a IT contractor for the federal government. He has become fascinated by how effective cycling can move residents over great distances while avoiding traffic. He feels that there are many great projects waiting to be built in DC to improve the region. 

Comments

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It is a great trail, and it should be improved. However, you don't have to turn it into a bike trail. Those of us on foot have rights too.

by charlie on Jun 4, 2014 11:27 am • linkreport

It doesn't have to be a bike trail, but it will likely need to be ADA compliant. It's hard to imagine an ADA-compliant trail that won't work for bikes. And why wouldn't DC want cyclists to use it too? No one is advocating a trail that pedestrians can't use. What an odd comment.

by David C on Jun 4, 2014 11:33 am • linkreport

@charlie: What do you consider to be the line between improving the trail and turning it into a bike trail?

by Gray on Jun 4, 2014 11:34 am • linkreport

You do realize the 3rd picture does a horrible job of supporting the text immediately above it, right?

by JayTee on Jun 4, 2014 11:36 am • linkreport

@Gray; pavement.

by charlie on Jun 4, 2014 11:37 am • linkreport

Given how bad traffic gets in this part of the city and how bad the D6 bus service can be, why not restore the streetcar line?

by sallym on Jun 4, 2014 11:38 am • linkreport

It would be great if this trail got upgraded but there should be no dog-walking allowed. I got bit by a dog when I was younger and when I see those animals bouncing around I find it terrifying. If people want to walk dogs they should find an appropriate dog park.

by renegade09 on Jun 4, 2014 11:42 am • linkreport

Charlie

Pedestrians walk on pavement all the time. Depending on footwear and walking style many much prefer to walk on pavement. And of course wheel chair users need pavement.

I could see a cost argument against paving it, or a permeable surface argument, or whatever. But what
pedestrian gain is there from not paving it, other than keeping bikes (other than mountain bikes) off it?

Sally

Too expensive, I imagine - is there enough ridership and/or development potential to justify the capital cost?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jun 4, 2014 11:43 am • linkreport

Some friends and I once tried to traverse the existing "trail" as a historical expedition out the old Cabin John line during leaf-free months. Regrettably, we hit no choice but to backtrack or trespass hitting the dead end at Clark Place, and eventually took a D6 out to Sibley to try to resume the journey.

I like the idea of a trail, but would like it more if it had a more natural look to it, meaning crushed stone instead of marked asphalt paving. Not sure how that works for ADA, or even the degree to which a natural trail is required to be in compliance with ADA.

by Lord Baltimore on Jun 4, 2014 11:43 am • linkreport

There is certainly a contingent of people who oppose this trail, most of whom live right next to it and consider it part of their backyards. One group pays to have the grass cut along that trail, and benefits greatly from not having the trail ADA compliant. I've heard comments that their children would no longer be safe if a trail was constructed. Not really much different from that fence building fella along the Purple line.

This is listed in the Move DC plan and should be moved to a fast track.

by fongfong on Jun 4, 2014 11:46 am • linkreport

RE Streetcar restoration, it would be neat to see, but even when this streetcar line was running, during an era when the transit riding percentage was higher than today, it typically ran little better than 20 minute headways.

When it was abandoned, the bus service did not last long, and grew to be more geared towards Cabin John excursions. The only service that comes close to mirroring it today is the D5, which only is sustainable enough to run in peaks.

by Lord Baltimore on Jun 4, 2014 11:48 am • linkreport

Huh I didnt know they were putting a bike path on MacArthur, this would make a nice feeder/complement/bridge between that corridor and the Capital Crescent Trail.

I don't think it's a problem for bikes and peds to share, as long as it's at least 10' feet wide and cyclists yield to people on foot.

by BTA on Jun 4, 2014 11:50 am • linkreport

I've always wondered if it might make sense somehow to restore this ROW as a transit line. I know there isn't necessarily high density around the area, but I'm just curious if anybody has any ideas of where the line could reach out to that might make sense. The ROW of a new light rail line could have a green track bed and heavy foliage along it which may allow a trail as well. Next time I have a free moment I'll take a hike along it and see what it looks like.

by Dan on Jun 4, 2014 11:52 am • linkreport

Would a compromise be to pave a 6' stretch for two way bike traffic and leave say 4'-6' in a more natural state?

by BTA on Jun 4, 2014 11:53 am • linkreport

I suspect it would be incredibly hard to justify a streetcar that didnt make it to downtown, even if it gets you to the edge of Georgetown.

by BTA on Jun 4, 2014 11:54 am • linkreport

@BTA, do you think it would make sense to connect it to the K street line sending it downtown?

I think it would definitely be a stretch in terms of sustainable ridership, but I'm curious of what the proposed ridership numbers would be. It could also be pretty nice on the weekends for people trying to access the park space.

by Dan on Jun 4, 2014 11:57 am • linkreport

Like the purple line history suggests, when you have an existing trolley R.O.W., think long and hard before you give it away to a trail. Development patterns change over time.

by Thayer-D on Jun 4, 2014 11:57 am • linkreport

If we're going to upgrade a trail, I would prefer it to be the Archbold Parkway trail. This other trail doesn't really go anywhere. The Capital Crescent Trail has got you covered for points west and north-west.

by renegade09 on Jun 4, 2014 11:59 am • linkreport

Thayer

Those are built out SFH home neighborhoods the whole length. And affluent ones at that. It would take a Napoleon to get high density there (even if the rest of soft parcels in the city were built out, and what's the likelihood of that?) Its also not comparable to the Purple line - unlike the Purple Line, there IS an existing heavy rail metro line parallel to it that goes to the dense activity centers in MoCo that this could be conceivably lead to. plus the possibility of a Wisc Avenue street car.

Does it make sense to forego a viable and very useful trail for a rail line that at the earliest would be on the agenda in 50 years, and likely not even then? That would suggest never building trails anywhere. Is that what you are suggesting?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jun 4, 2014 12:06 pm • linkreport

Improving Archibold-Glover Parkway trail is also a good idea. It's a relatively gentle slope that connects Tenleytown to Georgetown.

As DCWater upgrades the sewers in that area, I hope they can build the access roads with future use as some kind of non-motorized trail.

by Neil Flanagan on Jun 4, 2014 12:07 pm • linkreport

Neil,

Do you know what the current status of that DC Water project is? I remember reading something a while back about it but haven't heard anything recently.

by Dan on Jun 4, 2014 12:10 pm • linkreport

Sally, the streetcar would be too expensive. It wouldn't be able to go to Maryland on the old route. Neighbors would go ballistic. And the density is too low to make it worthwhile.

by David C on Jun 4, 2014 12:13 pm • linkreport

Yeah I think the density is just too low and employment in the area is negligible. Literally just about everyone within a half mile would have to ride it every day to justify a streetcar.

by BTA on Jun 4, 2014 12:16 pm • linkreport

think long and hard before you give it away to a trail. Development patterns change over time.

Unlike the Purple Line, there is absolutely no plan to return this to transit use. So no reason to worry.

by David C on Jun 4, 2014 12:18 pm • linkreport

Would a compromise be to pave a 6' stretch for two way bike traffic and leave say 4'-6' in a more natural state?

While in principle something like that could make sense (or make it 8'+8', I think that any pavement is viewed by some as converting this from a semi-public greenspace for casual outdoor activity into a busier, fully public, higher use space, and that itself is a problem.

by ah on Jun 4, 2014 12:19 pm • linkreport

This other trail doesn't really go anywhere

Except the Palisades, Foxhall and Georgetown. And then it connects in to the CCT, MacArthur Blvd and the C&O Canal.

by David C on Jun 4, 2014 12:19 pm • linkreport

By the way, the article says that WMATA owns the ROW from the foundry branch bridge to 37th Street, across the Georgetown campus.

How exactly does that work currently, or would it in the future? That area seems heavily built up by Georgetown, both campus buildings and road, as well as the new campus entrance off Canal road. Where would a trail go?

by ah on Jun 4, 2014 12:21 pm • linkreport

Maybe WMATA just inherited an old easement?

by BTA on Jun 4, 2014 12:25 pm • linkreport

@Lord Baltimore. I've hiked the whole DC section, there are trails down to the road, even at Clark Place.

Neighborhood, NIMBY-style, save-the-trail opposition is going to be a real issue here. For example, the last house on Potomac Ave NW, just above Clark Place, has built a garden on the ROW. They're not going to be pleased to have that taken away. Of course, they don't own the land, but that won't matter.

by David C on Jun 4, 2014 12:26 pm • linkreport

How exactly does that work currently, or would it in the future?

DC would have to buy or swap the land with WMATA. WMATA owns a strip of land from the bridge to the old abutment(now with HOYA SAXA painted on it) and then on the other side of the driveway between Prospect and Canal.

WMATA did inherit this land from Capital Transit, and they're required to use the revenue from it to fund bus improvements. When Georgetown rebuilt the driveway a few years ago, WMATA sued them claiming that they were widening it and thus owed them money, but the courts sided with Georgetown. The only two people interested in buying this from WMATA are probably GU and DC, so it's probably not worth that much.

by David C on Jun 4, 2014 12:32 pm • linkreport

I'll also throw my hat in for improving Glover Archbold before this one. Assuming that would actually open it to bikes (I think it's fine for walking). Currently you cannot ride there per the NPS signs.

And I can imagine how much opposition either proposals would generate.

by RDHD on Jun 4, 2014 12:45 pm • linkreport

sorry charlie

by NE John on Jun 4, 2014 12:49 pm • linkreport

"This trail is great in its natural state."

But it could be GREATER; Greater Great Glen Echo Trail.

by John Henry Holliday on Jun 4, 2014 1:02 pm • linkreport

This is an excellent idea. As noted, the Palisades has limited transit service but demand for transportation options will grow with the proposed mixed-use Safeway, Sibley hospital expansion, and continued development of Georgetown.

Maryland is also making bicycle improvements to MacArthur Blvd, including widening the shoulders. Linking this Glen Echo trail to MacArthur Blvd could make this a regionally significant bike route.

Finally, the comment about not wanting this to become a bike trail (at the expense of excluding pedestrians) is strange. The W&OD trail is a good example of a multi-use trail that accommodates all users.

by 202_Cyclist on Jun 4, 2014 1:05 pm • linkreport

6 feet paved trails don't even meet the minimum AASHTO guidelines, which are 8 feet, which is at least 3 feet too narrow.

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/pedbike/05138/05138.pdf

and it is but another example of discoordinated infrastructure planning to not have improvement of the Glover-Archbold trail as part of the DCWASA project.

by Richard Layman on Jun 4, 2014 1:39 pm • linkreport

Could compacted gravel be a compromise? I have used several compacted gravel trails which retained a nature feel yet they still where bike-able.

by Joey on Jun 4, 2014 1:43 pm • linkreport

How far out did the old trolley line go (to the NW) past Glen Echo Park?

by DaveG on Jun 4, 2014 1:49 pm • linkreport

also, this situation reminds me of the trails in Catonsville, which were old trolley lines, and now well appreciated local infrastructure. Of course, the abutting issues in DC are different from Catonsville, where the trail, when abandoned, was used as a dumping ground and the order vacuum contributed to other problems.

The thing is to find some people in the neighborhood who favor the idea of a usable trail open to others...

Kit Valentine, a resident who wasn't originally a cyclist, but got involved because of the negative impact of the abandoned trail on the neighborhood, was the impetus behind trail creation in Greater Catonsville.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-county/catonsville/ph-ca-kit-valentine-combats-cancer-0212-20140225,0,4718073.story

by Richard Layman on Jun 4, 2014 1:50 pm • linkreport

Compacted gravel, crushed stone, or whatever you want to call it is already the surface for the CCT from Bethesda to Silver Spring, as is most of the C&O Canal Towpath, if anyone wants to see what such a surface is like. It does indeed have a more natural feel and is permeable, to boot.

by DaveG on Jun 4, 2014 1:52 pm • linkreport

@Joey, et al:

Perhaps gravel could be a compromise but if you don't have pavement, it limits the number of bicyclists who can use the trail and will likely make the trail not usable in the winter when there is snow.

by 202_Cyclist on Jun 4, 2014 1:53 pm • linkreport

The old trolley went all the way to the cabin john bridge where it served a hotel there.

by David C on Jun 4, 2014 2:15 pm • linkreport

Dave G,

Not too far beyond Glen Echo. The old 20 trolley line looped at CABIN JOHN which was situated south of McArthur just east of the Cabin John Parkway.

by Lord Baltimore on Jun 4, 2014 2:17 pm • linkreport

OK I can even see the loop on the Google Map. Interesting place name, Cabin John:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabin_John,_Maryland

by DaveG on Jun 4, 2014 2:24 pm • linkreport

As the author of the article I will address the feasibility of a trolley line on that right of way
1) There would be 100x times negative feedback that I've been getting for attempting to partially pave the trail
2)Population Density -Is there enough?
3)Access for surround area to get to trolley: Each road in the area is a two way street that cannot be widened. The traffic jams to get to the trolley would be maddening
4)Cliff erosion -There are significant areas of cliff erosion all along the trail. Especially the area from Foxhall Dr to Clark
5) Water Pipes underneath trail. We are still working with DC Water to get maps of what is underneath, but we think the pipes underneath might not be able to support a trolley (Not 100% positive, but still waiting for conclusive evidence)
6) The only way to address population density is to make it go all the way to the 495. That involves, somehow getting the trolley over to The Brookmont neighborhood in MD (Who I surmise would also be against a trolley) But after that, it could go to Glen Echo park (And the city of Glen Echo might be against it too), then somehow be in the Middle of the Cabin John Parkway to the 495. I think that's the only way the line would be feasible.
Even though I think thats a big longshot, I bike through the Glen Echo Folk Festival over the weekend and saw the tons of cars waiting to get there and shook my head at how little forsight DC had when ending this line. It still stings the region today.

by Brett Young on Jun 4, 2014 2:27 pm • linkreport

@AH
"How exactly does that work currently, or would it in the future? That area seems heavily built up by Georgetown, both campus buildings and road, as well as the new campus entrance off Canal road. Where would a trail go?"

Trail would either go through the GU campus or a second bridge could be built on the Lawn parallel to Canal RD then ascend to Prospect St.
There use to be a bridge there called Bridge #1.
You can still see "Go Hoya" painted on the foundation of the bridge

by Brett Young on Jun 4, 2014 2:28 pm • linkreport

To add onto what Brett said, regarding a streetcar on the Glen Echo right-of-way, there isn't the density along this route to support that investment but we just saw the GGW post yesterday about the H Street streetcar delays. It would be decades before a route on the Glen Echo trail could be built, if it was built at all. This could be a great multi-use trail in the near/mid-term.

by 202_Cyclist on Jun 4, 2014 2:33 pm • linkreport

This link has old photos of the trail soon after the line was decommissioned. Someone walked the whole trail and took pictures of it
http://capitaltransit.home.comcast.net/~capitaltransit/rh/20/index.html
Photo #12 is on top of the Foundry Branch bridge looking at Foxhall RD.
It says Arizona because at one point that road was named Arizona Parkway

by Brett Young on Jun 4, 2014 2:37 pm • linkreport

One more. Here is a photo I got from MLK library
To the left shows the bridge that use to be called Bridge #1 (went across GU Lawn parallel to Canal RD)
https://www.flickr.com/photos/jojopuppyfish/11696630503/in/set-72157639283546816

by Brett Young on Jun 4, 2014 2:39 pm • linkreport

From a Palisader... We need a neighborhood trail to get into town. CCT and the canal towpath are not easy to access from the Palisades. Peds and bikes are not mutually exclusive. Personally I would like to see paved trail, but can live with unpaved, but connect the 3-4 segments of the RIght of Way with eco-friendly bridges. Right now the only Palisades residents who can enjoy the stunning views and nature are those living next to it who can walk there. I would need to drive, walk some blocks. If connected, kids living at all ends of the trail could ride their bikes to the rec center and nearby schools.
Bollards and small roundabouts would deter use by faster bikers, while still usable by slower bikes, peds, strollers, etc.

by Cat woman on Jun 4, 2014 2:41 pm • linkreport

This trail parallels the CCT and C&O canals. I'd rather see funds spent improving trails and access in other, less-well served parts of the city such as completing the MBT or other trail connections to points East.

by Sam on Jun 4, 2014 2:53 pm • linkreport

Ideally, National Capitol Trolley Museum would have been a good fit for a reuse of much of the 20 line right of way, as not only would it have been historically accurate, but it could have functioned as an ersatz streetcar line during events at Glen Echo.

I'd think the trestles would have been a bear to maintain, and the neighborhood might eventually view it as an eyesore, but it is still nice to envision how the line might have remained in something akin to its original form.

by Lord Baltimore on Jun 4, 2014 2:56 pm • linkreport

...Just run a small bus down the trail every half hour and see if anyone takes it. A BRT with its own right of way!

by JimT on Jun 4, 2014 2:59 pm • linkreport

No go JimT. We only do what Nimby's tell us, unless they are in a poor neighborhood.

by Thayer-D on Jun 4, 2014 3:02 pm • linkreport

@sam
"This trail parallels the CCT and C&O canals. I'd rather see funds spent improving trails and access in other, less-well served parts of the city such as completing the MBT or other trail connections to points East. "

Why not both? Why does it have to be a choice?
Did we make a choice between building the 495 & the 270 freeways? No We built both. And it makes the highway system more powerful.
Same thing with a bicycle system....and there is more width on this trail than the CCT so it can easily accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists

by Brett Young on Jun 4, 2014 3:09 pm • linkreport

Clearly Cat Woman is a YIMBY in this case (yes, in my backyard [please]) :-)

by DaveG on Jun 4, 2014 3:10 pm • linkreport

Even if this trail never gets built (I hope it does), local connections to both the CCT and C&O Towpath should still be improved where possible. Perhaps there are already such plans in the works.

by DaveG on Jun 4, 2014 3:16 pm • linkreport

Adding to Brett's photos, here's an aerial from 1964 of Georgetown showing Bridge #1 over the entrance to Georgetown.

http://www.historicaerials.com/aerials.php?scale=8E-06&lat=38.905609175599&lon=-77.0754967636719&year=1964

by Greg on Jun 4, 2014 3:17 pm • linkreport

Posted my comment too soon, but you can also use that link to see the other bridges on the rest of the trolley line.

by Greg on Jun 4, 2014 3:19 pm • linkreport

@Sam - it is worth adding that the connectivity to the CCT & C&O is really poor along the entire length of the proposed trail and the lower trails are at a very different grade than the actual parallel neighborhoods.

There are some long stretches where the only way to get to the CCT & the C&O is by dashing across the Clara Barton parkway and the termination point of this proposed trail puts you at the edge of the Georgetown campus in the heart of Upper Georgetown, points that are a good distance away and very difficult to access from the parallel trails across ped and bike unfriendly Canal Road.

In addition to Georgetown University the Palisades Rec center and Georgetown Days lower school are right on top of the trail and again none of those institutions have access to the existing trails.

Also worth noting is this would create a nice way to get from Tenleytown to both ends of the trail (and again the adjoining neighborhoods) via Battery Kemble Park - yes you can currently clamber down a ravine and even go through a low clearance tunnel under the Clara Barton here but it is not a pleasant experience and leaves you with the above referenced connectivity challenges to adjacent areas.

by TomQ on Jun 4, 2014 3:22 pm • linkreport

This would make a great single lane busway for express service inbound in the a.m. and outbound in the p.m.

by Mr. Transit on Jun 4, 2014 3:41 pm • linkreport

I think what Charlie was trying to say in the very first comment (unless I'm wrong) is that some trails should be reserved for foot traffic only. I agree, but those sorts of trails are generally not found on former rail line ROWs. You usually find those sorts of trails in more natural settings such as woods, marshes, mountains, etc. The reason for this is that those sort of wilder trails are generally narrower and naturally surfaced (dirt). There, for the hiking-only experience, it is best to restrict bicycles, horses, etc. to other trails. In the case of rail trails such as this proposed trolley trail, this is why they are built wider (8'+) so as to accommodate multiple uses. Compare the CCT to the hiker-only Appalachian Trail and you will see what I mean. Of course, this does not mean a trail such as the AT cannot use a multi-use trail or bridge from time to time. I believe the AT does just that where needed.

by DaveG on Jun 4, 2014 3:56 pm • linkreport

Rock Creek Park and a number of other parks in the DC area (such as Grover Archbold) do contain some hiker-only trails.

by DaveG on Jun 4, 2014 4:00 pm • linkreport

The Glover-Archibald trail is also a hiker only trail.

by David C on Jun 4, 2014 4:15 pm • linkreport

Trails for bikes vs. trails for pedestrians.

Solution: do both.

Visit Minneapolis, check out the trails around the Lakes. One is designated for pedestrians, the other for bikes. It works like a charm.

Example:
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-TyK3Hwciw9k/T-9KNoS3liI/AAAAAAAABls/GRlQXJZDDj8/s1600/CIMG4138.JPG

And from the Midtown Greenway, along an old rail ROW:
http://thegreenwayguy.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/DSC010792.jpg

by Alex B. on Jun 4, 2014 4:24 pm • linkreport

I've thought for years a portion of The cabin john line
would have made a better home for the DC streetcar museum than
Wheaton Regional park.

by scratchy on Jun 4, 2014 4:26 pm • linkreport

Is there any reason why this proposed Glen Echo Trolley Trail cannot go all the way to the Cabin John Bridge? Or beyond...

by DaveG on Jun 4, 2014 4:48 pm • linkreport

@DaveG:

I'll defer to Brett but on the Maryland side you have less residential and employment density than is located in the Palisades and the shoulders are wider on MacArthur Blvd for recreational cyclists. The shoulder on the inbound lane on MacArthur Blvd in Maryland is already a de facto bike path.

by 202_Cyclist on Jun 4, 2014 4:55 pm • linkreport

Thing about the National Capital Trolley Museum (actually in Northwest Branch Park...a continuation of WRP) is it has space to run a rail line for in-park excursions. Actually that isn't a bad idea...build this trail and restore a single track next to it for the trolley excursions...but is there room anywhere along the line to move the museum to? At Glen Echo Park? Elsewhere...maybe at the old Cabin John Bridge turnaround?

by DaveG on Jun 4, 2014 4:57 pm • linkreport

@DaveG:
"Is there any reason why this proposed Glen Echo Trolley Trail cannot go all the way to the Cabin John Bridge? Or beyond..."

Since the trolley stopped running 50 years ago the Dalecarlia Water Treatment Plant was built on some of the land so it is no longer contiguous past the DC line. Also, in the section between Galena Road and Dalecarlia the path goes very close to houses, literally in the back yard (and sometimes the front yard). That section has been taken over by small-time Cliven Bundys and would be difficult to wrest back. It is also paralleled by a street with very little traffic and good sidewalks, so a trail would be of little use there.

by contrarian on Jun 4, 2014 5:21 pm • linkreport

David C - hiker-only trails are generally not ADA-compliant, don't need to be and shouldn't be. Again, some trails should be hiker-only, which means just that...you need to be able to walk on them. Can't be making all of nature accessible except within reason. As opposed to the man-made environment. Interestingly, the requirement for accessible facilities has led to the situation where some hiker huts in the White Mts. of NH, I believe, are now accessible. Of course, getting there first is the problem but has actually been done by at least one disabled hiker/trail wheelchair user :-)

by DaveG on Jun 4, 2014 5:29 pm • linkreport

@contrarian - you are correct. There do seem to be adequate streets/sidewalks where following the actual railbed alignment is impossible. There is also the CCT around and through the Dalecarlia plant which offers an obvious route through that area. I would hope that similar workarounds are possible the rest of the way, and MacArthur Blvd. itself offers bike lane possibilities as someone above mentioned.

by DaveG on Jun 4, 2014 5:35 pm • linkreport

DaveG,

Well I'd argue that the functions of trails like the AT and trails like this one or the W&OD are different.

The AT is definitely meant to provide access to nature and wilderness and part of that is to be uninstrusive as much as possible. While the AT is certainly used to get from A to B part of the experience is to be on the trail so there is intrinsic value to keeping it rugged (though I'll gladly welcome more wilderness experiences that can accomodate people with disabilities).

Those concerns aren't as present for a potential trail that cuts through several developed neigbhorhoods and is located in what is already ROW for transportation. A trail here would have a natural element and people certainly will use it to just stroll but I don't think that should come over the expense of using it as sustainable transportation infrastructure. There's a clear need for urban trails and that necessitates being way more accomodating to all users and having a clear mandate to serve cyclists as well as walkers.

/I don't know where the border is between those two contexts is though. So far its a "I know it when I see it" thing.

by drumz on Jun 4, 2014 5:41 pm • linkreport

@drumz - Yes and I agree. I think Charlie will just have to settle for hiking this possible trail while and as it currently exists, although I can see why he and others enjoy being able to walk it without contending with other types of trail uses. Although it seems that he already has to deal with the occasional mountain biker such as the guy who shot the video; presumably, Brett :-)

by DaveG on Jun 4, 2014 5:54 pm • linkreport

@Davidg
Is there any reason why this proposed Glen Echo Trolley Trail cannot go all the way to the Cabin John Bridge? Or beyond...

-Main reason, for me, is that I have my hands full with this segment. I also live in DC and not Maryland.

But here are the potential problems with the Glen Echo Trail going toward Glen Echo Park
1) The trail I am proposing terminates at Galena. It wont directly connect to the rest of the Glen echo trolley trail
2) The Glen Echo Trolley trail, going north would begin at the CCT. It would have to cut through the woods, build a bridge over a creek that would be as big if not bigger than the foundry branch bridge(And get NPS approval), then connect to where Broad st & Ridge St meet (in a horseshoe) at the Brookmont neighborhood. I am going to assume that neighborhood would be against this as you'd be connect with the CCT. Those streets are currently 1 way and would have to lose that designation for bikes to legally ride on that street.
It would quickly connect with the old trolley trail through that neighborhood til it exited that neighborhood. At that point WMATA owns the trail, so after they turn that property over to MD you could ride all the way to Glen Echo park and then connect with the current MacArthur Trail.
Also, keep in mind that there currently is a path of Macarthur blvd.
Bottom line, too much for me to take on.....although I think reading one of David Cranor's old blog I think MD did consider it at one point.

by Brett Young on Jun 4, 2014 6:22 pm • linkreport

Right, part of the ROW in Maryland is on Montgomery county's long range plan. But connecting Brookmont to the CCT is going to be very hard. While a md segment would be in the same area as the McArthur Blvd trail, it would be away from the road in the woods. It could make a nice compliment to that much lilt the trail parallel to the CCT north of the Reservoir.

by David C on Jun 4, 2014 6:35 pm • linkreport

Richard Layman had the best ever idea about what to do with the trolley museum. He suggested moving it to the Blue Castle (AKA the Navy Yard carbarn). Then have it run its stock between the baseball stadium and Union station via Barracks Road. A rolling museum that's also a transit system.

by David C on Jun 4, 2014 6:41 pm • linkreport

Why does any trail have to be ADA compliant? Good God, most trails in the national parks are not ADA compliant. No one has had the chutpah yet to sue claiming that wheelchairs have the right to get all the way down the Grand Canyon.

by Jack on Jun 4, 2014 7:59 pm • linkreport

I agree with a prior comment that a paved bike trail through Glover Archibold Park -- say from Van Ness/Tenleytown down to the CC Trail in Georgetown would be a great thing. It would connect a lot of neighborhoods to the trail network. It is worth considering, especially because DC Water has to replace mains under the park.

by Jack on Jun 4, 2014 8:05 pm • linkreport

Great idea but sad for the days of traveling to Glen Echo.
See the video showing the trail.

by Eddie on Jun 4, 2014 9:16 pm • linkreport

Am I correct that the old trolley ROW follows Broad St. in Brookmont? If so, who owns it now? MoCo? After Brookmont you'd be at MacArthur anyway. Even if the trail didn't go past the CCT into MoCo, from Galena it could continue up Sherier, turn left onto Norton then you'd want to formalize the social trail that goes from Norton to the CCT.

by DaveG on Jun 4, 2014 9:19 pm • linkreport

Oops I meant after Broad St. you'd be almost to MacArthur.

by DaveG on Jun 4, 2014 9:21 pm • linkreport

@davidg
ROW in MD is owned by WMATA

As for Past Galena, people already bike on it, so no need to do anything with right of way. DDOT could put bike lanes on Sherier if they choose to right now.

by Brett Young on Jun 4, 2014 9:25 pm • linkreport

@Jack - because some trails such as the CCT are easily made accessible and it is known they will be heavily used including for transportation and not just recreation, so they should be made ADA compliant. Of course the reasons for applying the ADA are not always that simple, but even so no reasonable person even when ADA is considered is going to think that the trails going down into the Grand Canyon must be made accessible, nor the AT let alone those going up Mt. Whitney, just to cite a few examples.

by DaveG on Jun 4, 2014 9:29 pm • linkreport

Why does any trail have to be ADA compliant?

It all has to do with where the money comes from. If federal Rec Trails money is used, it would not necessarily have to be (though it helps); but if Transportation Alternatives money is, then it might be required. But there probably isn't enough Rec Trails money in DC to do this.

So if this is funded with park money it could be just a hiking trail, but DDOT is not going to be interested in putting it's money into something that isn't a transportation facility. And transportation means ADA compliant.

by David C on Jun 4, 2014 9:35 pm • linkreport

@Brett - That's great!! Then a connection can be made across the Little Falls Branch between the CCT and Broad St? And in the case of any unchangeable one-way streets, you'd just sharrow in the direction of motor traffic, then add contraflow bike lanes the other way to solve the problem. Sounds to me like we can have a trail from the Exorcist Steps all the way to Cabin John Bridge, then...or at least as bike lanes on MacArthur :-)

by DaveG on Jun 4, 2014 9:45 pm • linkreport

I am definitely in support of the trail, and I totally get the ADA and funding aspect. My only thing is, speaking as a history buff and railfan, that I wish such a trail could be done in crushed stone instead of asphalt, as it would preserve more of the historic aesthetic of the old rail line, similar to the Northern Central trail in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Seeing striped and marked asphalt where there once was ballast, ties, and rails, just removes so much of the pre existing rustic character of such rights of way.

by Lord Baltimore on Jun 4, 2014 10:33 pm • linkreport

Considering that the suggested trail is a former railbed running through a residential neighborhood, *not* making it accessible would be a pretty shameful case of ignoring the needs of people with disabilities.

by David R. on Jun 4, 2014 10:47 pm • linkreport

Seeing striped and marked asphalt where there once was ballast, ties, and rails, just removes so much of the pre existing rustic character of such rights of way.

Fair enough. But the benefits of paving it outweigh the cost of the "lost rustic character." We mustn't let nostalgia ruin our future.

by David C on Jun 4, 2014 11:59 pm • linkreport

If the Google Maps are any guide, if you zoom in close enough you can see the property lines for all the parcels in the Sherien and Norton St. area. You can make out where the trolley line went as it's a long narrow strip of land. I realize it's not any sort of official property map, but I can see where it goes between houses and even through current front yards. I don't know if it was ever turned over to any private owner there or not. It would be great to follow the original alignment where possible. Imagine such a trail literally 15 feet from your front door, although that may be too close for comfort for many. Regardless, it does seem easier and a source of less conflict with residents to simply follow Sherien and Norton Sts. with wider sidewalks and/or bike lanes.

Many factors are involved in the choice of asphalt, crushed stone, natural surface, etc. for any trail, including ADA factors, cost, location, etc. One can compare the adjacent CCT and C&O Towpath. The C&O has history behind it and is as not well suited for commuting as the CCT. The CCT is so heavily used between Bethesda and Georgetown it just about had to be paved. Although the portion between Bethesda and Silver Spring was done in crushed stone because asphalt trail would be redone anyway due to Purple Line construction. Given how this proposed Glen Echo Trolley Trail would go through such populated areas and be heavily used for both transportation and recreation, I think it would be best to pave it with asphalt or other hard surface. Plaques explaining the rail history can and should be placed along the trail. There's also no reason why historical trolley artifacts such as signal towers, signs, etc. can't be placed, too. If my idea about restoring any of one track for trolley excursions ever comes to fruition, that track should be the one further away from the Potomac so trail users and trolley riders can always have the river in view. As for running historical trolleys in DC itself, yes, it would be neat to run historic cars on any modern streetcar track from time to time, if technically feasible.

by DaveG on Jun 5, 2014 5:21 am • linkreport

Now that I think about it some more, the GETT would be more accessible to the neighborhoods it goes through than the CCT or C&O Towpath which might not be such a bad thing. The CCT would handle the heavy through traffic, the Glen Echo Trolley Trail (GETT) more local traffic while the C&O would offer a rustic experience directly on water. Of course, reasonable improvements in access to all these trails should still be pursued.

by DaveG on Jun 5, 2014 5:32 am • linkreport

@davidg
Someone gave me an old map of where the trolley went from Galena going north.
It basically went right diagonal and the trolley was on Sherier. Several blocks before the reservoir, it did go through what now is people's back yards.
I am currently not working on that area, but I think its sufficient if bikes just ride on the street at sherier. People are already doing that and there is enough room to do it.

I'd like to point out also....that I made a mistake in an earlier post.
The trolley did not have a bridge going from CCT to where broad and ridge meet in Brookmont. It was somewhere else....I hiked that area 6 months ago and it seems inconceivable to put the trolley bridge where it once was.....and there is a house on Broad where the trolley went through. I could not find traces of where the bridge once was, but someone above posted a map of the area in 1964 so its east to see where it once was.

by Brett Young on Jun 5, 2014 7:18 am • linkreport

I'm a Palisades Resident as well. I live near the beginning of the trail at the end of MacArthur. My pup and I enjoy it a lot. I don't think it's necessary to pave it or make it a bike trail. I'm worried it will be packed with bikers like MacArthur is during the weekend. Minor improvements would be nice and making the bridge connecting would be good as well. Whomever said No Dogs, shame on you :)

by adam on Jun 5, 2014 9:50 am • linkreport

@davidG: exactly! Palisades neighborhood access to CCT and towpath are nonexistent or difficult at best by bike, most walkers or kids, strollers. Fast bikers won't bother with the trolley trail.

by Cat woman on Jun 5, 2014 9:54 am • linkreport

@DaveG: "If the Google Maps are any guide, if you zoom in close enough you can see the property lines for all the parcels in the Sherien and Norton St. area. You can make out where the trolley line went as it's a long narrow strip of land. I realize it's not any sort of official property map, but I can see where it goes between houses and even through current front yards. I don't know if it was ever turned over to any private owner there or not. It would be great to follow the original alignment where possible. Imagine such a trail literally 15 feet from your front door, although that may be too close for comfort for many. Regardless, it does seem easier and a source of less conflict with residents to simply follow Sherier and Norton Sts. with wider sidewalks and/or bike lanes."

I want to emphasize that there is no plan for a trail on the section between Galena and Norton. Zero, zilch, nada. It's not in Brett's proposal, it's not in DDOT's MoveDC 25-year-plan. The reasons for this are as DaveG points out, that in that section the trolley bed runs through people's front and back yards, very close to existing houses, and there are two and sometimes three parallel residential streets with very low motor traffic and sidewalks.

The reason this is important to emphasize is that much of the opposition to the trail has come from people who live in that area who are under the mistaken impression that they are potentially facing another Capital Crescent Trail in their front yard.

by contrarian on Jun 5, 2014 10:08 am • linkreport

Fast bikers won't bother with the trolley trail.

This. Few commuters coming in from Maryland are going to divert off MacArthur or the CCT to use the trail. Maybe if they work at GU they will. Even fewer recreational cyclists are going to bother transitioning to it (although I could see people using it as a loop). No one is going to drive in, park, and then ride this 2.2 mile trail back and forth as someone once told me they feared. This trail is too short to be a destination in and of itself.

It will be more like the Little Falls Trail, a lower use trail almost exclusively used by people who live or work within a few blocks of it. That's still good, and will take some pressure off the CCT.

by David C on Jun 5, 2014 10:09 am • linkreport

The trolley did not have a bridge going from CCT to where broad and ridge meet in Brookmont. It was somewhere else...

That's what I thought too, but here's the aerial photo from 1957. In it you can see the bridge over Little Falls.

http://www.historicaerials.com/aerials.php?scale=8E-06&lat=38.940332549814&lon=-77.1182087636714&year=1957

by David C on Jun 5, 2014 10:20 am • linkreport

@David C - correct...the trolley came into the Brookmont neighborhood at Broad and 61st Sts. after passing through what's now the Dalecarlia water plant. So if a new route and bridge over the Little Falls Branch were built for the GETT, those would have to go in south of there, probably by the shortest way possible between the southern end of Broad (at Ridge) and the CCT.

Here's how to bike between Palisades Rec. Center at Galena, the CCT and Glen Echo Park via MacArthur:

http://goo.gl/maps/Fv2Cq

Obviously the way to get ped. and bike traffic off MacArthur there would be to build the GETT all the way to Cabin John Bridge, but in the meantime there is this route.

by DaveG on Jun 5, 2014 11:11 am • linkreport

use permeable pavers for the trail. I install them for a living and they would do little harm to the natural site... hard to bike on though...

by SW, DC on Jun 5, 2014 11:16 am • linkreport

@SW DC - I wish there was some sort of permeable asphalt or asphalt-like paving material available. Is there?

by DaveG on Jun 5, 2014 11:26 am • linkreport

It is SO obvious that any trail deemed a "bike trail" in any capacity will be taken over by bikes. The Capitol Crescent is only 1 block away, running parallel almost the entire length, to the old trolley ride away so what purpose would this truly serve? And the old ride of way goes smack through many people's backyards. Have these people considered that there will be strangers passing their house all day, every day, and at speed? I've seen comments on the neighborhood list serve about how great it would be to have a trail for walking but, as bikes are part of the proposal, these people obviously never walk on Cap. Cres. to see what this new trail would become--speeding bikes that expect YOU to get out of THEIR way.

I've lived in Palisades my entire life and have seen so many changes by these wealthy newcomers that make no sense to me. And they just keep coming . . .

by Christina on Jun 5, 2014 11:29 am • linkreport

Well, it won't be a "bike trail" it will just be a trail, a Multi-Use Trail (MUT) if you like. The CCT is nearby in a 2D sense, but it's about 100 feet below, separated by a Canal, a major road and a steep incline for most of the way. From Foxhall it is very difficult to get to the CCT. The purpose this will serve is to create a direct, car-free connection between the Palisades, Foxhall and GU. [The CCT is not on a trolley ROW, but rather an old freight rail one].

The trolley ROW does not go "through" anyone's back yard. It is adjacent to them. Just as alleys, roads and trails are throughout the city.

Strangers pass my house everyday at speeds of over 35 mph. On the road in front of my house. I survive.

Bikes and pedestrians do share the CCT and might share this trail. But it seems to work. There are probably more peds on the CCT than there are bikes, so it can't be that awful.

by David C on Jun 5, 2014 11:36 am • linkreport

Have these people considered that there will be strangers passing their house all day, every day, and at speed?

Man have I got bad news for you...

by drumz on Jun 5, 2014 11:38 am • linkreport

Everything must be paved?

by asffa on Jun 5, 2014 11:42 am • linkreport

@Christina - read the above comment posted today at 10:08 AM by contrarian:

"I want to emphasize that there is no plan for a [off-road] trail on the section between Galena and Norton. Zero, zilch, nada. It's not in Brett's proposal, it's not in DDOT's MoveDC 25-year-plan. The reasons for this are as DaveG points out, that in that section the trolley bed runs through people's front and back yards, very close to existing houses, and there are two and sometimes three parallel residential streets with very low motor traffic and sidewalks.

"The reason this is important to emphasize is that much of the opposition to the trail has come from people who live in that area who are under the mistaken impression that they are potentially facing another Capital Crescent Trail in their front yard."

by DaveG on Jun 5, 2014 11:46 am • linkreport

Everything must be paved?

Everything must be exaggerated?

by David C on Jun 5, 2014 11:48 am • linkreport

@asffa - don't be ridiculous.

by DaveG on Jun 5, 2014 11:51 am • linkreport

I'm glad you commented because I saw your post about trying to determine where a bridge would have been going into Brookmont. I have a full set of slides from 1958 that my father took that begin at Foxhall and end at Glen Echo and you can the trolley coming into Brookmont as it crosses a bridge over the gorge. My father always mentioned how the stream down there between Brookmont and the DC side was a beach and people were wading when he was there. I had intended to walk the trolley hike and bring the pictures because it's very interesting to see what's gone. For example, there were 3 or 4 houses by the NPS ecology center with yards running right up to the ROW but are now gone.If they have another hike I will try and catch it.

by Christina on Jun 5, 2014 11:57 am • linkreport

It's not really. Gravel paving is still paving.
I agree with Thayer-D "Like the purple line history suggests, when you have an existing trolley R.O.W., think long and hard before you give it away to a trail. Development patterns change over time."
It isn't useless in the interim as a pretty walking trail.

by asffa on Jun 5, 2014 11:58 am • linkreport

@Christina
The different between CCT and what I am proposing:
CCT is 10 ft wide with almost no shoulder.
That means both pedestrians and bicyclists share the same path.
That wouldn't be the same thing because this trail is 25 ft wide.
So one could walk on the grass at the same time someone is riding a bike on a 10ft path.

Actually one thing that's still not clear to me is if we weren't asking for a 10ft paved path for bicycles, would people be in favor of the bridges.

I think if I wasn't proposing paved path nor the Bridges I do think more people would be interesting in fixing the trail.
At the next pca committee meeting one of the things we are working on is a survey that we will ask people to fill out. Still working out the specifics.

by Brett Young on Jun 5, 2014 12:01 pm • linkreport

Brett, and if my idea to restore one trolley track on the GETT ever came to fruition, I'd be OK with a "green track" if that's the right term...where grass grows between the rails.

by DaveG on Jun 5, 2014 12:25 pm • linkreport

@christina
Would love to see those photos that you have the of the right of way
Feel free to email

by Brett Young on Jun 5, 2014 12:35 pm • linkreport

Actually if the Trolley Museum were moved to the Cabin John Bridge turnaround loop, the restored trolley track could run between there and Glen Echo Park which is .6 miles one way which would make a 1.2 mile round trip there, perhaps with a future extension towards Brookmont of whatever desired length. Meanwhile I'd like to see the GETT go from Georgetown to at least the CCT (along Sherier and Norton in the resident-friendly manner we're discussing).

by DaveG on Jun 5, 2014 12:37 pm • linkreport

This would be a terrific improvement to the north and west end of Canal Road, which could use a lot of improvement itself. Currently there's no pedestrian access along Canal Road between the Key Bridge and the Chain Bridge.

The street lighting along Canal Road is also beaten and broken and not befitting a grand entrance to Washington D.C.

The Williams Administration came up with a "Canal Road Scenic Byway Management Plan" which among other things, urged the conversion of the trolley car bridges into pedestrian paths.

But like many other infrastructure improvement proposals in D.C, (Cleveland Park Conn. Ave access lane) it fell prey to the NIMBYists, the "paralysis-of-analysis" and the "do-another-study" crowd which continues to keep this city second-rate.

by RaiderDan on Jun 5, 2014 1:54 pm • linkreport

Interesting find:

http://www.americantrails.org/resources/trailbuilding/ArtCrushedStone.html

"If built properly crushed stone trails can meet the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines."

by Lord Baltimore on Jun 5, 2014 3:31 pm • linkreport

Perfect example of an interesting situation - at 5814 Sherier Place NW. Residents there have built a fence around the portion of the trolley line ROW adjacent to their property, so they are encroaching on this ROW:

http://goo.gl/maps/Mlzg2

This and other nearby homes also encroaching are even better visible with the Bing Maps Bird's Eye View. Other residents simply plant trees or even build garages in the ROW which is no different. Whether or not a trail ever follows this ROW (and I don't expect it to), these folks cannot complain if and when the city needs to access and/or rip up the ROW (and their fence, trees, bushes, garage, etc.) for whatever sort of utility work. If it were me, I'd just put out lawn furniture, a grill, etc. and enjoy the grassy open space :-)

by DaveG on Jun 6, 2014 3:28 pm • linkreport

I take it back, it appears none of the garages are actually in the ROW itself. But the fence and vegetation are still at risk...however why not take advantage of the grassy ROW if you can :-)

by DaveG on Jun 6, 2014 3:34 pm • linkreport

Whether or not a trail ever follows this ROW (and I don't expect it to), these folks cannot complain if and when the city needs to access and/or rip up the ROW (and their fence, trees, bushes, garage, etc.) for whatever sort of utility work.

Cannot complain? They can and will! Do they have any right to? No.

by contrarian on Jun 6, 2014 6:24 pm • linkreport

@daveg-
That part of the right of way that is NOT under consideration for this trail.
The trail would end at Galena. Everything else is off my radar

by Brett Young on Jun 6, 2014 6:37 pm • linkreport

I understand that, Brett. My point is that some of these residents seem to regard the ROW as part of THEIR private property (to whatever extent) which is clearly not true. Case in point...the fence people are going to lose whatever they paid for it next time the District needs to get in there to work.

Brett, then who is going to advocate for paving that last bit of social trail between Norton and the CCT? :-)

by DaveG on Jun 6, 2014 7:56 pm • linkreport

DaveG, good luck with that. When the idea was broached many years ago people in the neighborhood successfully campaigned to not have it paved. And to not have a sign added along the CCT at the junction with the social trail that read "Norton Street ==>". And to not have the social trail included on the bike map. They want almost no one to know about it and almost no one to use it and they've been successful at getting what they want. I have a friend who's pretty good at woodworking and I sometimes think I'll have him make a real nice official looking sign and then I'll add it to the CCT as a guerrilla signage effort. But I suspect neighbors would tear it down pretty quickly.

by David C on Jun 6, 2014 10:38 pm • linkreport

David C, I did not know they were trying to keep all this secret. Given everything else I've learned in this thread, I am not surprised. But running the route along the streets/sidewalks of Norton/Sherier just adds a traffic calming factor to the route...now if those darned bicyclists will just obey all the stop signs to the letter ;-)

Brett, am I correct that some of the properties along the ROW, such as the fence one, are actually split in two by the ROW?

by DaveG on Jun 7, 2014 6:12 am • linkreport

David C. - Thanks, I always wondered why the connections from the CCT to that neighborhood were so poor.

by Frank IBC on Jun 7, 2014 11:35 am • linkreport

@davidg Which area are you talking about? Can you post a google map of the area?

@frank IBC
All credit goes to Jack Koczela who, against frequent protests, has worked with NPS to get connectivity at Norton and along Potomac ave to the CCT.

I'd like to see more people commenting east of Foxhall to GU.
I think that's the biggest no brainer that everyone can get behind. The sidewalks and streets on Canal rd cannot be widened. You have a bridge that's wide enough to accommodate many people. And, most likely a second bridge is going to be need across the GU lawn. When you get to Prospect and 37th street you'll understand the importance of the connectivity in this area.

by Brett Young on Jun 7, 2014 11:54 am • linkreport

@Brett - Yes, here you go:

http://goo.gl/maps/mnimo

I've zoomed all the way in, so you may still have to tilt your computer screen forward to see the fine gray lines that indicate property boundaries, including what's obviously the former trolley line ROW that's now used to carry utilities. I've centered the map on the fence people's property. I am presuming that some of these properties are cut in half by the ROW. I'll leave confirmation of this to you or others.

by DaveG on Jun 7, 2014 1:36 pm • linkreport

DaveG, I'm not sure why DC would need to get to the ROW north of Manning, so there may be a risk of losing a fence, but it is small.

They are technically fencing in DC owned land for their own use, but I can't think of a reason why DC would mind that much. The best solution might be for DC to give that land to the people who abut it and just adjust their property taxes accordingly.

by David C on Jun 7, 2014 2:08 pm • linkreport

David, I also doubt that DC really minds much until it's time to actually go in and do utility work on that part of the ROW. Since the ROW carries utilities, I also doubt DC is ever going to convey any portion of the ROW to these neighbors :-)

by DaveG on Jun 7, 2014 3:05 pm • linkreport

Are there utilities there? I also doubt DC will give the land of the neighbors, but it would probably be the best choice.

by David C on Jun 7, 2014 3:27 pm • linkreport

The more I think about it the more I wonder why not, instead of following Sherier and Norton, follow Galena west to Potomac Ave then north to Norton? This routing could have bluff top views on the west side of Potomac Ave (that's public land anyway, right)?

http://goo.gl/maps/lZreq

There's even another social trail at 5730 Potomac Ave. NW leading to the CCT. This connection should also be made to access the Chain Bridge and the C&O Towpath:

http://goo.gl/maps/ZEZvx

So I'd add formal, paved connections to the CCT there, Potomac/Norton and at the s. end of Potomac/Arizona Ave. NW where there's yet another social trail connection to the CCT :-)

I'd add these connections no matter what, although I do see the value of following Sherier/Norton as that directly serves more homes and gives much more of a neighborhood feel than along Potomac Ave. Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

by DaveG on Jun 7, 2014 3:43 pm • linkreport

Yes you can see the overhead utility wires on poles, and someone else mentioned an aqueduct, water main or other water pipe that uses the ROW. The bike ride video passes a number of concrete access points to this water utility, which you can also see in numerous places in Street View and Bird's Eye View.

by DaveG on Jun 7, 2014 3:47 pm • linkreport

Best choice for what?

by DaveG on Jun 7, 2014 6:20 pm • linkreport

DaveG

I also like the Potomac Ave route for the reasons you mention. The social trail at 5730 Potomac Ave. NW is not a social trail, it is a formal trail connection in the form of a staircase (also thanks to Jack Koczela, who's kind of an unsung hero of the trail. He also got NPS and DDOt together to repair the trail in the area, when it was only one bad storm away from washing away). But that can't be paved, it's far too steep.

I see some overhead power lines, but it probably isn't DC that maintains those. I think the water pipes run under Macarthur, which used to be called Conduit because of the power lines.

By best choice I mean best choice of what DC should do with this land. Their choices are.

1. Status quo. Let adjacent landowners use it for free and pay no taxes on it.
2. Enforcement. Not let adjacent landowners use it but collect no taxes on it.
3. Rent it to adjacent landowners
4. Sell it to adjacent landowners and collect taxes.
5. Give it to adjacent landowners and collect taxes.

#3 and #4 probably maximize income, but also will create enemies. 1 and 2 are the easiest, but result in no income. #5 is sort of the hodgepodge option that addresses all the concerns (adjacent landowners get free land, Dc gets property taxes and it's all done quickly)

by David C on Jun 7, 2014 11:29 pm • linkreport

I don't doubt there could also be water conduits of some form under/parallel to MacArthur, but since this ROW carries what appears to be a major water utility (plus the overhead wires which someone above said belong to PEPCO), I am trying to understand why the District, WMATA, etc. would convey, under any circumstances, any segment of the ROW to any of the neighbors. We should be glad for all this as it has kept the corridor in public hands since the trolley line was abandoned, otherwise there'd be no possibility of a trail.

by DaveG on Jun 8, 2014 6:24 am • linkreport

The simple fact that the District could need to do utility work at any time probably precludes the potential for even renting out any of the ROW to any private party. A public trail does not interfere with any of this as it could be rebuilt after any utility work is done.

by DaveG on Jun 8, 2014 6:29 am • linkreport

I don't know that the District would really object to residents making some sort of non-permanent use of the ROW such as putting out lawn furniture, holding a lawn party, etc. etc. as long as the residents understand it's public ROW.

I see that there's a rocky trail leading all the way down to the Chain Bridge which seems to be a social continuation of the connection at 5730 Potomac Ave NW. Stairs are OK but not ADA-compliant. They can be kept especially if a barrier free switchback or other cross slope trail is added around or near them. Perhaps only two connections are needed for this stretch of Potomac Ave NW - at Norton and at Arizona...one at each end. All this, plus any other such connections between Georgetown and Cabin John Bridge, will have to be worked out by all the parties involved. Is there a connection between the CCT and the C&O Towpath at the s. side of the CCT bridge over the C&O Canal?

by DaveG on Jun 8, 2014 8:46 am • linkreport

The 1985 DC water supply system map shows a 78 in. main, more or less under the trolley ROW, running from Dalecarlia to M St., and then to downtown. That corresponds to the Cross-Town Water Transmission Main. Neither the map nor published DC Water/engineering firm sources say how deep the main runs in that part of the city.

by David R. on Jun 8, 2014 10:30 am • linkreport

DaveG, I keep getting confused about what we're talking about.

For the section south of Manning, I support the trail.

For the section north of Manning in DC, I think DC should just give the land away. The district doesn't do utility work. PEPCO and DC Water do, and the ownership of the land won't change their ability to do that. The reason they would give the land away is that right now someone gets full use of the land but pays no tax on it, and it's a liability more than an asset.

by David C on Jun 8, 2014 10:51 am • linkreport

I guess it depends on what is meant by "full use of the land," then.

If the land was conveyed to any of the homeowners, they still wouldn't be able to build anything permanent in the ROW, so what's the point of doing so? Why should anyone want to pay taxes on land that's basically useless to them except as a grassy area you can at best only set up temporarily in? It's no different than the standard street ROW in front of my house. No sidewalk, all grass but I still have to maintain it which in my case means mowing it. Other than my mailbox, I'll never get permission to build anything there.

by DaveG on Jun 8, 2014 11:20 am • linkreport

They be able to build anything permanent? Like a fence?

As to improving the other social trails, I think that anyone familiar with the social trails there would realize that upgrading the staircase to a ramp, or the social trail to a staircase or ramp, would bring some improved utility, but at an enormous cost. And in the face of both local opposition and opposition from the National Park Service. It's also possible that a switchback to the C&o canal would be so slow and so long that it would be no faster, and possibly slower, than the current best route between the CCT and the canal. Regardless, that is outside the scope of the trail that is proposed here.

by David C on Jun 8, 2014 12:05 pm • linkreport

Should read: why won't they be able to build anything permanent?

by David C on Jun 8, 2014 1:51 pm • linkreport

Any sort of permanent structure on the ROW, including a fence, is illegal and subject to removal. Why would anyone want to pay taxes on such land, when it exists as a grassy area they get to set lawn furniture on for free, in return for mowing it?

A switchback or inclined trail will be slower than stairs for a hiker, but also the only possible route for bicyclists and wheelchair users (that ADA thing again). It would not necessarily be slower if the incline is optimally located anyway, such as from Norton/Potomac to the CCT which goes downhill at a proper grade anyway. Your ankles will thank you for not hiking straight down these slopes :-)

As for the scope of trail connections in the area of this proposed trail, several people including Palisades residents have commented here about the desire to improve them, which makes perfect sense as it would make all of these trails more accessible including for Palisades residents and users from other areas. So I think it's very appropriate to at least discuss improving connections here in this thread.

Actually, David, that's why I suggested that maybe connections need to be made only at the ends of that part of Potomac Ave. A connection to all 3 trails is certainly not needed every block along the way. This would all have to be looked at by all the stakeholders at the appropriate time.

by DaveG on Jun 8, 2014 2:34 pm • linkreport

Any sort of permanent structure on the ROW, including a fence, is illegal and subject to removal.

It is now. But it wouldn't be if DC gave the land to adjacent landowners. Can we agree on that?

Why would anyone want to pay taxes on such land, when it exists as a grassy area they get to set lawn furniture on for free, in return for mowing it?

So as to build permanent structures on it, for one. But also to add value to one's home.

A switchback or inclined trail will be slower than stairs for a hiker, but also the only possible route for bicyclists and wheelchair users (that ADA thing again).

No. One can currently ride down the CCT, across the Arizona Ave bridge and then connect to the C&O without any problem. But the social path would need to only switchback it's way down to street level, but again get trail-users across Canal road. So it's not the only possible route, because another possible one exists.

It would not necessarily be slower if the incline is optimally located anyway, such as from Norton/Potomac to the CCT

There's already a social trail there. That should be upgraded, but that's not the same as a trail where the stairs to the CCT or the social trail to Chain Bridge are.

by David C on Jun 8, 2014 10:51 pm • linkreport

Is there currently a connection between the CCT and the C&O Towpath at the south end of the Arizona Ave. bridge? Formal or social, doesn't matter...if not, there should be one here. I know the next formal connection between the two trails downstream is at Fletcher's Cove.

by DaveG on Jun 9, 2014 7:42 am • linkreport

There's a staircase connection.

by David C on Jun 9, 2014 8:44 am • linkreport

OK I am not necessarily advocating the removal of any staircases except if there's no space to also build an inclined trail at a desired location. Inclined/switchbacked trail can also be built around staircases. It may not be necessary to connect from the CCT to the Chain Bridge as you could do that further upstream or downstream. The Norton/Potomac social trail looks like it is of the right grade to simply pave it. If the trolley trail is built going north from there you could access the C&O Towpath from Ridge Dr. A local connection from the Trolley Trail and streets such as Ashby, Nebraska, Potomac and Sherier at Fletcher's Cove would also be desirable.

by DaveG on Jun 9, 2014 9:38 am • linkreport

I mean connect those streets to the trolley trail and to Fletcher's Cove where the CCT and C&O Towpath are.

by DaveG on Jun 9, 2014 9:53 am • linkreport

@davidg I told the Canal study group at DDOT that a sidewalk along AZ going from Trolley trail to AZ bridge that is part of CCT would be a good idea.
We'll see if they take that advice.

by Brett Young on Jun 9, 2014 10:27 am • linkreport

I live 3400 block of Prospect. I am in favor of this project.

Capital Crescent and C&O are great resources. Access to these great resources are very poor. I've got it way better in Georgetown than do folks in Palisades, but still, access to these existing trails is very poor.

Canal Rd from Foxhall/Macarthur east is an awful pedestrian/bike commuter. Sidewalk is narrow, is inches from speeding traffic with no buffer, and has light poles right down the middle of the narrow sidewalk. A path from Foxhall/Macarthur east to 37th & Prospect would solve this.

Access to Cap Crescent and C&O is abysmal. Right now you've got access at Georgetown via Water St, at Fletcher's (which is itself inaccessible except via car), and a difficult to access tunnel at Glover Archibald terminus. Palisades residents can can bushwhack on/off via unofficial trails at the Capital Crescent at Arizona and at the Reservoir. It's always blown my mind that the only way on/off this great trail through this stretch of DC was to head into the woods on an unofficial trail. God forbid you have a stroller.

Access to the trails at Fletcher's may be another project or may be related, but the inability for bikes/pedestrians to get to C&O/Cap Crescent except via car is an embarrassment. I know I take my life into my own hands when I run there and jaywalk at that particular crossing of Canal Rd.

I would hope that this project would include better access to C&O/Cap Crescent both in Georgetown and in Palisades. The Foundry Branch Bridge should include an on/off ramp so that people can actually realistically get to the tunnel under Canal Rd at Glover Archibald to get to C&O/CC (not to mention the Glover Archibald itself).

Any argument against connecting Prospect St to Foxhall/Macarthur is silly. It's a no-brainer. Canal Rd is as commuting unfriendly as can be imagined, and will only get worse with Eastbanc's imminent condo development where the Exxon currently is at base of Exorcist stairs. Foxhall Village worried about GU student influx? They're already there and they plow through the woods to get to/from school.

Real, ie fast, bikers will not venture onto a 2 mile path. Real bikers don't even like the W&OD and it's 45 miles. Real bikers will stick to Reservoir/Macarthur as the unbroken highway out to Montgomery County where the roads open up better for them. This trail would be a boon for joggers, walkers, and Palisades commuters.

by kny on Jun 9, 2014 11:17 am • linkreport

@kny on Prospect.
ditto, ditto, ditto!

by Cat woman on Jun 9, 2014 12:41 pm • linkreport

A great idea, but it's difficult to see how the connection from Foxhall Road to Prospect Street NW could be rebuilt. Part of the Capital Traction right of way west of 37th Street NW was purchased by GU in the late 60s and was rebuilt as the Prospect Street Gate to the campus. Not to mention that the viaduct over Georgetown's Canal Road Gate was removed about 30 yearas ago. Ultimately it would be better to route a trolley trail down the hill at Foxhall (the original Foxhall Road, including pavement, still exists in the woods west of the current alignment)and then along Canal Road to Georgetown, or possibly via a new bridge to the Capital Crescent trail.

by Publius Washingtoniensis on Jun 9, 2014 1:20 pm • linkreport

but it's difficult to see how the connection from Foxhall Road to Prospect Street NW could be rebuilt.

Is it. Built a small connection to the Foundry Branch Trestle. Rehab the trestle for a trail. Build the trail along the ROW to the existing abutment. Build a small bike/ped bridge over the driveway to the existing ROW in front of GU. Connect to Prospect at St. Mary's Place. That wasn't too hard to see.

That GU owns the ROW (and I'm not sure that is correct) would be little impediment since there is no way to build this without GU approval and involvement.

Yes the viaduct was removed. The solution is to replace it. Is that hard to see?

Going down Foxhall to Canal reduces the connectivity, and a bridge to the CCT would be at least as difficult, if not more so, since that requires much more NPS involvement.

by David C on Jun 9, 2014 1:44 pm • linkreport

kny I hope people interested in these projects take notes from you.

by asffa on Jun 9, 2014 1:57 pm • linkreport

Coming out of the south end of the Foundry Branch Tunnel, it shouldn't be too hard to link the CCT and the Towpath there with a paved, inclined trail. I see nothing but workable connection possibilities the entire length of the trolley line. I may be getting ahead of things here, but should it be called the Glen Echo Trolley Trail or what?

by DaveG on Jun 9, 2014 2:09 pm • linkreport

@Publius Washingtoniensis
Thanks for the info on GU buying part of the right of way years back.

To address what you wrote:
The think is, GU students are already biking on Prospect St....so rebuild what was once Bridge #1 and make it go from the "go Hoya" foundation east to the other foundation (covered by weeds) and then make it ascend and merge into Prospect.
Here is my take on your plan:
I am not trying to connect to the CCT. CCT terminates under Whitehurst Fwy. The CCT already has a tunnel as Canal which gets the job done.
The purpose is to get to the upper part of Georgetown while also connecting to the University. Students go there.

As I do think GU owns part of Prospect St as part of their campus.

by Brett Young on Jun 9, 2014 2:33 pm • linkreport

@davidg.
So lets talk about that CCT tunnel on Canal.
Right now, during summer, weeds obscure alot of the woods.
But during the winter its easy to see the following.
Facing the path that goes to the tunnel, look in the woods to the right and you will see an overgrown path that you can hike up. Its sort of a ramp. Once you get there you can see ruins of an old house. From there you could make that area easily connect to path East of the foundry Branch bridge and before GU.
This would require NPS approval. If I can get everything else approved, I will mention it to Kevin Brandt of NPS.
I think its something they would consider once i show them it.
And the ruins are kind of neat.
Here is a google map of the area
http://goo.gl/maps/6hyf5
Look above the green bicycle sign and you get the idea of the area I am talking about.

And no, I don't think it should be called the Glen Echo Trolley Trail.
I suggested calling it the Stewart Udall trail because he founded the Trails program in the USA, but most people I mentioned this to were very lukewarm to the idea.
On the other hand, naming it the Van Halen Trail sparked mass hysteria within the Palisades where the Rec center people wanted the David Lee Roth Statue on their end, while the Foxhall residents felt cheated they had to settle for a Sammy Hagar statue. The Foxhall Village Residents walked out of the meeting in disgust when the rest of the residents ganged up and voted for the Gary Cherone statue to be built in their neighborhood

by Brett Young on Jun 9, 2014 2:43 pm • linkreport

I am opposed to this plan simply because every green space in the world does not need to be paved over and developed. Does anyone remember when the area near the French Embassy on Reservoir Road was simply a field with horses? That was what was there as recently as the 1970s. Look at the development along Foxhall Road--whole acres of trees have been removed and the landscape seeded with McMansions. The affected neighborhoods do not need Safeway Condos or their own Highline Trail to the Apple Store. The Palisades area remains unique in part because of wild spaces like the areas that would be affected by the plan. Once you start turning the area into Clarendon it'll be difficult to stop.

by MWilkins on Jun 9, 2014 2:53 pm • linkreport

Not to divert from the conversations, but I wonder if the ruins are from the leftmost building in this 1860s panorama, the house with the white picket fence running around. It would be in just about the right location.

http://winthefight.org/scrap/pano_final.jpg

by kny on Jun 9, 2014 3:01 pm • linkreport

Actually, @MWilkins, a trail like this would get people out of cars and moving around by foot. And, that is a good thing.

by kny on Jun 9, 2014 3:04 pm • linkreport

It's a city, we don't need fields with horses! We have a zoo if you want to see animals or visit Rock Creek Park if you're a fan of coyotes (apparently). Empty spaces just creates more sprawl given the way that the region is growing now.

by BTA on Jun 9, 2014 3:11 pm • linkreport

I am opposed to this plan simply because every green space in the world does not need to be paved over and developed.

I think this comment was meant for the "Pave all of DC" proposal from a few months ago. THIS proposal is about paving an old trolley right of way to make a trail, but it leaves many other parts of DC unpaved.

Now if someone wants to talk about why they oppose paving THIS strip of land, that would be relevant.

by David C on Jun 9, 2014 3:33 pm • linkreport

It was called the Glen Echo Electric Railway:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streetcars_in_Washington,_D.C.#Virginia_trolleys_operating_in_Washington.2C_D.C.

I think Glen Electric Trolley Trail sounds better than the GEER :-)

by DaveG on Jun 9, 2014 3:45 pm • linkreport

Oops I meant I still think Glen Echo Trolley Trail sounds better than the GEER Trail although I might be persuadable to Gear Trail :-)

by DaveG on Jun 9, 2014 3:50 pm • linkreport

I like "Cliven Bundy Trail," in honor of Americans everywhere who appropriate public property for their personal use.

by contrarian on Jun 9, 2014 7:36 pm • linkreport

@Brett - don't know if you've seen this one...discussion about this proposed trail at WashCycle:

http://washcycle.typepad.com/home/2006/12/2006_cwl_12_pal.html

So...WHAT working title may we use for this trail, then?

by DaveG on Jun 9, 2014 7:40 pm • linkreport

@contrarian - LOL

by DaveG on Jun 9, 2014 7:41 pm • linkreport

I've always liked the Palisades Neighborhood Trail or Northwest Neighborhood Trail. It's disarming.

by David C on Jun 9, 2014 7:47 pm • linkreport

@davidg
When I first thought of the idea , I went on the web and found that article. He was 4 years ahead of me.

An official who was at DDOT but no longer works there said if the trail every got built it couldn't be named Palisades Neighborhood trail because that would mean that it was only for the Palisades.
Honestly I like the name Palisades Neighborhood Trail.

by Brett Young on Jun 9, 2014 8:03 pm • linkreport

Palisades Neighborhood Trail captures the essence that this is meant to be a neighborhood connector and not a commuter route like the CCT. I think of it as the Palisades Backbone Trail.

I think that's a good name for pitching it to neighbors.

by contrarian on Jun 9, 2014 8:07 pm • linkreport

I like the name Trolley Trail, since the ROW was a trolley line, as opposed to a railroad line like many. Rail trail conversions. Historical markers and replicas of old photos of the trolley stops would add an educational element. If the bridges are built to connect the segments the trail could become part of a walking tour of the Palisades, like the Tenleytown walking tour and others in the city.

by Cat woman on Jun 9, 2014 8:23 pm • linkreport

Historical markers and information are a must. For example, a Georgetown senior by the name of William Clinton used to live alongside the ROW (though the house is gone).

by David C on Jun 9, 2014 8:27 pm • linkreport

How about Palisades-Georgetown (Trolley) Trail or Palisades Trolley Trail? And what's wrong with Glen Echo Trolley Trail as that was the name of the trolley line itself? I agree "Trolley" should be part of the name.

by DaveG on Jun 9, 2014 9:02 pm • linkreport

@kny - I love those old Civil War era photos. So that would be Foundry Branch on the far left? And the gully where the new Canal Rd. entrance to Georgetown U. is, to the right of that? That would be the old Aqueduct Bridge on the right.

by DaveG on Jun 9, 2014 9:13 pm • linkreport

@davidg
Foundry Branch was not built until 1900

by Brett Young on Jun 9, 2014 10:17 pm • linkreport

Foundry Branch is the name of the actual stream that goes under the trolley bridge so I think it has been there since well before any of us were born :-)

by DaveG on Jun 9, 2014 11:13 pm • linkreport

It's the Henry Foxall Cannon Foundry

by kny on Jun 9, 2014 11:30 pm • linkreport

As Brett has said several times, the DC DOT will not agree to a name which is the name of a neighborhood. Thus we have the Rock Creek trail, we have the Capital Crescent trail, not the Bethesda Georgetown trail. And yes the trolley did go to Glen Echo, and might have been called the Glen Echo trolley by some, but there was also a separate trolley called the Glen Echo electric whic ran in Md only.. It appears that a trolley line can have a neighborhood name in its route desigation, but a trail in DC can not have a neighborhood name, because they don't warn to create the impression that the trail belongs to just one neighborhood but is open to all.

by Cat woman on Jun 9, 2014 11:40 pm • linkreport

I'm not sure how set in stone that "no neighborhood name" rule is. I think everything is on the table right now.

How about the Mister Rogers Trolley Trail, after all one can use it to access the C&O Canal and use that to get to Pittsburgh.

by David C on Jun 9, 2014 11:48 pm • linkreport

So if Glen Echo itself isn't even in DC, what does DDOT care if that's the name? Glen Echo, Maryland is actually a town, not a neighborhood:

http://www.glenecho.org/

The name would be for the trolley line itself, not any neighborhood or jurisdiction anywhere. And Palisades can refer to the geological feature, not the neighborhood.

by DaveG on Jun 10, 2014 5:35 am • linkreport

@kny - that is one amazingly sharp (for the time) and detailed panoramic photo. You can click on it to zoom in on any spot you want. You can see the canal boats, horses and/or mules, cattle, individual people, etc. all up fairly close. I wonder what the domed building on the left is...a college observatory?

by DaveG on Jun 10, 2014 7:17 am • linkreport

How about Potomac Palisades Trolley Trail? That takes the focus, and name, off the Palisades neighborhood and onto the physical features.

by DaveG on Jun 10, 2014 7:28 am • linkreport

Domed bldg on left is still on the Georgetown campus. Its called Heyden Observatory. It was built in 1844

by Brett Young on Jun 10, 2014 9:16 am • linkreport

I always love a good trail to run, hike and bike. Thanks for sharing.

by Caleb on Jun 10, 2014 4:10 pm • linkreport

Or simply Potomac Palisades Trail. Either one sounds great.

Much like the parallel NPS owned Potomac Palisades Parkway which shows up on topo maps. It follows the river portion of the District from the Virginia shore of the Potomac to at least the C&O Canal...possibly further, I don't know. Consult NPS on that.

by DaveG on Jun 11, 2014 9:51 am • linkreport

i agree with the prior posters -- be careful of the "Clarendonization" of upper NW Washington!

by Alf on Jun 11, 2014 2:20 pm • linkreport

Does Clarendon have a trolley trail?

by David C on Jun 11, 2014 2:40 pm • linkreport

It's got the trolley pub!

http://www.arlnow.com/2013/02/26/trolley-pub-rolling-into-arlington/

Watch out DC!

by drumz on Jun 11, 2014 2:48 pm • linkreport

LOL@Trolley Pub - drink your beer while you burn the calories off!!

by DaveG on Jun 11, 2014 3:07 pm • linkreport

Clarendon would be thrilled to have a flat bike trail with no vehicle crossings and fantastic views of the Potomac that dumped you into the heart of Georgetown.

by Beth Kinley on Jun 11, 2014 3:51 pm • linkreport

Is that a pedestrian tunnel under Canal Rd. at Fletcher's Cove?

by DaveG on Jun 12, 2014 12:48 pm • linkreport

@daveg
technically there is a tunnel under canal rd into Fletcher's cove. Its part of Battery kimble Creek (discovery creek)
Its really a poor access to Fletcher's boathouse.

by Brett Young on Jun 12, 2014 1:00 pm • linkreport

Actually the name of the creek is Maddox Branch (according to Google Maps). Perhaps it could be expanded to accommodate both the creek and a trail that could then permit access to the trolley trail and the neighboring streets. There's also a hiking trail that seems to end at Fletcher's and follows Maddox Branch up to Battery Kemble...

by DaveG on Jun 12, 2014 1:16 pm • linkreport

People already use the Maddox Branch tunnel to connect to Fletchers, but it's not big enough to walk through upright, and one can't bike through it. Part of the Canal Road plan from several years ago included a connection through an expanded tunnel. It's a good idea, and this trail would make it even better.

by David C on Jun 12, 2014 1:21 pm • linkreport

NPS has told me that my proposed trail cannot promote bicycling into Battery Kimble/discovery creek/Maddox Branch (all 3 names of the exact same place)

by Brett Young on Jun 12, 2014 1:43 pm • linkreport

OK that's probably because the Maddox Branch trail is indeed hiker only. Which is fine, so any bicycle usage should be limited to connections from Fletcher's Cove to the trolley trail at that intersecting spot only. Obviously the tunnel would have to be expanded to also handle bike traffic or an overpass would have to be built over Canal Rd. I'm sure everyone would prefer a tunnel.

by DaveG on Jun 12, 2014 2:02 pm • linkreport

@kny - thanks for that panoramic photo. I could spend hours looking at that thing. I assume that the church on the far right is Holy Trinity? Just an amazingly detailed photo.

by David on Jun 12, 2014 2:07 pm • linkreport

It absolutely UNTRUE that this is a space that has been dormant for 52 years. You are not reclaiming a unused area of the city (ala the CCT). The Palisades is a highly built, compact residential area. Hundreds of people currently use the side of the trail that runs West of the Park & Rec Center across Arizona Ave - mostly children and families walking to the park and dog-walkers. It could use increased maintenance of course, but people have been using this safely and happily for decades, enjoying the natural, scenic beautify of the Palisades - WITHOUT PAVING. The ONLY reason to pave it would be accommodate high speed, commuter bikers who would only increase congestion to the Palisades, which is already plagued by rushing commuters. Bikers going 15-25 miles an hour on this trail would present a safety problem to the current users and completely disrupt how members of the neighborhood currently use this space (there are a number of people who regularly use the path now on bikes, but just not rushing on it at super high speeds). Also, the trail as it currently is does not extend 25 ft across without getting into battles with property lines (talking about the actual propertied boundary lines - not talking about the people on the very Eastern side who may be encroaching on public space). There is currently a DOT plan already in the works to build an access point from the park across to the Canal (10 years in the making), which has been a priority for many of the East of Arizona Palisades crew.
Please stop shrugging off how disruptive your proposal is to the Western side of the Palisades. Much of what used to be the trail from Galena to Norton is now built over with houses and alleys - your off-the-cuff assumption that the 5400 to 5900 blocks of Sherier Place should become a de facto extension of a bike trail is incredibly troubling - it is not built to accommodate an influx of biker in any way - or if you are arguing that there would not be much increase in use, why bother putting tons of $ into paving a trail in the first place. It's been troubling to many in the neighborhood that this process has been completely led and taken over by bikers who are pushing a proposal that is only for the benefit of high speed bike commuters -- as a mom with kids who safely use the trail every day to go to the park and with neighbors who use the path as a nice quiet path to safely walk their dogs - it is worth remembering just TWO BLOCKS AWAY from the 'trail head' at Galena - you are welcome to access the CCT, where you can get yelled at 'ON YOUR LEFT' by speeding bikers if you want.

by SherierPlaceisNOTYourBikeLane! on Jun 12, 2014 2:43 pm • linkreport

"The ONLY reason to pave it would be accommodate high speed, commuter bikers who would only increase congestion to the Palisades, which is already plagued by rushing commuters. Bikers going 15-25 miles an hour on this trail "

actually paving is quite helpful to commuter bikers, other transportation bikers, and recreational bikers (if they are not on mountain bikes) going 5 to 12 MPH.

I don't even think I am able to ride 15MPH (except downhill) yet I strongly prefer riding on a paved surface.

I will leave to others to discuss if the CCT is really an alternative or where bike users will come from, or what city policy should be with a place like this.

but the notion that only folks biking over 15MPH benefit from a trail being paved is simply incorrect based on my own experience.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jun 12, 2014 2:52 pm • linkreport

Or the sense that someone riding a bike quicker than normal is dangerous. I get that it can be unnerving when someone whooshes by you but overall it seems unlikely that people are seriously harmed by "fast commuters" on trails.

Maybe I'm wrong but I'd need to see data.

by drumz on Jun 12, 2014 3:05 pm • linkreport

Even if bikes would ride at a "quicker than normal pace" (whatever that is), there are opportunities along this route for bicycle traffic calming at every road crossing where there can be yield or stop signs, zigzags in the rec. center portion, etc. etc. Even though the public ROW is still there between 5400 and 5900 Sherier, it just seems much easier (and cheaper) to instead use Sherier with wider sidewalks and/or bike lanes, or follow Galena to Potomac to Norton. Even so, I see this route as serving more local, and thus slower, bike traffic than the CCT or even the C&O Towpath.

by DaveG on Jun 12, 2014 3:24 pm • linkreport

Conflicts on mixed used trails - about bikers (at any speed, even under 15 mi an hour which is the supposed speed limit even on the CCT) are a big deal around the country -- with mounting #s of cyclists hitting pedestrians - just a few of many many many articles: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/publications/sidewalk2/sidewalks214.cfm; http://atfiles.org/files/pdf/Conflicts.pdf;
http://fabb-bikes.blogspot.com/2012/07/sharing-our-trails-and-avoiding.html;
http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/communications/repository/files/Pedestrian%20Cyclist%20Accidents_3.pdf;
http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/15154/cyclist-kills-pedestrian-does-calling-on-your-left-not-work/; http://www.americantrails.org/resources/safety/Path-Security-Maintenance-DE.html

by SherierPlaceisNOTYourBikeLane! on Jun 12, 2014 3:31 pm • linkreport

1. The only link with actual data on crash rates definitely indicates that most collisions aren't serious. And the numbers are pretty low, 1000 collisions per year in a big state like New York is pretty impressive.

2. What happened a couple years ago on 4 mile run is a tragedy and I don't want to see it happen again. But again, that's pretty rare.

3. The rest of the links do talk about the conflicts that can be present but none of them recommend that the best course of action is to disallow cycling or walking. Just to work minimize conflict.

So with that evidence I'm still not convinced that steps must be taken prevent something that would make cycling a little easier through here. At least not from a public safety standpoint.

by drumz on Jun 12, 2014 3:43 pm • linkreport

sherri

those are calls for good design of mixed use trial, and for use of courtesy on them. We all agree that those are good things

There was also one paper on bike ped accidents. It showed that the number of bike accidents resulting in a hospitalization is under 100 a year, which is very low considering numbers of both, and compared to the number of auto - ped accidents. And the number appears to be declining.

None make the case that mixed use trails are a bad thing.

Note, pavement is also helpful for folks pushing strollers, including jogging strollers, for folks in wheelchairs, and for folks on inline skates or using skateboards, all of whom I have seen on trails in the region.

I know when I was kid I liked biking on paved trails, so this not family or kid unfriendly either.

It does sound like the concern is to keep this asset as essentially a private park for a few homeowners.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jun 12, 2014 3:49 pm • linkreport

@SherierPlaceisNOTYourBikeLane!
You are correct. The area from The Paliades Rec center going towards Galena is the most heavily used part of the trail.
Turn in the other direction and start walking toward Chain Bridge.
I never see anyone bike in that direction. I almost never see anyone walk in that direction. And even when I watch dog walkers get to Chain bridge rd, they almost never continue on to Discovery Creek. And that is due to the improper drainage of that area from Chain Bridge rd to the creek.
Have you ever walked from your area to Reservoir rd?
Out of the 20+ times I've walked this trail, I've seen someone walking in the section from Discovery creek to Reservoir rd once......he was a photographer talking a picture of a sunset.
And did you continue to Clark and walk up clark towards the section from Clark to Foxhall Rd? 2nd least used area of the trail.
I am talking about connecting the whole community of the Palisades. Its a wonderful 3 mile hike from where you live to Foxhall.

So let me address the 2nd part of your blog post:
High Speed bikers. Its a problem that we feel can be addressed.
Look at this 3rd picture from the top of Foxhall Village
http://activerain.trulia.com/blogsview/1058706/foxhall-village--a-quiet-enclave-with-that--olde-world--charm-
When you enter Foxhall village with your car the first thing you approach is a circle that you must drive around.
This principle can be applied to the trail.
Plant a tree in the middle of the right of way and make the bicycles go around a circle.
I don't design trails, but there are enough ways to slow people down. Speed Bumps? Crushed Stone
I want the trail to be used by children to go to school on it. I see it more as the "Little Falls Hiker-Biker Trail" than the CCT
http://www.yelp.com/biz/little-falls-hiker-biker-trail-bethesda
At the beginning I did write the original proposal back in last Dec as the trail being "like the CCT" but with enough feedback from the community and more thought to the process, Little Falls is a better example of what the trail could be (although more in a straight line than that trail)

And , yes, it seems that there will be an at grade traffic light crossing at Reservoir Rd to Fletchers cove.
According to Eleanor Holmes office, NPS sent modifications back to DDOT and they are studying those mods. The rep was hopefully this would get completed within the year.

The proposed trail would end at Galena and nothing further Northwest of that is anything that has been proposed. I've said that over and over again. From 5400 to 5900 Sherier biking on the street is good enough. Or biking on Potomac Ave is good enough. People are already doing that.
I actually envision the Palisades neighborhood getting on a bike and riding over to the trail. They already do it. They bike on the right of way. I've seen kids ride on it every weekend I'm there.

by Brett Young on Jun 12, 2014 3:53 pm • linkreport

test

by Brett Young on Jun 12, 2014 4:03 pm • linkreport

@SherierPlaceisNOTYourBikeLane!
Well I just wrote a whole thing but it got erased, so I will try this again
1) The Palisades Rec Center to Galena is the most heavily used part of the trail.
Heading in the other direction towards Chain Bridge road and it quickly becomes deserted. That's mainly due to improper drainage.
2) I don't want it to be a high speed bike lane like the CCT. I did write that in the original proposal, but it was a poor choice of words. Because was I mean by "like the CCT" is a long continuous trail. I think the trail should be more like "Little Falls Trail"
http://www.yelp.com/biz/little-falls-hiker-biker-trail-bethesda
Trail planners can work with the community to slow down bikes at various points of the trail.
3) Yes Mary Cheh is working with NPS to have an at grade traffic light crossing at Reservoir rd to Fletcher's cove. Eleanor Holmes Norton's office told me it might get built with the year
4) I have never proposed any trail that goes further north of Galena. I feel that riding on Sherier from 5400 to 5900 is sufficient for bicycles. And I've already seen people do this. I've also seen people ride on Potomac Ave too.

by Brett Young on Jun 12, 2014 4:12 pm • linkreport

Correction on point #1 since I can't edit
That's mainly due to improper drainage and lack of connectivity.

by Brett Young on Jun 12, 2014 4:13 pm • linkreport

Sorry you didn't take more than a couple minutes glancing at the few links - there is actually research behind the design guidance and a host of materials from the National Safety Council, CDC, US DOT, about safety and best practices for mixed use trails. (feel free to call them!)
Anyone who has spent time in the Palisades Park knows it is clearly a very well known, well used resource by hundreds of residents and far from a secret.
Asking to turn a residential street into a bike trail (ie. a long stretch of Sherier Place, which if you drive on it is already a strangely split street with poor signage), when there is the CCT trail two blocks away, in a neighborhood that already struggles with pedestrian, biking and car traffic and congestion problems up and down the length of it, and just adding pavement to an already well used trail seems like a poor use of money and bad planning.

by SherierPlaceisNOTYourBikeLane! on Jun 12, 2014 4:35 pm • linkreport

there is actually research behind the design guidance and a host of materials from the National Safety Council, CDC, US DOT, about safety and best practices for mixed use trails. (feel free to call them!)

Yes, but if there is a recommendation that says "don't pave trails because then cyclists will travel too fast" then I'd like to have it pointed out to me.

Moreover, the suggestions in the story all seem to line up with the materials you posted.

just adding pavement to an already well used trail seems like a poor use of money and bad planning.

Well, if you can get MORE use out of it by making some improvements then that seems like good planning. Moreover, according to David C, the source of the money dictates that any improvements have to be ADA compliant, that probably means a firmer surface one way or the other.

by drumz on Jun 12, 2014 4:42 pm • linkreport

@Sherier - Most if not all of those links encourage sharing multi-use trails safely, so if you were trying to use them to discourage development of a multi-use path, that was a...unique way of doing it.

by DaveG on Jun 12, 2014 4:43 pm • linkreport

Cross-posted with earlier comments.

@Brett - if you are expecting an increase in usage of the trail, then building a trail that 'dead ends' at Galena means that those bike users would then have to use Sherier Place - which is NOT designed to be able to accommodate an influx of bike traffic... where are those people supposed to go.

Paving it is an invitation for people to travel at higher speeds on it!

by SherierPlaceisNOTYourBikeLane! on Jun 12, 2014 4:46 pm • linkreport

@Sherier - Sherier Place is already paved. Even with no changes to it such as wider sidewalks or bike lanes, I am confused as to how it would not be able to handle any increase in bike traffic.

by DaveG on Jun 12, 2014 4:54 pm • linkreport

Especially if some of this increased traffic goes onto Potomac instead.

by DaveG on Jun 12, 2014 4:55 pm • linkreport

All local roads are open to cyclists. Looking on google street view, it appears that sherrier place would be a fine place to ride, and not much different from lots of other local streets that connect to trails across the region. I doubt there would be enough usage to create a real problem on the street though. Any numbers here?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jun 12, 2014 4:55 pm • linkreport

@SherierPlaceisNOTYourBikeLane!
I see bicycles on Sherier Place from 5400 to 5900 every time I ride in that area. Very safe for bicycling and the street is already wide enough to accommodate both.
But you could also make the argument that the bicyclists could come from Potomac Ave too. Or from Arizona Ave.

And another thing to consider is instead of going through galena, that bicyclists could use the AZ ramp and then go to Sherier without going from the section from AZ bridge to galena. One problem with this area is that the crosswalk does not go all the way to the ramp. Any reason why?

by Brett Young on Jun 12, 2014 4:56 pm • linkreport

But I think we have found the crux of the problem. not about dogwalkers and kids in the park, but the fear that driving home down an eminently bikeable street, someone might be slowed down by driving behind a cyclist.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jun 12, 2014 4:58 pm • linkreport

"SherierPlaceisNOTYourBikeLane!"

I mean it's a public street so I think people can operate a bicycle on it if they like. It's not an interstate, right?

by MLD on Jun 12, 2014 4:59 pm • linkreport

@SherierPlaceisNOTYourBikeLane!
One other thing on Sherier:
Having bikes riding on the street actually slows down the CARS. They have to slow down near bikes. Which makes the street safer. Anytime I ride on that street I've had cars slow down when I ride on it.

by Brett Young on Jun 12, 2014 5:00 pm • linkreport

which is NOT designed to be able to accommodate an influx of bike traffic... where are those people supposed to go.

This would be a wonderful probelm to have. And easy to solve. You could add bike lanes, a cycle track, extend the path to run alongside the road, or any number of options.

"Too many bikes" is something I look forward to across the region.

by drumz on Jun 12, 2014 5:03 pm • linkreport

Maybe Sherier Place has always been meant solely for motor traffic?

by DaveG on Jun 12, 2014 5:36 pm • linkreport

/snark off

by DaveG on Jun 12, 2014 5:37 pm • linkreport

One clarification re the Little Falls Trail. It IS definitely a neighborhood trail, sparsely traveled, very hilly in parts, but it is paved like the CCT but not as wide. For those opposed to a paving, saying the trolley trail would be more like the Little Falls trail, leaves the impression it would be paved.

by Cat woman on Jun 12, 2014 5:45 pm • linkreport

In the 5400-5500 blocks of Sherier, why can't the median have a bike path down the middle, or protected bike lanes on the outside (while preserving parking), or some other such appropriate solution? This can be done while keeping the water main, overhead utility lines, etc. etc. in place.

by DaveG on Jun 12, 2014 5:47 pm • linkreport

@davidg
Everyone who lives at 5400-5500 blocks of Sherier doesn't want it changed. Its not part of my proposal. Why do you keep bringing that area up.

by Brett Young on Jun 12, 2014 5:54 pm • linkreport

It's a different situation from where the ROW goes between the homes (not down the middle of Sherier). Plus I've seen some instances of paved trails following the median of similarly divided streets.

by DaveG on Jun 12, 2014 6:00 pm • linkreport

Although right now it's probably easiest to focus on the off-road possibilities going south from Galena when there's already decent sidewalk and streets north of Galena.

by DaveG on Jun 12, 2014 7:20 pm • linkreport

Your arguments wants things two ways - if the trail becomes a heavily used route it causes disruption with significant added traffic (bike and commuters to a trailhead etc) to an area is not built to accommodate it - or if it doesn't, than is it worth the significant taxpayer costs that would go into it. The problem on Sherier (5400-5900) is not really about speeding, it's about congestion and the winding, blind corners etc, that make it an obstacle course to drive if you add in a large number of cyclists as well. Galena is also a small street, and if you add in people coming to part on the unzoned street to access the trail, it would add congestion the street cannot handle. I'm sure the Potomac Ave folks wouldn't like their street to be a de facto bike lane either...
The point of designated bike lanes and areas is to protect the safety bikers and pedestrians, too.
The point of the MUT design pieces is that MUT trails are meant to be large and heavily used if they are worth the money to do them... like the CCT - the trolley line trail is not suited to an interconnected multi-use network.
I completely agree with the poster about the Little Falls trail - it is paved and lightly used - ie. costly and taking away from the natural look and feel and experience of going out to enjoy the nature. Not a very attractive sounding model. I have walked the entire trolley trail many times - and I actual enjoy it's natural - and when I want to go on a paved path I go to the CCT, which I do nearly every weekend.
The whole paving the path project comes across to many as a vanity project for a few members of an area that already has a lot of resources - including one of the best and costliest bike trails two blocks away from it - it's highly likely residents and council members of other parts of the city would view it that way.

by SherierPlaceisNOTYourBikeLane! on Jun 12, 2014 8:53 pm • linkreport

if the trail becomes a heavily used route it causes disruption with significant added traffic (bike and commuters to a trailhead etc) to an area is not built to accommodate it - or if it doesn't, than is it worth the significant taxpayer costs that would go into it.

Well that's a false choice.

1. It'd have to be A LOT of cyclists for the road to be overwhelmed. And also, not everyone considers more cyclists a problem.

2. It also assumes that upgrading the trail would be expensive. It would certainly be more money than a no build alternative but far cheaper than many other transportation projects AND if it's built with a federal grant then it's that much less of an impact on taxpayers.

costly and taking away from the natural look and feel and experience of going out to enjoy the nature.

Again, this is a value judgement. We're talking about a "natural" area that is a strip of land that trains ran through, with houses close by on either side, in an area that is still fairly dense for a suburban area. So it's not that natural to begin with and a firmer surface along part of the area probably wouldn't radically change things one way or the other.

by drumz on Jun 12, 2014 9:25 pm • linkreport

First off, the fear that this would be a high-speed bike trail is a fallacy, nothing but FUD. This trail would certainly be used by runners, walkers, dog walkers, strollers, and Palisades commuters. No cyclist seeks out a 2-3 mile paved trail with a bunch of at-grade crossings where they are forced to stop. CCT is 7 miles without a single intersection and is a connector from well outside the city into the city. W&OD is 45 miles. These would be expected to get heavy bike workout traffic and they do. A 2 mile paved trail that ends in Georgetown and in a neighborhood in the Palisades would not become a cyclists workout trail. It's just the truth, so stop using this as FUD.

This trail would be used by people wanting to get between Palisades and Georgetown. That's not the goal of many cyclists. This would be an alternative for commuters to using Canal Rd. This would see a lot of running traffic. This would get a lot of stroller traffic. This would get a lot of dogwalking traffic.

This path coming to fruition, and exposing this commuter corridor and the phenomenal views, would be a benefit to the lives of MANY. Not doing it would preserve the path in it's current unmaintained state for the enjoyment of just the very FEW. FEW vs MANY. Makes sense to me, NIMBY's be darned.

by kny on Jun 12, 2014 9:27 pm • linkreport

Hundreds of people currently use the side of the trail that runs West of the Park & Rec Center across Arizona Ave

Perhaps. But as we move farther east the numbers drop off pretty quickly. And no one uses the section east of Foxhall

costly and taking away from the natural look and feel and experience of going out to enjoy the nature

The trolley line isn't totally natural as it is. It represents quite a bit of earth moving. Cuts and built up areas etc...Just because it has grass on it doesn't make it natural. And paving it will not destroy the nature that encompasses about 98% of the remaining view.

There is currently a DOT plan already in the works to build an access point from the park across to the Canal

That's great if one want to go to the Canal. But not so great if one wants to go to Foxhall, Georgetown U or any place in between.

Sherier Place is not built to accommodate an influx of biker in any way

Right now there may be 1 cyclist every 20 minutes. Even if that went up by 10 times (and DDOT is ecstatic if a project doubles use) that would still mean 1 cyclist every 2 minutes. Hardly an overwhelming wave. Besides, Potomac is the better choice. It has a nicer view.

it is worth remembering just TWO BLOCKS AWAY from the 'trail head' at Galena - all are welcome to access the CCT

It's also worth mentioning that just TWO BLOCKS AWAY from the 'trail head' at Galena - one is welcome to access the C&O Canal National Park and enjoy all kinds of natural scenic beauty.

But it isn't really two blocks away, because there are only a few places to access the CCT and it is far below the trolley ROW. The point is not to get on a trail. It is to go some place, so getting on another trail, even if it is only two blocks away, doesn't do one much good if it doesn't go where they want to go.

why bother putting tons of $ into paving a trail in the first place.

Paving a trail doesn't cost tons of money. It's actually quite cheap and can hold up for 20-30 years.

It's been troubling to many in the neighborhood that this process has been completely led and taken over by bikers

The meetings are all open to the public. Anyone who is troubled should attend. But a paved trail would benefit many other people - those in wheel chairs, those with baby strollers, those on roller-blades, those who want to walk or run shortly after a rain.

This trail will not be a 2nd CCT. The CCT is in the top 1% of all trails by use nationwide and probably the top 0.01%. The MBT, which is much longer and passes through denser areas, doesn't get anywhere near the usage of the CCT.

Still, if paving a section, or the whole trail is heavily opposed by the neighbors, I suspect a compromise could be found. Far more important than paving is building or rebuilding the bridges needed to connect the pieces.

by David C on Jun 12, 2014 10:03 pm • linkreport

@SherierPlaceisNOTYourBikeLane!
I think you are making an assumption that more people from outside of the community would use this.
The irony is that I think people like yourself would actually use this, meaning residents of the community.
Palisades opposed the playground and opposed the soccer field because, and this is what I heard from people who were part of the debate, that outsiders would come in and ruin the neighborhood.
What happen was they both got built and all the people opposed to it are the ones that are using those facilities. Are outsides coming in to use the Palisades Rec center park? Yes and no. If there is a soccer game through a league, people are coming in from the outside.
But day to day use of the park is being used by Palisades residents. Someone from Bethesda isn't going out of their way to Palisades to enjoy the park.
Another example....the path at Norton which connects to the CCT. People didn't want it. Cars would drive in from the outside, park their cars and ride to Georgetown or Bethesda.
On a typical weekend, when I park my car on Potomac Ave, I might see a total of 5 cars parked there.....at the max.
In any event my proposal was for DDOT to study these issues. They'd probably study the impact of a bike trail and analyze bicycle traffic on sherrier......

by Brett Young on Jun 12, 2014 10:23 pm • linkreport

@SherierPlaceisNOTYourBikeLane!
If you were in charge, what would you do to the whole trail?
Do you think, on any level, there needs to be some improvements?

by Brett Young on Jun 12, 2014 10:48 pm • linkreport

The problem on Sherier (5400-5900) is not really about speeding, it's about congestion and the winding, blind corners etc, that make it an obstacle course to drive if you add in a large number of cyclists as well.

Why on earth would anyone drive more than one block on Sherier when there is a perfectly good, parallel, multi-lane road in MacArthur Boulevard one block away?

by contrarian on Jun 13, 2014 8:38 am • linkreport

It's been troubling to many in the neighborhood that this process has been completely led and taken over by bikers.

Anyone who believes that has not been participating in the process.

by contrarian on Jun 13, 2014 8:40 am • linkreport

The more I think about it the more I wonder why not, instead of following Sherier and Norton, follow Galena west to Potomac Ave then north to Norton?

Galena goes up a steep hill to Potomac. I would say too steep for all but inexperienced cyclists and fit walkers.

by contrarian on Jun 13, 2014 8:44 am • linkreport

The ONLY reason to pave it would be accommodate high speed, commuter bikers who would only increase congestion to the Palisades, which is already plagued by rushing commuters. Bikers going 15-25 miles an hour on this trail.

I went for a run last night. The section between the rec center and the Arizona bridge was impassible because it had rained yesterday and there was standing water. The section between the bridge and Galena was passable but unpleasant because the ground was muddy. The bridge itself was tricky because a large puddle forms at the top of the ramp. Proper drainage and surface that doesn't soften when it rains would make that section much nicer for runners, walkers, skateboarders and people pushing strollers, among others.

by contrarian on Jun 13, 2014 8:51 am • linkreport

And wheelchair users...that ADA thing again :-)

The nice thing about ADA accessibility is that it makes a given trail, sidewalk, etc. etc. also barrier free for every one of those other users.

If, on such a paved trail, there is a stop sign at every or many street crossing(s), that tends to slow down the fast bikers. Those people will then most likely gravitate to the nearby CCT.

by DaveG on Jun 13, 2014 9:17 am • linkreport

@contrarian - "Galena goes up a steep hill to Potomac. I would say too steep for all but experienced cyclists and fit walkers."

Isn't it nice have the choice of that route and Sherier/Norton? :-)

by DaveG on Jun 13, 2014 9:22 am • linkreport

One even has the choices of using Arizona, Galena, Cathedral, Macomb, Manning, Newark or Norton to get between Sherier and Potomac. Or between Potomac and Sherier, depending on which way one is traveling. For challenge or variety of route, if nothing else.

by DaveG on Jun 13, 2014 9:28 am • linkreport

If there is a soccer game through a league, people are coming in from the outside.

Not to get too far off topic, but this isn't a good example. While leagues do draw from a wider geographic area, the leagues that play at Palisades field are dominated by kids from Palisades, the Palisades neighborhood has more youth soccer players than any other neighborhood in the city. Far more, in fact, than the field can handle, which means that Palisades exports youth soccer players to the rest of the city and the region.

by contrarian on Jun 13, 2014 9:30 am • linkreport

One interesting thing in the debate is the whole "Well there's a trail 2 blocks away called the CCT & the C&O Canal"
And yet, right in their backyard, they have this 3 mile trail from Galena to Foxhall.

That broken fence at the AZ bridge and the puddles on the bridge have been like that for years.
Look at that photo above in the article.
How come the residents don't get up on arms about the way the trail CURRENTLY looks?
Or how about the residents getting angry that the city doesn't mow the path except for the area around the rec center?
Or that there isn't any type of trash pickup?
Or that the trail on both sides of chain bridge road is almost always "Swampy"?

A guy who lives in the neighborhood for 3 years takes one look at this trail and asks himself "Why does the trail look so neglected?
And every time I've walked it, there's hardly anyone on the trail. (Minus the rec center area) There's almost no one in their backyards either.

Can we reach some kind of consensus? I hope so.

by Brett Young on Jun 13, 2014 9:31 am • linkreport

One even has the choices of using Arizona, Galena, Cathedral, Macomb, Manning, Newark or Norton to get between Sherier and Potomac. Or between Potomac and Sherier, depending on which way one is traveling. For challenge or variety of route, if nothing else.

Exactly. There's no need for marked bike facilities. The whole "Sherier can't handle the bike traffic" argument is so completely bogus.

by contrarian on Jun 13, 2014 9:32 am • linkreport

To the above seven streets I forgot to add Carolina and Dorsett.

by DaveG on Jun 13, 2014 9:42 am • linkreport

To the above seven streets I forgot to add Carolina and Dorsett.

Plus there's a couple unnamed alleys that are paved. You could walk from Galena to Norton every day for a year and never go the same way twice and never leave pavement.

by contrarian on Jun 13, 2014 10:46 pm • linkreport

If you zoom all the way in on the Google Map at Macomb and Carolina, you'll see that the property lines show what appears to be more public land going north from there...as if Carolina continued north as an alley. I don't know what this is about, but the topo map shows it as a park. Again, nothing permanent is built here. So it's clearly more public ROW/easement of some sort. I don't know why it wasn't made into an alley. The same situation continues north of Manning where there are two more such parcels, although these parcels are surrounded on 3 sides by private property and do not continue through to Newark or even to the old trolley ROW. Interesting.

by DaveG on Jun 14, 2014 12:38 pm • linkreport

I take it back. There are alleys between Manning and Newark but these parcels don't reach them. Again, interesting situation. It seems part of the problem here is that this particular street and alley grid was laid out less than ideally given the presence of the old trolley ROW, because the ROW splits some parcels as a result. Probably would have been better to have the ROW be completely in the median of a boulevard such as Sherier rather than this oddball situation. And certainly not splitting any small parcels in two.

by DaveG on Jun 14, 2014 12:48 pm • linkreport

Another better solution would have been to lay out the streets and parcels in such a way that the ROW was always between the homes the way back alleys are...so never cutting through back or front yards. Or only in street medians.

by DaveG on Jun 14, 2014 3:02 pm • linkreport

DC should restore the right of way to street car use. This would make the Palisades a major transit corridor and open up possibilities for upzoning, mixed-use development and more infill density. It's silly that this desirable area of the city looks like Mayberry in DC. Taller buildings would add needed density, take great advantage of the river views and increase tax revenue for DC. Build a streetcar now!

by Randy on Jun 14, 2014 4:59 pm • linkreport

@Randy
You forgot to add the brackets between your post.

by Brett Young on Jun 14, 2014 7:10 pm • linkreport

@randy
That should say you forgot to add the sarcasm brackets between your post

by Brett Young on Jun 14, 2014 7:42 pm • linkreport

Sometimes it's hard to tell if someone's being sarcastic on here :-)

by DaveG on Jun 14, 2014 7:54 pm • linkreport

@Brett - Was there a trolley bridge over Reservoir Rd? Because right now it looks like the crossing there is at grade, at least on the north side...

by DaveG on Jun 15, 2014 6:35 pm • linkreport

@davidg-
Yes there was a bridge there.
On this webpage photos 23-26
capitaltransit.home.comcast.net/~capitaltransit/rh/20/index.html

And in the book about the Palisades, there is another photo of the bridge
http://www.amazon.com/Palisades-Washington-D-C-Images-America/dp/0738518093

by Brett Young on Jun 15, 2014 7:27 pm • linkreport

@Brett - You sure? Because I went to the aerial photo website linked above and it looks like the bridge is actually a bit south of Reservoir because there's a stream there (see how the picture you just linked to mentions a "waterfall?" And I can see the bridge over Canal Rd. in Street View. I could be wrong, of course. Regardless, I'm sure a new bridge would be needed over that stream, but can Reservoir Rd. now be crossed at grade?

by DaveG on Jun 15, 2014 7:36 pm • linkreport

BTW the Amazon link doesn't have the picture you mention. I'm not going to buy the book. But I will look at it at the library or if a friend owns a copy :-)

by DaveG on Jun 15, 2014 7:38 pm • linkreport

To cross Reservoir RD, you need to climb this Tree root
Look at photos on this page:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/jojopuppyfish/sets/72157638808544224/
dsc_0716, 715, 713, 708, 714, 712

by Brett Young on Jun 15, 2014 7:59 pm • linkreport

By aerial photo website I meant the one mentioned way back in the comments here.

In the capitaltransit.home site you link to 3 comments up, picture #23 has an excellent view of the current Chain Bridge (completed in 1939).

by DaveG on Jun 15, 2014 8:09 pm • linkreport

When I said at grade, I meant after the proposed trail is built. But if you can get through there now, that's OK too :-)

by DaveG on Jun 15, 2014 8:13 pm • linkreport

Your pic #714 seems to show the waterfall in the lower right hand corner.

by DaveG on Jun 15, 2014 8:24 pm • linkreport

Reservoir Road runs along a ravine and crosses it on a bridge right after it meets the trolley track. On the north side the trolley trail and Reservoir Road are at the same elevation. On the south side the trolley trail ends at the ravine, you have to walk up a steep trail up the hill to join the road, and then walk down the road and over the bridge to rejoin the trail. The connecting trail is only passable by the fittest walkers.

by contrarian on Jun 16, 2014 11:01 pm • linkreport

@contrarian - by "bridge" here I think you mean a culvert under Reservoir? Where the little waterfall is in pic #714 of Brett's Flickr photos?

by DaveG on Jun 17, 2014 8:51 am • linkreport

Back in the day, when the trolley operated, there was a bridge across what is now Reservoir Rd. You can see it in old photos, the Hill photos if you google capital transit. But the bridge was taken down and perhaps reservoir Rd was upgraded and the creek which had run thru the ravine there was run under the road thru a pipe. One photo references the widening of the road.

by Cat woman on Jun 17, 2014 9:23 am • linkreport

For anyone still reading this post, I took photos of some of the other bridges along the trolley trail.
Maryland is currently fixing the Glen Echo bridge and reusing it for the MacArthur Bike path
https://www.flickr.com/photos/jojopuppyfish/sets/72157645849570941/

by Brett Young on Jul 26, 2014 7:35 am • linkreport

Where would this bridge intersect with the existing bike path/wide shoulder?

by Catwoman on Jul 26, 2014 5:16 pm • linkreport

@Catwoman
On MacArthur Blvd, near Glen Echo Park, there is that circle.
The shoulder where the bike path currently is, is considered too narrow. So they plan on rerouting the path over the Glen Echo Bridge.
Here is a link from the WashCycle blog that explains it in detail.
http://www.thewashcycle.com/2013/01/nps-and-mcdot-plan-to-reroute-part-of-macarthur-trail-on-cabin-john-trolley-row.html

BTW just my own opinion, but 3 out of the 4 remaining bridges on the Glen Echo trail are salvageable.
The one closest to the Union Arch Bridge, in the woods, is the only one that is in total disrepair (Luckily, its completely useless)

by Brett Young on Jul 26, 2014 11:38 pm • linkreport

This is great. It would be even better to completely convert/restore the Trolley Trail and reroute the MacArthur Blvd. bike/ped traffic onto it where possible. All the way from Cabin John turnaround to Norton St. then on to Prospect, but not along Sherier, of course. Maybe also place some signs at Norton and Galena with maps showing how to get between those two points using the streets/sidewalks?

by Dave G on Jul 28, 2014 9:02 am • linkreport

@davidg
Wouldn't be necessary from the Cabin john turnaround.
There already is a bike path in that area and the city of Glen Echo bought the rest of the right-of-way about 15 years ago. The bike path there is sufficient.

On photo 682 of that link I post of flickr is the photo of the trolley right of way near the Sycamore Store.
They could reroute bicycle traffic from Oberlin to just before Brookmont neighborhood and then reconnect it back to MacArthur Blvd. Its alot wider and straighter than the current MacArthur
I am assuming that Brookmont wouldn't want this trail going through their neighborhood.
But if they did, then potentially, you could connect this trail to the CCT via a bridge (which would be a big bridge) from the end of Ridge/Broad St over Little Falls Branch to the CCT. I think the old trolley route would now go inbetween people houses (near 62nd street)
http://goo.gl/maps/xkGMc
(Inbetween the car and the basketball net is where the trolley went over little falls)

Actually the Maryland section would never connect to Palisades Neighborhood Trail directly. The CCT connects to Norton already.

by Brett Young on Jul 28, 2014 12:24 pm • linkreport

That's right. You'd have to zigzag a little to get from Brookmont to Norton by these proposed trails, but that's OK. If I lived in Brookmont, I'd want both the connection to the CCT and the Trolley Trail to come through. Bicycle traffic in Brookmont could simply follow the one way streets with or without a bike lane (especially since the connection to the C&O Trail is on one-way, southbound Ridge Dr.). I also see there's a sidewalk along most of Broad Street which could handle foot traffic. Both situations would mean no trail needs to be built through Brookmont, although the old trolley line is there and still in public hands, therefore it could be used for the trolley trail.

by Dave G on Jul 28, 2014 2:47 pm • linkreport

So the next question is, is it better to get non-motorized traffic even further off MacArthur and completely onto the Trolley Trail, or not?

by Dave G on Jul 28, 2014 2:51 pm • linkreport

@David
One of the big complaints from everyone is if MD widens the bike trail currently there, many bicyclists still use the road during rush hour in the morning.
The trolley path is so wide up (and straighter than MacArthur), that I think if you made a 20ft path, most cyclists(including the power cyclists)would use that instead of the street.
Anyways, if Pepco is going to mow it, then it ought to be considered by Maryland.
I think , right now, their plan is to widen this section....problem is, they don't currently have the funding.

by Brett Young on Jul 28, 2014 3:48 pm • linkreport

Sounds like it is better to completely convert the trolley ROW to a trolley trail, then. Now to just find some funding...

Is it desirable to do this MoCo section as half 10' wide paved, half 10' wide grass like you are proposing for the DC section?

by Dave G on Jul 28, 2014 4:04 pm • linkreport

@davidg
Since no one lives in the Section North of Brookmont to Oberlin, and no one currently walks there, its sort of an open book what the public would want to do for it.
All one has to do is walk that section (park across the Sycamore store and walk north) and very quickly you see that biking there would be better than next to Macarthur Blvd.

by Brett Young on Jul 28, 2014 4:19 pm • linkreport

Brett, it appears that the trees and wooden fence behind the basketball hoop were placed across the old trolley ROW, which then continued SE across Little Falls Branch into what's now the water treatment plant.

by Dave G on Jul 30, 2014 5:49 am • linkreport

@daveg
What basketball hoop?

by Brett Young on Jul 30, 2014 8:03 am • linkreport

Here:

http://goo.gl/maps/i41hw

Same one you were talking about only you called it a net. So the 5+ trees planted behind it are across the old trolley ROW. You can see where the trolley ROW going down the median of Broad St. when you look the other way.

by Dave G on Jul 30, 2014 8:44 am • linkreport

Yeah that appears to be the case. I've walked on the other side of Little Falls Branch and I could not see a trace of the old right of way or any bridge that remained.

by Brett Young on Jul 30, 2014 10:29 am • linkreport

Ah, yes, the old trolley line! I used it as a subject for a high school photography class project back in the late '70's (before the bridges were torn down!), as I'd lived close by and loved to hike along its length. My photography teacher marked it down as an "uninteresting" subject. Not so now, eh? Even then, I was frowned at for "trespassing" through ROW gardens. Good luck with this trail project!

by Leslie C. on Aug 2, 2014 10:35 pm • linkreport

@leslie C
Would love to see those photos if you still have them

by Brett Young on Aug 4, 2014 10:44 pm • linkreport

Some updated photos on the Glen Echo Bridge being retrofitted.
Maryland has removed the old wooden planks on the top and all that you now can see is the steel beams, which look really good visually.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/jojopuppyfish/sets/72157645849570941/
Photos 949, 952, 954, 958

by Brett Young on Aug 19, 2014 11:00 am • linkreport

It appears the approach/abutment(s) is/are being rebuilt, too. Yes, all looking good so far. Should be fun to cross over when done!!

by Dave G on Aug 19, 2014 11:49 am • linkreport

If anyone was curious if the current trail can hold the weight of a trolley, please take a look at the photo of this pepco truck I took today......the answer is yes
https://www.flickr.com/photos/jojopuppyfish/14981699731/

by Brett Young on Aug 20, 2014 8:18 pm • linkreport

OK the trail itself can support that truck, obviously, but can the bridge do that? When it's done being rehabbed and prepped for trail use, of course. Given that it used to support the trolley train itself.

by Dave G on Aug 21, 2014 6:38 am • linkreport

@davidg
Someone who I wont mention his name keeps saying the water pipes under the right of way prevent a trolley from ever going back on the right of way.

Can a bridge support that truck? If DDOT wanted to make a bridge that supported that truck it could do it.
But I am pretty sure most Palisades residents would like to get Pepco off the trail permanently by burying those powerlines.

by Brett Young on Aug 21, 2014 7:16 am • linkreport

I'm sure a small to medium sized pickup truck would do just fine for utility and maintenance purposes on the trail. These bridges should be able to handle that if they could handle trolley cars.

by Dave G on Aug 21, 2014 8:10 am • linkreport

I went over to the Glen Echo bridge and talked to one of the workers on that bridge.
They said only 10% of the beams need replacing.
This, from a bridge built in 1900 and hasn't been used since 1961.

by Brett Young on Aug 22, 2014 2:14 pm • linkreport

Anyone who is interested in this path, please take our community survey of the path at
www.dctrailsurvey.org
-Brett Young

by Brett Young on Oct 17, 2014 6:39 pm • linkreport

I grew up in houses very close to, or adjacent to the old trolley line (this one house was actually a stop for the trolley - years after it was abandoned, we'd sometimes find strangers passing through our back yard. We didn't mind, as ex-trolley riders turned out to be our neighbors ;)). I played along the ROW as a little kid, and as a big kid often went for long "unofficial" hikes, from Georgetown to Cabin John. So by all means, create an "official" trail here! Perhaps crushed stone and rules-of-the-trail similar to the C&O Canal towpath: another abandoned ROW some nervous folks had at first thought would be a failure plus invite crime (never happened - it's still a success!).

by Leslie C. on Oct 18, 2014 8:53 am • linkreport

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