Here's What Greenbelt Road (MD Route 193) Looks Like Near NASA

Here's What we Want Instead! (Pic is from a DC Protected Bike Trail)

Nov. 9 Community Walk Recap

Delegate Nicole Williams and staff from the State Highway Administration (SHA), met at Eleanor Roosevelt High School to walk the proposed trail route from Eleanor Roosevelt High School to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center last Wednesday afternoon. We were joined by Greenbelt Mayor Jordan and Mayor pro tem Weaver, representatives from PGParks, the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area, Del. Alonzo Washington's office, the East Coast Greenway, the Capital Trails Coalition, WABA, the Glenn Dale Citizens Association, Proteus Bicycles & Brews, Proteus Velo Club, Jafe Cycling, about a dozen staffers from NASA, and a host of local bike riders. I didn't count, but I think about 30 people made the walk, which was great! Daniel from the East Coast Greenway created a great photo album here at this link.

Greenbelt Mayor pro tem Weaver leads a group near ERHS. (If you look closely you can see the next group a ways back!)

Greenbelt Mayor Jordan, Delegate Williams, SHA District 3 head Derek Gunn and a staffer from his team pose in front of NASA's main gate.

Delegate Williams thanks the state officials after the walk.

Next Steps: Feasibility, Design, Funding, Construction

Usually the process for getting trails built has many phases:

  1. Community Interest (where we are now)
  2. Feasibility Studies (if necessary)
  3. Engineering Design Drawings (30% initial, and 100% for construction)
  4. Funding
  5. Construction

SHA's David Rodgers, who is the chief planner for the agency in Prince George's county, told me that there are two program areas that might be suitable for funding this trail project:

a.) the Transportation Alternatives (TA) and Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs, which would apply since we have ERHS and DuVal High Schools are right along the route, and

b. the New Sidewalk Construction for Pedestrian Access (Fund 79) and Bicycle Retrofit (Fund 88) programs.

We will also probably need to organize a Memorandum of Understanding between the SHA and the City of Greenbelt, the Prince George's Department of of Public Works and Transport (DPWT), possibly PGParks, and possibly a non-profit citizens group that we'd have to create (maybe East Coast Greenway or the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area could help) to stake out a maintenance program for the trail, since SHA usually does NOT maintain trails and sidewalks alongside its roads. I'd like to get that policy changed, since I think SHA SHOULD maintain bike and walking facilities alongside its roads, but for now we might have to work around it.

My next steps will be to follow up with SHA to see if a feasibility study is needed, and, if so, how to get that going. I will also follow up with Delegate Williams to see if any state funding could be directed toward the initial stages of this project during next year's legislative session. Finally, I will start asking around SHA and the City of Greenbelt to see about the process for getting funds from the TA/SRTS of the Fund 79 and Fund 88 programs.

How Can You Help?

The map above is from my ride yesterday from Greenbelt to Reston VA to visit my brother. It was about 99 percent on protected shared use trails and bike lanes, along the Anacostia River Trail System, the new protected bike lanes and walkways in SW DC near the stadiums and the Wharf, the bike/walk trail on the 14th Street Bridge, the Mount Vernon Trail, the Custis Trail, the 4 Mile Run Trail, and W&OD Trail. All of those trails and the connections between them were built because activists like you, your government officials, and the organizations you support worked hard for them.

Please send this newsletter to your friends and encourage them to sign up for these emails. Feel free to reply to this email to contact me directly. As we continue to get organized, we can make plans to have meetings and reach out to more stakeholders and public officials whose help we will need to make a reality! -Jeff