National Park Service seeks public input on proposed plan to improve south section of George Washington Memorial Parkway and Mount Vernon Trail 

The National Park Service (NPS) is seeking public comment on a proposed plan and environmental assessment to improve the southern portion of the George Washington Memorial Parkway and the Mount Vernon Trail. The project would improve safety and address maintenance needs along the parkway and the trail. Comments will be accepted through Jan. 4.  

The road and trail improvements being considered would enhance the visitor experience for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. Potential improvements to the road include the implementation of a new road diet (reducing lanes through pavement striping to improve safety) in some areas, new crosswalks and intersection changes. Potential safety enhancements for the trail could include trail widening and intersection improvements. 

The project area includes the southern portion of the 15.2-mile parkway from Arlington Memorial Bridge to Mount Vernon. The project area also includes the majority of the 18-mile Mount Vernon Trail, which extends from Theodore Roosevelt Island and the intersection with the Custis Trail in Arlington to Mount Vernon. The portion of the parkway and trail within the City of Alexandria would not be part of this project.  See letter from Superintendent

How to get involved

Engaging with you is a critical part of our preliminary engineering and planning process. Your feedback will be used to refine project designs and to support the analysis of any environmental impacts. Anyone interested in learning more about the project and providing input can participate in the following ways:

  • Virtual public meeting: The NPS will host a virtual public meeting on Tuesday, December 6, at 7 p.m., EST using GoTo Webinar. The meeting will last approximately 1.5-hours and there will be an opportunity to submit questions. You do not need to pre-register for the meeting.
  • At the time of the meeting, click here to join on your computer or mobile device and enter the Webinar ID (Webinar ID: 314-024-315) and your email. If you do not have GoTo Webinar you will be prompted to install a small file to your computer or download the app on your mobile device. 
  • You can call into the meeting (no video) using the toll-free phone number and conference ID:

Call in number: (877) 309-2074

Phone Conference ID: 278-447-448  

  • Online: You can submit comments online or view additional information at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/GWMP_SouthComments are requested by January 4, 2023. The public meeting recording will be posted at this site for you to review if you are not able to attend the live session.
  • Mail: Mail your written comments postmarked by January 4, 2023, to:

Superintendent  

Attn: GWMP South and MVT Plan/EA  

700 George Washington Mem Parkway

McLean, VA 22101

Future Long Bridge Width Increased From 14 to 16 Feet

The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority sent a notification on November 1st that the planned Long Bridge Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge would be widened from 14 to 16 feet. Multiple advocacy organizations had requested that the bridge be widened to 20 feet to allow for growth of walking and biking over the expected 50-100 year lifetime of the bridge. The bridge will provide a new direct connection to the Mount Vernon Trail as well as Long Bridge Park in Arlington.

VRPA provided the following information as the basis for the decision to widen to 16 feet instead of 20 feet:

Widening beyond 16-feet is problematic for the following reasons. The tightest horizontal clearance constraints occur adjacent to the Mount Vernon Trail ramp near the Virginia shoreline and at the Ohio Drive SW landing in East Potomac Park, as these ramps down take up essentially as much space as the bike-ped bridge itself. See the diagram above.

Widening to 16-feet brings the bike-ped bridge ramps on either side of the bridge within 6-feet of the WMATA Yellow Line Bridge Air Rights.  We are not allowed to work within this Air Rights space without special accommodations, and the future contractor will need that 6-feet between the Air Rights space and the bike-ped bridge ramps to build the Long Bridge Project.

A few of the impacts if the bridge is widened more than to 16’:

  • Significant increase in pier and truss member sizes to accommodate much greater loads, increase impacts to Potomac River bottom and Submerged Aquatic Vegetation areas, affecting permitting and the size of any mitigation projects required to offset this impact;
  • Increase in construction cost of up to $20M-$25M, on top of the $5M to widen from 14’ to 16’;
  • Major re-work and delay to the engineering schedule;
  • Increase in construction schedule of the bridge as substructures and truss members require increased equipment sizes, materials, and durations while reducing workspace to access and construct the bridges between the WMATA Yellow Line Bridge and the bike-ped bridge;
  • The need for larger piers and ramps will result in a bulkier superstructure—the opposite effect from what aesthetic design review agencies have requested.

The public has shown great interest in this component of the Long Bridge Project and we greatly appreciate the continued engagement. We look forward to working with all stakeholders as the Long Bridge Project enters its next phase. We will be hosting public meeting in Spring 2023 and as always, members of the public are encouaged to contact us to share their input and ask questions.

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 help us purchase tools and supplies.

CC2DCA Bridge Offers Two Alternatives For Mount Vernon Trail Connection

Arlington County and VDOT’s CC2DCA Study to build a new bike and pedestrian bridge between Crystal City and National Airport has released two alternatives to advance to a National Environmental Policy Act study. Public comment is open until November 6 and can be provided at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CC2DCA_Feedback3_English

Arlington and VDOT’s preferred alternative is 7D. This alternative would provide a direct connection between a future southern VRE platform entrance and the 2nd Floor of DCA. It also features an arched bridge over the George Washington Memorial Parkway with a ramp connecting to the Mount Vernon Trail.

Alternative 7D contains two options for the trail connection. The difference between the options is whether the connection is entirely on GWMP land or is partially on land owned by DCA. The concepts above are not final designs. Although a roundabout is depicted, the design is yet to be determined. This concept shows a realignment of the trail around the foundation of the arched bridge. The arched bridge is not required and could be a girder bridge which would allow the trail to remain straight underneath the bridge.

Feedback is open until November 6th. The Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail are supporting Alternative 7D. We area also requesting that a girder bridge be used to prevent a blind curve from being created and maintaining a wider buffer between the trail and the Parkway. You can provide your comment at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CC2DCA_Feedback3_English

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 help us purchase tools and supplies.

Work Starting on New Trail Connection at Boundary Channel Drive

The Virginia Department of Transportation held a groundbreaking for construction work on the Boundary Channel Drive Interchange Improvements project on September 28th, 2022. The project will deliver safety and mobility improvements for people walking, biking and driving, along with expanded access to recreational activities.

Representatives from Arlington County, VDOT and the Pentagon breaking ground for the project.

When complete, the project will:

  • Reallocate underutilized roadway space on Boundary Channel Drive to expand sidewalks and add a multi-use trail
  • Convert ramp terminals along Boundary Channel Drive into roundabouts
  • Add a multi-use trail connection to an existing terminus of the Mount Vernon Trail along the Pentagon Lagoon Yacht Basin, on National Park Service Property. This will add a new trail connection between Crystal City-Pentagon City and the regional trail network
  • Implement operational and safety improvements for people driving on I-395, Boundary Channel Drive and Long Bridge Drive.

Construction is anticipated to last approximately 15 months, and will conclude in late 2023. Access to the Long Bridge Aquatic Center will be maintained at all times.

Information on the construction process and phasing for the project can be found on VDOT’s pre-construction update.

New Bridge 12 Opens Near Fort Hunt

The Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail will host a ribbon cutting with representatives from the National Park Service on Saturday, September 24th at 10 a.m. celebrating the completion of a reconstructed Bridge 12 near Fort Hunt.

View from the south end of the new Bridge 12 north of Fort Hunt Park.

The recently completed bridge is a significant upgrade from the old bridge. The new bridge features a 14 foot width with railings that comply with current bridge standards. The bridge is also has straightened approaches which also have a reduced grade compared to the previous bridge. In addition to the new bridge, the trail surface was replaced from Waynewood Boulevard to Fort Hunt Road. A trail counter is also being installed near the Waynewood Boulevard crossing.

View of the new Bridge 12 with the former bridge in process of being demolished in the foreground.

Construction on the bridge kicked off in February 2022, with trail users detoured on to a separated lane on the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The project was made possible through funding from the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Six Year Improvement Plan.

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 help us purchase tools and supplies.

What’s that thing near Memorial Circle?

You might have noticed a little box attached to the signs for the Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFB) at the crosswalks between the Mount Vernon Trail and Memorial Bridge. What is it? Are you on Mount Vernon Trail Candid Camera?

Picture of a RRFB at a crosswalk near Memorial Circle.

The box is there to automatically detects people approaching the crosswalk and activates the RRFB to improve safety at the trail crossing. The RRFBs were installed as part of the Memorial Circle Safety Improvements which also included lane reductions at multiple crossings. The automatic detection was installed after post evaluation of the project determined that a low percentage of trail users were using the button to activate the RRFBs.

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 help us purchase tools and supplies.

Long Bridge Pedestrian and Bike Bridge Receives $20 Million Grant

On August 9th, 2022, the Department of Transportation announced award of $20 million grant to fund the Long Bridge Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge across the Potomac River. The bridge will connect East Potomac Park, Long Bridge Park in Arlington and the Mount Vernon Trail.

Concept design of Long Bridge bike/ped bridge connection to the Mount Vernon Trail.

The funding was awarded through the Department of Transportation’s Rebuilding American Infrastructure Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grant program that helps communities plan and carry out projects with local or regional impact.

The new bridge is part of a larger project that will also build an additional rail bridge across the Potomac River. Check out the the project site for additional details.

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 help us purchase tools and supplies.

Shan Riggs Completes 3,000 Mile East Coast Greenway Run

If you saw someone on the trail in June who looked like he was in the middle of a 3,000 mile run, it was probably Shan Riggs. On July 2nd, Shan became the first person to run the entire length of the East Coast Greenway, running 40 miles a day for 78 days. The Mount Vernon Trail is part of the East Coast Greenway and is roughly the halfway point. Shan’s run was part of a fundraising effort to support the East Coast Greenway Alliance which works towards the mission of making the ECG 100% off-road.

See more about Shan’s journey and consider supporting the East Coast Greenway at https://www.greenway.org/shan

Photo from East Coast Greenway Alliance

Four Mile Run Trail Detour Near MVT Connection

Those accessing the Mount Vernon Trail via Four Mile Run Trail will see a detour beginning on July 25th as Dominion Energy begins work to replace the substation at the corner of Eads St and the Four Mile Run Trail. Dominion will also be undergrounding some of the overhead high voltage transmission lines that cross Four Mile Run towards Alexandria.

Crews have set up detours along Route 1/Richmond Highway and South Glebe Road in anticipation of the closure.

Be aware of any changes when using the trail. For more information, visit Dominion Energy’s project page.

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 help us purchase tools and supplies.

Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail Seeking Treasurer

The Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail (FoMVT) is seeking candidates to join our Board of Directors and serve in the role of Treasurer. FoMVT is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that partners with the National Park Service to improve the Mount Vernon Trail through volunteer stewardship.

The ideal candidate will have some experience with book keeping or accounting. The primary duties of the Treasurer include:

  • Monthly tracking and reconciliation of income and expenses
  • Producing monthly and annual financial statements
  • Completing annual federal and state financial documents

As a member of the Board of Directors, responsibilities include:

  • Service on at least one committee to provide recommendations to full board
  • Reviewing and adopting organizational plans and policies
  • Supporting the organization through giving or getting resources
  • Serving as an ambassador for the organization

The anticipated time commitment is 4 hours per month. If you are interested please send an introductory e-mail to Board Chair Judd Isbell at judd.isbell@gmail.com telling us about yourself and what interests you in serving on the Board and as our Treasurer by July 30th. Candidates will be reviewed and interviewed by a committee of current Board members.

FoMVT strives to build a Board that reflects the diversity of the people that use the trail.