Comment for A Wider Long Bridge Bridge

The Virginia Regional Passenger Authority (VRPA) is seeking comment on the most recent designs for the future Long Bridge Bike and Pedestrian Bridge across the Potomac River. The bridge will be built in conjunction with construction of a new railroad bridge that will double train capacity across the Potomac.

Previous comments have been successful in widening the bridge by 2 feet, but we think it should be wider to meet needs for the next 100 years. Visit the survey and provide comments to Question 5 that we stole from our friends at Sustainable Mobility of Arlington County:

The proposed 16′ bike/ped bridge width is too narrow.  The vertical barriers on each side reduce the useful width of the bridge and leave no space for people to pause, whether to tie their shoe, change a flat tire, comfort a crying baby, or watch a train go by.  We cannot trap people in a 16′ wide channel that is nearly 10 football fields long without space to take a necessary pause. The proposed width will create conflicts that will be with us for decades to come.  Please widen the bike/ped span to 24′ in as many areas as possible to create space where people can pull to the side & pause.

In addition to widening the bridge by 2 feet, the updated designs have some great improvements to the connection to the Mount Vernon Trail, Long Bridge Park and East Potomac Park. The Mount Vernon Trail connection will have both a ramp on the eastern side of the trail and a staircase on the western side, both that are 16 feet wide. The landing area for the connection is wide to allow safe transitions. Planners also have planned the connection to accommodate the future widening of the trail to 11 feet.

The bridge will connect to the existing path behind the Long Bridge Aquatics Center which connects directly to the Long Bridge Esplanade as well as the future trail under construction as part of the Boundary Channel interchange project.

The landing to East Potomac Park is much improved from the previous design. The bridge will gradually slope to connect to the park and will have north and south approaches to connect to the roadway. Planners have incorporated connection to future bike lanes on Ohio Drive.

The Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail needs your help to continue improving the trail. Sign up for a volunteer trail improvement event or Donate to Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail to help us purchase tools and supplies.

Long Bridge Bike/Ped Bridge at 30% Design

The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) has completed 30% design on the Long Bridge project which includes a Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge that connects directly to the Mount Vernon Trail. The design will be shared during public engagement meetings in March. The Long Bridge Project will double existing rail capacity, creating a four-track corridor, by constructing approximately 1.8 miles of improvements, including a new two-track railroad bridge across the Potomac River, five rail bridges, bicycle and pedestrian bridges, and related railroad infrastructure. The Project serves to increase capacity and improve passenger rail operations.

Picture of concept for Long Bridge to Mount Vernon Trail connection.
Picture of concept for Long Bridge to Mount Vernon Trail connection. The 30% design will likely show changes to this this concept.

The following engagement opportunities are planned:

March 15 (3:30-6:00 PM): VRE Crystal City Station Entrance, 1503 Crystal Dr, Arlington, VA 22202

March 21 (3:30-6:00 PM): VRE L’Enfant Station, 650 Virginia Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024

March 25 (1:00-3:00 PM): Long Bridge Aquatics and Fitness Center, 333 Long Bridge Drive, Arlington, VA 22202

March 27 (6:00-7:00 PM): Virtual Public Meeting, Click here to register.

April 1 (9:00 AM-1:00 PM): Farmers Market SW, 4th and M St. SW, Washington, DC 20024

VPRA’s project page is at

The Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail needs your help to continue improving the trail. Sign up for a volunteer trail improvement event or Donate to Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail to help us purchase tools and supplies.

Mount Vernon Trail Is Now on Google Street View

Over the past month, we have been busy mapping all 18 miles of the Mount Vernon Trail for Google Street View. Previously only small portions of the trail were available online. We hope that having the entire trail on Google Street View it will inspire people to go outside and check out the trail in real life. Additionally, people worldwide can now experience the beauty of the Mount Vernon Trail from their computers. We will continue to update Google Street View throughout the year so trail users can see the trail change across seasons. Mapping the Mount Vernon Trail is only possible via the support of donors who helped purchase a GoPro Max camera. We use this camera to document the trail and volunteer events.

Highlights of our Google Street View footage include:

The new Bridge 12

Beautiful panoramas of the Potomac River

A person doing pushups in the road

Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail preparing for a volunteer event

The Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail needs your help to continue improving the trail. Sign up for a volunteer trail improvement event or Donate to Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail to help us purchase tools and supplies.

New Crystal City Waterpark Ramp Opens

The new ramp to the Crystal City Connector to the Mount Vernon Trail opened this week. The ramp was constructed as part of the redevelopment of the Crystal City Waterpark.

The new ramp is slightly wider, has a gentler slope and improved sightlines. The concrete surface also contains a lane divider markings as well as slow and yield markings where the ramp will connect to a new VRE platform entrance. Bicycle markings provide a visual indicator on the ramp of the presence of people riding bikes in an area that has high bike and pedestrian use. Construction is still ongoing in the park, which will open later this year new facilities including a trail head facility with restrooms.

Trail users may recall that the old ramp was made of brick pavers and included a sharp curve on a steep grade.

The Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail needs your help to continue improving the trail. Sign up for a volunteer trail improvement event or Donate to Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail to help us purchase tools and supplies.

Feedback Needed for Proposed Arlington Memorial Trail

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division (EFLHD) is designing a new, multiuse trail in Arlington between Columbia Pike and Memorial Bridge along Route 27 and Route 110, and is seeking input from the community on two concepts. This trail will provide a connection between the Mount Vernon Trail and Columbia Pike that avoids the multiple ramp crossings of the 27 Trail which also has multiple sections with substandard width. Check out the project page with the two proposed alternatives.

The Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail agree with the proposed comments of our friends at Sustainable Mobility of Arlington County and are encouraging you to submit comment to by February 24th, 2023. Suggested comment from SUSMO is below:

I am writing today with support for the Arlington Memorial Trail as well as with feedback on the two proposed alternatives.  The Arlington Memorial Trail would be an important north-south connection for people walking, biking, scooting & rolling in an area filled with barriers to this sort of travel.  In 2015 we lost the ability to travel through Fort Myer.  In 2016 we lost the ability to travel through Arlington National Cemetery.  The ability to get from Columbia Pike to the Mt Vernon Trail and the bridges to DC without a major detour now requires entering the Pentagon Reservation, which requires consenting to being searched at any time and public access to the Pentagon Reservation could be ended at any time. 

The Arlington Memorial Trail would provide a direct connection between Columbia Pike and the memorial core of DC that is safer, more pleasant, and more direct than the two substandard routes that exist today & ensure this connection continues no matter what changes may occur to security policy at the Pentagon.

Important Design Considerations for the Trail:

  1. Provide sufficient & consistent width & sight lines to prevent conflict between people walking and biking and to allow safe passing.
  2. Provide significant separation between the trail and highways like Route 27 and 110 to limit trail users exposure to vehicle emissions and noise pollution and barriers to shield trail users for blinding headlight glare.
  3. Use a long-wheel-base bicycle like a long-tail, bakfiets, or bicycle pulling a trailer as the design vehicle for the trail geometry to ensure curves, intersections, curb cuts, and other features all work for these longer trail user vehicles.
  4. Keep grade changes gradual to ensure the trail works for a wide variety of trail users.
  5. Provide a safe and direct crossing over Memorial Drive to facilitate connections from the Arlington Memorial Trail to the existing trail on the other side of Memorial Drive that would connect trail users to the US Marine Corp War Memorial & onward to Rosslyn & the Key Bridge.
  6. Dark-sky-compliant lighting that provides a consistent level of illumination for trail users.

Feedback on Presented Alternatives:

Sheet 4: Strongly prefer how ALT 2 relocates a portion of the Cemetery Wall to allow a consistent width for the trail and separation from the trail and the crash barrier.  The narrowed trail of ALT 1 further suffers from the placement of the crash barrier immediately adjacent to the trail surface which functionally narrows the trail further as trail users are loathe to use the portion of the trail immediately adjacent to a vertical barrier.

Sheet 5: Strongly prefer how ALT 1 maintains better separation from Route 110.  ALT 2’s proximity to 110 would needlessly expose trail users to vehicle emissions & noise pollution from the highway as well as creating a less comfortable trail experience.

Contract Awarded for Bridge 23 and Bridge 24 Reconstruction on Mount Vernon Trail

The National Park Service (NPS) and their partner the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) have awarded a contract for replacement of Bridge 23 and 24 along the Mount Vernon Trail and within Dyke Marsh. The park has been providing briefings on the project to the Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail and the Friends of Dyke Marsh during the past several months. The replacement bridges will be widened to 14 feet wide with railing that complies with current design standards. Bridge 23 is the long bridge that goes through Dyke Marsh. Bridge 24 is the very short and very narrow bridge between Bridge 23 and Belle Haven Park.

Picture of Bridge 23 in Dyke Marsh facing south.

You may see increased activity in the area. Several trees have been marked with plastic ribbon. Please don’t remove the ribbon as it is there to identify trees that need to be protected. The contractor and NPS are currently finalizing details on staging areas for equipment as well as the trail detour. The trail will remain open during construction. We anticipate an announcement for the project by the NPS this spring and will share additional details on construction sequencing and detours as soon as we know.

Photo of Bridge 24 facing north.

The Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail needs your help to continue improving the trail. Sign up for a volunteer trail improvement event or Donate to Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail to help us purchase tools and supplies.

Photo of the recently reconstructed Bridge 12. Bridge 23 and Bridge 24 will be built with a similar standard.

Learn About Birds Along the MVT With Friends of Dyke Marsh

Want to learn more about some of the birds that call the Mount Vernon Trail home? The Friends of Dyke Marsh host guided bird walks every Sunday at 8 a.m. starting from the south parking lot at Belle Haven Park. Last weekend’s bird walk included multiple eagle sightings, wood ducks, bluebirds, golden crowned kinglets. and double crested cormorants. Participants also learned how to tell the difference between an American crow and a fish crow by asking one simple question. Binoculars are recommended but the guides have high powered viewing scopes that will get you a close up view. For more information visit the Friends of Dyke Marsh website.

Boundary Channel Trail Connection Construction Begins January 25th

Construction activity related to the Boundary Channel Drive at I-395 Interchange Project will close a portion of the existing unpaved social path near the Pentagon Lagoon beginning on 1/25/2023. The point of closure will be approximately 1000 feet south of where the Mt. Vernon Trail passes underneath the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Signage will be installed to alert path users of the closure. The path will remain closed for up to 6 months as the Project reconstructs the Interchange between BCD and I-395 and constructs a new paved path connecting the existing path to Boundary Channel Drive.

This project will realign the current ramps to I-395 creating two traffic circles with off road paths that connect to the path on Long Bridge, the Mount Vernon Trail and the Pentagon.

A picture of the closures, which includes closing Exit 10A is below. Boundary Channel Drive will remain open during this phase of construction.

The Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail needs your help to continue improving the trail. Sign up for a volunteer trail improvement event or Donate to Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail to help us purchase tools and supplies.

Provide Feedback On Widening the Mount Vernon Trail

The George Washington Memorial Parkway is seeking feedback to establish the scope of an Environmental Assessment needed to allow reconstruction and widening of the Mount Vernon Trail. This is the opportunity to add new amenities to the trail and build a trail that meets modern design standards. This is likely a once in a lifetime opportunity. If you want to see something different on the trail, it’s probably not going to happen unless it makes it into the Environmental Assessment scope. Our suggestions are below and we encourage you to steal what you agree with and submit your feedback by the deadline of January 18th.

Trail Width – The EA Scope should include widening the trail to 14′ feet wide on the north end where practical to account for current use as well as future growth for the next 50 years of existence. The EA should consider widening the portion of the trail from Haul Road to Jones Point Park to 11′-14′ to account for heavy use in this section. The EA Scope should also include establishing unpaved trail on the trail edge with crushed gravel or a similar material which would allow a softer surface for runners and walkers and also protect the trail edge from becoming overgrown. The scope should also in widening of the narrow segment of sidewalk in Lady Bird Johnson Park connecting to the Memorial Bridge.

Trail Realignment – The EA Scope should include straightening of curves on the trail and bridge surfaces. Obscured sightlines at curves is a leading contributor to crashes and injuries on trails. The majority of crashes on bridges have also occurred where bridges curve such as Bridge 1, Bridge 3, Bridge 4, Bridge 27, Bridge 28 and Bridge 31. Further the EA Scope should include realigning the trail at spots that are prone to frequent flooding such as spots north of Memorial Bridge, Daingerfield Island and between Jones Point and Belle Haven Park. The EA Scope should also include realignment or mitigation of areas where water seeps have caused ice conditions on the trail such as between Memorial Bridge and Bridge 30A and in between Bridge 17 and the Old Stone Bridge. The EA Scope should also include building a connecting trail on the current desire path from the north side of Memorial Bridge to the Mount Vernon Trail.

Prioritize Trail Users at Crossings – The EA Scope should include prioritizing trail users at intersections by giving trail users right of way way, installing raised crossings, installing high visibility crosswalks and signage, narrowing crossings, realigning crossings to occur at 90 degree angles and installing paving markings indicating a trail crossing. The trail crossing at the airport exit ramp is particularly dangerous and the crossing at the Daingerfield Island Marina is also a high conflict area.

Crossing the Parkway – The EA Scope include installation of crosswalks at all places on the southern Parkway where there is an intersection with another road. The current scope indicates that some intersections will not have a crosswalk because the connecting street does not have sidewalks, however walkers, runners and cyclists still cross the Parkway at these locations and crosswalks will improve safety and access to the Mount Vernon Trail. The EA Scope should include crosswalks on both sides of the intersection for Parkway crossings to avoid placing people on bikes in a head on conflict with oncoming traffic. The EA Scope should also include construction of connector trails and curb cuts that will connect users to the crosswalks across the Parkway.

Underpass Choke Points – The EA Scope should include widening of the trail beneath Memorial Bridge and on the Crystal City Connector. Both are currently trail chokepoints that only allow traffic one way at a time. The narrow underpass requires trail users to be uncomfortably close to cars while navigating a narrow passage. The EA Scope should include reconfiguring car access from the Parkway at Fort Hunt to utilize only the northern access ramp. This reconfiguration would allow for dedicated and separated space for trail users who are currently routed on to the road through the underpass at Fort Hunt.

Bikeshare Stations – The EA Scope should include siting of future Capital Bikeshare stations colocated with rest areas at Columbia Island Marina, Daingerfield Island, Belle Haven Park, Peter F. Webster Memorial Area, Fort Hunt, Riverside Park and the Mount Vernon Estates. The Bikeshare stations at TR Island and Gravelly Point are among the most used in the system and allowing for future expansion increases access to the trail.

Parkway Barriers – The EA Scope should include addition of barriers at spots where cars have repeatedly left the Parkway and crossed the trail or where risk is high that a car leaving the Parkway would result in fatal injury. The north end of Bridge 30A experiences a car crashing off the Parkway and crossing the trail 1 to 2 times per year. The area north of Humpback bridge has experienced two cars leaving the Parkway, crossing the trail and crashing into the Potomac in the last 3 years. The section of trail from the Smith Boulevard underpass north to the trail access to National Airport has only 10 feet of grass buffer in multiple sections leaving no protection for trail users if a car leaves the Parkway.

Headlight Glare – The EA Scope should include solutions such as barriers, trail realignment and vegetative screens to prevent headlight glare from the Parkway that blinds trail users heading southbound between TR Island and the Merchant Marine Memorial and between Gravelly Point Four Mile Run Trail.

Rest Area Facilities – The EA Scope should include establishment and rebuilding of trailhead facilities at all current rest areas. Restrooms at Columbia Island Marina and Daingerfield Island Marina are in similar condition to the Belle Haven Restroom which is currently included in scope. The EA Scope should include reconstruction of rest areas with durable concrete and include installation of frostless water fountains that can operate year round, new benches, information kiosks, modern bike racks, bike fix it stations and historical and cultural interpretation. The EA should also include installation of additional concrete pads and benches particularly on the southern portion of the trail.

Gravelly Point Bypass – The EA Scope should include construction of a bypass at Gravelly Point to separate the conflict between trail through users and users of the park. This bypass has been included in multiple NPS planning documents. The Scope should include providing a solution for cars that are driving over the trail to park in the grassy area north of the Gravelly Point parking lot on most weekends in the Spring and Summer. The Scope should also include providing accommodations for the food trucks that currently obstruct sightlines where the trail crosses the parking lot access and create generator noise and exhaust. The Scope should also include establishing a paved area for individuals watching plane landings at the Park to safely step off the trail and view from.

Signage, Trail Markings and Counters – The EA Scope should include establishment of signage throughout the trail. Signage should include signs at all entrances to the trail indicating users are entering the Mount Vernon Trail. Signage should also include wayfinding at all intersections. Signage should also include on trail mile markers every tenth of a mile to aid emergency response on the trail. The EA Scope should include installation of reflective trail striping and use of reflective fogline striping at trail curves. The EA Scope should also include installation or repair of trail counters at all entrances and exits to the trail and at Gravelly Point and Belle Haven Park.

Lighting – The EA Scope should include installation of Dark Sky compliant lighting at locations with low levels of ambient light such as south of the 14th St Bridge and north of Old Town. Lack of lighting is frequently cited by female trail users as a barrier to accessing the trail after sunset.

Vegetation Restoration – The EA Scope should include tree planting to replace several mature trees lost along the trail. The EA Scope should also include establishment of native plant meadows that encourage wildlife and pollinators.

The Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail needs your help to continue improving the trail. Sign up for a volunteer trail improvement event or Donate to Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail to help us purchase tools and supplies.

Power Plant Redevelopment Meeting on January 30th

Hilco Redevelopment Partners will hold a public engagement meeting on January 30th. This redevelopment will border the Mount Vernon Trail north of Old Town Alexandria and provide new trail connections and trail side amenities. From the press release:

On Monday, January 30 at 6:30pm, Hilco Redevelopment Partners (HRP) will host the thirteenth in a series of community meetings regarding the transformation of the Potomac River Generating Site (PRGS) in Old Town North. The City of Alexandria and the HRP team are committed to engaging the community and obtaining feedback on this project and are working together to facilitate the best possible process to encourage public participation.

This hybrid meeting will be both in-person and virtual, and provide a preview of the abatement, deconstruction and remediation process, and summary of the open space community engagement process. The community will have an opportunity to provide feedback and ask questions during this meeting as part of live Q&A. Questions and comments may be sent in advance to

Registration information can be found below as well we in the attached flyer. please be sure to note if you plan to attend in person. For more information, please visit the City of Alexandria Website or the HRP Project Website.

If attending in-person, please join us at:

ALX Community- Waterfront
201 N Union St, Suite 110
Alexandria, VA 22314

Attendees should register in advance.

The Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail needs your help to continue improving the trail. Sign up for a volunteer trail improvement event or Donate to Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail to help us purchase tools and supplies.