- Arlington just approved a state grant for the Route 110 trail, shown here on a county map as priority number five on a master list of trail priorities. (Courtesy Arlington County.)
Arlington County’s bike and trail advocates are known for having a lengthy wish list for trails and trail connections they’d like to see completed. (One of them has gone as far as to call Arlington’s ever expanding trail network “an embarrassment of riches”.)
Well, the cyclists got some more good news last week, as the county moved on another of the items on that wish list: the Route 110 trail. Arlington County Board approved almost $250,000 in grant funding Feb. 12 to construct the half mile stretch along the highway that will connect the Pentagon and the Columbia Pike corridor to Memorial Bridge.
This is the first installment of funding that will largely go toward the construction of the project, according to David Goodman, Arlington's bicycle and pedestrian programs manager.
The entire project is expected to cost more than $600,000, although when it will be up and running largely depends on the National Park Service. The land for the trail, which runs next to Route 110 from the Pentagon north parking lot to the Memorial Bridge, is almost all part of George Washington Memorial Parkway property maintained by the federal agency.
The county is about to start an environmental assessment for the project, and still has to secure permits from the Park Service for installation of the paved trail. Goodman’s best guess for when construction will begin on the segment? About a year from now, in the spring of 2012.
In the meantime, Arlington has applied for another grant from the Virginia Department of Transportation to finance the rest of the project.
- A view of the dirt path that currently serves as the Route 110 trail. (Photo: TBD Staff)
Still, Goodman is happy to see movement on converting the existing dirt path — which is mostly used by military doing physical training exercises, he says — into a full fledged trail. “The path there went in right around the same time as the Metro,” he says. “We always planned to have a trail along there.”
BikeArlington manager Tim Kelley says he has taken the existing trail a few times, even without the paving, because it's so convenient. "It’s been worn down to a single track in places, which indicates that even though it isn’t paved it is popular with cyclists and pedestrians and warrants more attention," he says in an email. "Because it in unpaved, it’s doable but generally not a pleasant ride on a road bike."
Goodman adds that the 110 trail will “give people another north-south option other than the Mount Vernon trail, which is already very crowded, and kind of out of way for a lot of people.” The 110 trail would meet up with a small trail connector that runs from where Columbia Pike ends on the north side of the Pentagon down to and across Route110.