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Metropolitan Branch Trail extension to Takoma brings concerns to residents

While some residents are in support of the new proposal, others are asking for major changes

Rendering via District Department of Transportation

For over 20 years, the Metropolitan Branch Trail has had a missing segment between Fort Totten NE and Eastern Avenue NE. According to Greater Greater Washington, there are new designs of the proposed pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly roads, and some residents aren’t totally content with the plans.

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) hopes to connect Riggs and Blair roads NE as well as Kansas Avenue NE and Sandy Spring Road NE.

For the first segment, there are plans for sharrows (or roads where bicyclists share the road with drivers), speed humps, and a traffic signal at the intersection of Riggs Road NE and 1st Street NE. Another traffic signal would be constructed at the intersection of McDonald Place NE and South Dakota and New Hampshire avenues NE.

Greater Greater Washington reported that responses to these plans varied with leadership from the Washington Area Bicycling Association (WABA) describing the proposal as “reasonable,” while leadership from the South Manor Park Neighborhood Association described 1st Street NE as too narrow for the addition of bicyclists.

For the proposal for the segment between Kansas Avenue NE and Sandy Spring Road NE, the plan is to replace the sidewalk on the eastern side of Blair Road NE between McDonald Place NE and Rittenhouse Street NE with a shared use path.

In response to this plan, Greater Greater Washington argued that this proposal would only make the trail worse by putting cyclists at risk of getting “doored,” or hit by an opened car door. Residents asked DDOT to instead put a trail on Van Buren Street NE, but the DDOT described the street as too narrow for a trail.

In an online article, WABA wrote, “We’re still not sure who supports this trail, which is not good.”

WABA argued that Ward 4 definitely needs a complete Metropolitan Branch Trail, but construction could be delayed by residents asking for major changes to the proposal.

Let’s not delay the Met Branch Trail another 5 years [WABA]

The Metropolitan Branch Trail is coming to Takoma…maybe [Greater Greater Washington]