The Washington Boulevard Trail project will include the construction of a bicycle and pedestrian trail along Washington Boulevard that will provide an off-street link of the Arlington Boulevard Trail to Columbia Pike. The trail will link to bicycle and pedestrian facilities being developed along Columbia Pike and in the Pentagon City area, as well as provide a new access way into Towers Park.
This trail is part of the overall network of bicycle and pedestrian facilities that the County has been developing for years to enhance travel across Arlington. Extending the network through the Penrose area is needed to help expand limited north-south connectivity in this part of the County. Bicyclists and pedestrians will be able to use the trail to connect from the Arlington Boulevard Trail and locations along it such as the Rosslyn and Court House areas to travel south to Columbia Pike and into the Pentagon City area. The trail will also provide local access for the Penrose area with connections to 6th Street South and Towers Park. Currently there is no access to Towers Park from the north or central areas of the Penrose neighborhood.
With matching funding contributed by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), Arlington County initiated design of the trail. Much of the trail alignment follows the path of the 20” water main that was installed by Arlington County in 2009. Phase 1 of the trail project, between Arlington Boulevard and Walter Reed Drive, was constructed soon afterwards. Phase 2 of the project has been awaiting completion of the design and acquisition of the remaining construction funding.
In Spring 2012, the County completed 80% design on Phase 2 and an environmental assessment that was shared with County advisory commissions and residents. Part of the environmental assessment was an evaluation of the trail construction’s likely impact upon the trees in the area. The initial assessment identified about 185 trees that may be removed. Subsequent modifications to the design have reduced the likely impact to about 140 trees. A comprehensive tree replanting will plant as many as 200 new trees in the area.
Construction is anticipated to begin in March 2014 and be completed in six to eight months.
County staff is meeting with the planned trail’s neighbors and advisory groups to elicit feedback on the design. County staff is also working with the project’s engineering consultant to implement design modifications to lessen the identified impacts upon trees and Long Branch Creek. The redesign includes some trail alignment changes that potentially could include moving more of the trail onto adjacent Navy Supply Center property. Several months will be required to work out all the changes and the 100% design is not anticipated to be completed until spring 2013. Upon completion of the project design, the 100% plans will be submitted to VDOT for approval.
Arlington has earned national accolades as both a bicycle and pedestrian-friendly community due to its development pattern that places residences, jobs and services in close proximity as well as its network of trails, bikeways and walkways. However, some areas of Arlington remain difficult to bicycle or walk to due to limited bicycle and pedestrian facilities. The Washington Boulevard Trail is part of an expansion of the trail network that is expected to substantially enhance bike and pedestrian access with the south-east parts of Arlington. Improving bicycle and pedestrian access is important in meeting County goals of improving mobility while reducing pollution and energy use and for enhancing public health and safety.
The initial concept for a trail along Washington Boulevard, linking the Arlington Boulevard Trail to Columbia Pike, was developed in the County’s 1994 Bicycle Transportation Plan. County staff undertook a feasibility study for a trail that evaluated alignments along both the east and west sides of Washington Boulevard. Based upon the results of that analysis, County staff selected the west side alignment as having both greater utility and feasibility.
Project design and construction costs of about $1.5 million are jointly funded by Arlington County and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).
For more information, please contact Ritch Viola at (703) 228-3699.