Reporting on pedestrian life in the D.C. area

Momentum builds for the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail

November 11, 2011 - 11:20 AM
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Hooray for more trails. (Photo: DDOT)

A lot of enthusiasm has accompanied the fall 2011 opening of another stretch of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail near Bladensburg, Maryland in the last week or so. The new stretch of trail, part of an overall proposed length of more than 20 miles and what the District Department of Transportation imagines will be $50 million throughout the coming years, is a terrific addition for families, pedestrians, and bicyclists. The best proof may be in this video from state of Maryland, which shows many of the different local and national officials who gathered for its ribbon cutting earlier this month:

"When people wonder 'what's the vision thing,' this is it," U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood told gathered crowds at the ribbon-cutting.

DDOT spokesperson John Lisle took to the department's blog to celebrate the ribbon-cutting:

Work on the Trail is already well underway. With more than $25 million invested, 12 of 20 miles are complete, including segments linking Diamond Teague Park, the Pumphouse, the Yards, Navy Yard, RFK Stadium, River Terrace and Anacostia Park. The rest are in planning, design or under construction in coordination with the National Park Service (NPS), U.S. DOT and other agencies.

The new stretch of the trail is only part of many advances coming to the Anacostia Watershed.

Throughout the next several years, Lisle alluded to 60 miles of trail as well as, in the short term, two pedestrian bridges. All of these efforts fit into the greater governmental push to revitalize the Anacostia Waterfront.

The Wash Cycle biking blog expressed amazement at the amount of enthusiasm the ribbon-cutting attracted as well as the eventual size and benefit of these trails, not to mention the number of "bigwigs," perhaps out of scale with the one and a half miles that opened:

I've been to other ribbon cuttings, but I've never seen this level of dignitaries at one - and this is for a 1.5 mile trail with no exits and a deadend near a highway. I don't think the Wilson Bridge trail had this kind of participation. I wouldn't even really call it finished until it connects to DC's streets.

Fair enough. But as with other celebrations that DDOT holds throughout D.C., the ceremony is more for education, awareness, and as a concrete demonstrable show of support for the project moving forward. The goal is to create momentum. A project of this scale — and with these great biking and pedestrian benefits in the future — needs precisely that.

Yes we build roads & bridges, but we're also constructing 20 miles of trails along the Anacostia River:
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