Construction begins on trail between Prince George’s County and Washington, D.C. -- Gazette.Net


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Prince George’s County commuters headed to Washington, D.C., will have the option of ditching their cars for a bicycle and taking a streamlined route to the city once the newest link in the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail is complete.

Construction began in late April on a 4-mile path that will connect Benning Road in Washington, D.C., to Bladensburg Waterfront Park and complete a pedestrian and bicycle trail network that extends nearly 70 miles in Maryland and the District.

“I’m ecstatic over the extension,” said Alan Abrams, a Silver Spring resident who said he often rides his bicycle to Bladensburg Waterfront Park. “Eventually you’ll be able to cut through to [the District]. My wife works in Capitol Hill and she likes to bike, but she’s intimidated by cutting through traffic, so this is going to be a major piece of work.”

The new trail segment will connect multiple neighborhoods, increase access to transit stations and reduce bicycle commute times by up to 30 minutes, said Erin Henson, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Transportation. It is scheduled to open in spring of 2016.

Bernadine Sandy, the facility manager at Bladensburg Waterfront Park, said the new trail piece will likely increase visitors and pedestrian and bicycle traffic at the park.

“The extension of the trail gives people the opportunity to come from anywhere in Maryland, even Takoma Park, and bike all the way into D.C.,” she said. “We should have increased visitation. We already see an increase in the number of bikers.”

Sandy said an increase in cyclists came after the last extension of the Bladensburg path two years ago, which added about a mile and a half of trail. In response to the increased activity and planned trail construction, the park began offering bicycle rentals last May, Sandy could not provide specific numbers regarding how many cyclists use the trail.

Sung Chang of Bladensburg said he likes to walk the paths, but probably wouldn’t walk or ride a bicycle all the way into the District once the trail extension is complete.

“I would drive my car,” he said. “Some people like to ride their bikes to D.C. One of my friends said he likes to take his bike. It’s a good idea.”

The $22 million path extension is funded through a combination of District, state and federal funds, and designed in partnership with the District of Columbia, Maryland and the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission - Prince George’s, Henson said.

“The Anacostia trail will not only provide new transportation options for Marylanders to travel into the District of Columbia, it will also provide access to great recreation opportunities,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker. “This new biking option will serve as a gateway into our county, allowing more people in the Washington region to experience and explore the beautiful landscape of Prince George’s County.”

To view a video animation of the proposed trail design, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJEyOJp6cR8&feature=youtu.be.



eeastman@gazette.net