MLK Day of Service By the Numbers

  • 18 — degrees Fahrenheit at the event’s start.
  • 22-25 — wind speed, in miles per hour, throughout the event.
  • Over 30 — number of people who gave up a holiday morning and volunteered despite the weather
  • 34 — number of trash grabbers provided or brought by friends of the Mount Vernon Trail. 
  • 2 — number of bald eagles who came by to supervise the proceedings.
  • 59 — bags of trash removed from Belle Haven Park.
  • 30-40 — estimated weight, in pounds, of the most interesting trash find: a couch cushion that had frozen into a solid block of ice.
  • 2 — number of pickup trucks required to haul all of the trash out of the park.
  • Lots and lots — number of tacos eaten by the invigorated and hungry volunteers at our post-event taco gathering. 

Thank you to everyone who came out to make the Mount Vernon Trail a little bit better. You can tell a trail is loved when folks are willing to come out in freezing weather.

Check out the Mount Vernon Gazette’s article on our event:

Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail Snow Patrol Takes Action

The Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail Snow Patrol was activated for the first time on Monday, January 14. The team cleared snow from LBJ Memorial Grove to the 14th Street Bridge opening a key connection between DC and northern Virginia for commuters.  A summary in numbers: 

  • 10.3 — inches of snow that fell at DCA on January 12-13.
  • 7 — number of snow shovels or other snow tools provided, brought, or borrowed by friends of the Mount Vernon Trail. 
  • 11 — number of people who volunteered part of their afternoon to shovel the trail.
  • 0.4 — miles of trail hand-shoveled by the volunteers.
  • 1 — key trail connection reopened between Arlington and DC.
  • Many — number of “thank you”s and “thumbs up”s received from walkers, runners, and cyclists passing by. 

MLK Day of Service – Mount Vernon Trail Clean Up

The Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail will be holding a trail cleanup from Belle Haven Park towards Alexandria as part of the Martin Luther King Day of Service. We need your help! Multiple floods this year mean that a large amount of garbage has washed up next to the trail, marring our beautiful view of the Potomac.

We’ll provide trash grabbers, trash bags and gloves. If you’re biking there make sure you have shoes that are comfortable to walk in and an extra layer to keep warm. Note that if the government is still shut down, the bathroom at Belle Haven Park and Jones Point will be closed.

When: Monday, January 21st from 10 to Noon
Where: Belle Haven Park (meet near the bathroom)
Why: Because you love the Mount Vernon Trail

Please RSVP at the following link so that we know that you’re coming and also notify you if the event plan changes for any reason.

Making the Memorial Bridge Detour Safer

The Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail recently went on a bike ride with Katie Harris from WABA’s Capital Trails Coalition and Josh Nadas from the George Washington Memorial Parkway to discuss safety improvements to the Memorial Bridge detour.  Below are the recommendations the FOMVT provided to NPS. Thank you to everyone who provided feedback ahead of the ride and to Josh for being open to suggestions.

Crossing 1 is the crosswalk crossing across Arlington Boulevard north of Memorial Circle: 

Safety issues for people on foot or bicycle include:

  1. High speeds of cars attempting to reach highway speeds for Arlington Blvd and 395.
  2. Poor sight lines of the crosswalk for car drivers moving around the bend off Memorial Bridge.
  3. Sight lines of the crosswalk are obstructed by other vehicles.
  4. Long crossing distances (3 lanes) for people on foot or bike.5. Drivers distracted from seeing pedestrians by attempting to merge from Memorial Circle or on to 395 in heavy traffic.
  5. Faded crosswalk and lane markings.

Proposed Solutions for Crossing 1

  1. Removal of one travel lane of northbound traffic to lower speeds.
  2. Pavement treatments to slow northbound traffic coming off of the circle and accelerating onto South Arlington Blvd. Treatments could be thermoplastic pavement markings, speed humps, or other treatments.
  3. Stand up “Yield to Pedestrians” signage on the lane markings in front of the crosswalk to promote traffic calming and indicate a pedestrian crossing. These are MUTCD R1-6 signs.
  4. Install a temporary Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) to alert car drivers that a pedestrian is present at the crossing. The current RRFB across the GWMP has been effective in allowing safe crossings. RRFBs are IA-21 in the MUTCD.
  5. Restripe current crosswalk and lane markings which are badly faded. 6. Pilot NPS proposed changes to Memorial Circle through use of temporary devices such as jersey barriers

Crossing 2 is the crossing across Memorial Ave west of Memorial Circle:

Safety issues for people on foot or bike are:

  1. Westbound drivers traveling at high speeds around the traffic circle.
  2. Eastbound drivers diverting attention from pedestrians crossing to begin navigating entrance to the traffic circle.

Proposed solutions for Crossing 2:

  1. Narrow the westbound lane exiting the circle to a 10 or 11 foot traffic lane utilizing temporary physical barriers. This will provide traffic calming and lower speeds exiting the circle.
  2. Install a temporary pavement treatment such as thermoplastic bumps on the westbound lane to provide speed calming.
  3. Install a stand up “Yield to Pedestrians” sign in between opposing lanes on Memorial Avenue. These are MUTCD R1-6 signs.
  4. Continue to maintain the current reduction of Memorial Avenue to one lane each way.

Crossing 3 is the crossing of Washington Boulevard south of Memorial Circle:

Safety issues for people on foot or bike are:

  1. High speed traffic on Washington Boulevard
  2. Lack of signage directing users towards the Memorial Bridge detour (we’ve observed cyclists taking a lane across the bridge)

Proposed solutions for Crossing 3:

  1. Restripe the crosswalk
  2. Install thermoplastic bumps to warn of an impending crosswalk
  3. Install a stand up “Yield to Pedestrians” sign in between opposing lanes on Memorial Avenue. These are MUTCD R1-6 signs.
  4. Provide detour signage in large lettering indicating Memorial Bridge Detour and providing a large map of the detour route.

Recommendations for entire Memorial Bridge Detour:

  1. Provide additional detour signage in large lettering at each road crossing of the detour. Include full detour map.
  2. Provide encouragements signage through the detour to assure Park users they are still on the detour and encourage use of a safe route.

Changes Proposed to Trollheim Bridge

The National Park Service has released a Cultural Landscape Report and Environmental Assessment for improvements to Theodore Roosevelt Island.  The scope of the project includes changes to Bridge 31, which trail users commonly refer to as Trollheim Bridge due to the number of crashes and injuries that have occurred on its slippery surface.

NPS has proposed four alternatives.  All four alternatives include widening the bridge to 12 or 14 feet and replacing the bridge decking to provide a more even surface with.

More information on the project can be found here. The four proposed alternatives can viewed starting on page 268 of the Environmental Assessment.  Stay tuned for additional opportunities to provide public comment on which of the four alternatives you prefer.

Volunteer Opportunities in November

Light Giveaway – The Friends of the Mt. Vernon Trail will help our friends at Bike Arlington hand out blinkies, reflective bands and information to trail users on Monday, November 5th from 4:30 to 7:00 PM at the Rosslyn Bikeometer.  You don’t have to be there the whole time.  Even half an hour handing out goodies and cheering on trail users will be helpful. Let us know you’re coming by signing up here:
Tour de Mt. Vernon Support – We’ll be helping our friends at the Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling (FABB) by providing volunteer support for the 3rd Annual Tour de Mount Vernon on Saturday, November 17th.  Multiple opportunities are available including course marshaling if you don’t want to miss the ride. Sign up to volunteer here. You’ll have to take a few minutes to create an account before signing up. Once you’ve signed up send an e-mail to so we know you’re coming.

Capital Bikeshare Coming to Gravelly Point

You may have noticed some construction work happening at Gravelly Point this week next to the portapotties.  Arlington County is constructing a concrete pad for a Capital Bikeshare station to be installed.  This is the second CaBi station installed on the Mt. Vernon Trail this year. Please show some additional caution on the trail during construction and installation activities.

MVT Cabi

MVT Cabi 2

Memorial Bridge Detours

The National Park Service is currently rehabilitating the Memorial Bridge which will last until 2021. The south sidewalk is currently closed to pedestrians and cyclists. There is a detour that requires crossing busy roadways multiple times.

A video demonstrating the detour and additional information is available from the National Park Service at

Here’s the video outlining the detours: