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 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.
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
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.
Secretary Pete Buttgieg visited Alexandria’s Union Station on March 30th along with Congressman Don Beyer and Governor Ralph Northam to announce the Transforming Rail in Virginia agreement that will invest $3.7 billion in expanding rail service in Virginia that will increase capacity for CSX freight, Amtrak and VRE.
Included in this investment is construction of a New Long Bridge which will create two additional tracks across the Potomac and also include a separate bike and pedestrian bridge with a connection to the Mount Vernon Trail. Full information on the Long Bridge project is available at https://longbridgeproject.com
The plan to build a new Long Bridge that will add two additional rails along with a separate pedestrian and bike bridge achieved an important milestone with the approval of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. The Omnibus legislation grants the National Park Service authority to convey ownership of 4.4 acres of land that the bridge structures will occupy in the George Washington Memorial Parkway and East Potomac Park. The bike and pedestrian bridge will be accessible from the Mount Vernon Trail and also allow trail users access to Long Bridge Park and Crystal City.