Greenbelt East Trail February 2024 2nd Update

This is our 21st Greenbelt East Trail Newsletter. If you're new to the project, our website for Friends of the Greenbelt East Trail is www.greenbeltnasatrail.org for background info.


Here's the latest news:


  1. MDOT SHA's director Will Pines spoke at the Bike Maryland symposium last Thursday. Pines said MDOT is looking for bike/walk projects that are “actionable” in the short run, meaning no utilities relocation, no big landscaping, no additional asphalt, no controversial traffic impacts.
  2. Of course, this is exactly what we’re proposing for the Greenbelt East Trail -- using existing asphalt, using moveable materials like curbstops and flexposts, working around utility poles near ERHS, not taking away through traffic lanes, concentrating on safety over beauty -- so you’d think our project would be a natural fit for SHA's priorities.
  3. On our Friends of the Greenbelt East Trail stakeholders call last Friday,  MDOT SHA reported that the feasibility studies for both the Sector 2 (NASA) and the whole trail (ERHS past NASA to Glenn Dale) were now completed and under internal comment and review. They suggested that the Sector 2 feasibility study comment period would be 2-4 weeks, and the full trail comment period 4-6 weeks. Thus, we should get a first look at the Sector 2 Feasibility Study in mid March and the full trail study by the beginning of April.
  4. MDOT SHA District 3 (Prince George's and Montgomery Counties) engineer Peter Campanides suggested that a "Quick Build" for Sector 2 (NASA) was a possibility. If so, would/could probably start in new fiscal year after July 1, 2024.
  5. Campanides also suggested that Friends of the GET should concentrate on Sector 1 (the Greenbelt sector, basically a sidewalk expansion) as our top priority. I sort of expected this. SHA will probably propose that the state take the lead on the NASA sector (Sector 2), and will probably defer to Greenbelt to figure out how to build out Sector 1 within the Greenbelt city limits.
  6. In a separate call, Greenbelt City Manager Josue Salmeron suggested that Friends of the Greenbelt East Trail should start the process of writing grants to design the Greenbelt sector, including "writing us in" to help administer the grants. We pledged to have a list of possible grant opportunities back to the City by the end of this month. Some of the deadlines are coming up quickly.
  7. Greenbelt mayor Emmett Jordan and mayor pro tem Kristin Weaver were on the SHA call. Jordan mentioned that we (Friends of the GET) were moving this project very fast, which I think he meant as a compliment. But in reality, we have been working on this project since our original trail walk with State Delegate Nicole Williams and SHA District 3 staff in late 2022, nearly 18 months ago, and we haven’t really accomplished anything yet. Greenbelt Road is just as unsafe and inaccessible for bike riders, walkers, and bus users than it was in 2022 when we started.
  8. Friends of the GET are testifying this week and next on S514 (Hearing is Sept 22 at 1pm) and HB389 (Hearing is Sept 28 at 1pm). Here is a link to our statement. I want to be at the hearing in person to answer questions about how this bill came about.
  9. Basically there is no maintenance at all -- neither by the state, county or city -- on sidewalks along state roads in the Greenbelt area, and we don't have any protected bike trails or sidepaths yet. However, a clause in state law that requires localities to maintain sidewalks and sidepaths along state roads caused us a long delay in getting on the list for an MDOT SHA feasibility study for the GET. So we figured, let's just take that clause out so that future trail projects in our area could be evaluated more quickly! Our sidewalks will still be dilapidated, but maybe we can get some new trails built!
  10. Selfishly, I would happily trade a pledge of "Quick Build" on the GET starting in July 2024 for postponement HB389 if that's a possible deal to cut with SHA. It would also depend on getting an assurance from SHA that the maintenance hang up won't delay other crucial safety and accessibility projects in our area.
  11. In the long run, I hope that the volunteers from GET could take an important role monitoring the trail for hazards, clearing brush and the like. We already have agreements with the forest service to clear mountain bike trails -- you have to take a 2-day chain saw safety class! -- so why not get ourselves approved to do light maintenance duties on roadside trails too!
  12. Our next newsletter will be in March when we get our first look at the Sector 2 Feasibility Study. Please reply to this email or send a note to info@greenbeltnasatrail.org if you haven't received an invite to the Feb. 16th call and would like to join.

What We Have Now

What We Want

What We Have Now

What We Want

What We Have Now

What We Want

Friends of the Greenbelt East Trail

Full Trail Resources:


Sector 2 (NASA) Resources:


Our community partners in this effort are the City of Greenbelt, WABA, ATHA, the East Coast Greenway, the Greenbelt Community Development Corp., and the Glenn Dale Citizens Association. Would your company or organization like to help the trail effort? Please use reply to this newsletter or email us at info@greenbeltnasatrail.org for more info. -Jeff

How Can You Help?

Please don't hesitate to reply to this email with info and corrections and ideas! Please forward this newsletter to your friends and encourage them to sign up for these emails too. We will need to reach out to more stakeholders and public officials whose help we will need to make www.GreenbeltNASATrail.org a reality! -Jeff