The Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, connecting the District of Columbia and Maryland with a four-mile trail known as the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens segment, will be advertised by the end of the year with construction to begin next spring.
Washington, DC – Following up on a commitment made last fall to deliver this key trail project, officials from the District of Columbia, Maryland and key US federal agencies, including the Department of the Interior and the Department of Transportation, today gathered at River Terrace Park along the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail to unveil the design of the final trail link, which will connect the District of Columbia and Maryland. This four-mile trail project, known as the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens segment, will be advertised by the end of the year with construction to begin next spring.
Officials at today’s event included: US Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, US Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary John D. Porcari, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, US Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, US Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, US Congresswoman Donna Edwards, District of Columbia Mayor Vincent C. Gray, National Park Service Regional Director Steve Whitesell, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III and Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) Prince George's County Natural and Historical Resources Division Chief Anthony Nolan.
“This latest segment of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail is an important part of the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative’s efforts to create a healthy, green, equitable and prosperous city – goals that go hand-in-hand with my Sustainable DC plan,” said D.C. Mayor Gray. “I’m excited today to unveil the trail’s unique design, which will give the public a window into the host of benefits this new regional trail link will provide to our neighbors in Maryland as well. We look forward to continued collaboration with our regional and federal partners as we move forward with construction and press ahead with our efforts to create a world-class Anacostia Riverfront in our city.”
By connecting Benning Road in the District with Bladensburg Waterfront Park in Bladensburg, Maryland, the four-mile segment creates new connections between communities, the river and its natural resources while enhancing recreational and educational opportunities for trail users. At the same time, the trail increases accessibility to transit stations and makes bicycle commuting more attractive by shortening travel times by as much as 30 minutes.
This $15 million trail project is jointly funded by: a $10 million US Department of Transportation 2012 TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant, $3.5 million from the District of Columbia and $1.5 million from Maryland’s Cycle Maryland Bikeways Program.
“Through this TIGER grant, the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail will be able to act as a key connection between bicycle and pedestrian trails in the District of Columbia and Maryland,” said US Transportation Deputy Secretary Porcari. “The trail improves the safety of the D.C. metro area bicycle and pedestrian system and provides residents and visitors with sustainable transportation options.”
This key link will provide 60 miles of trails in Maryland and in the District Columbia. Within the District, the segment is part of the planned 20-mile Anacostia Riverwalk Trail that will connect 16 waterfront neighborhoods to the Anacostia River, Southwest Waterfront, Nationals Park, Washington Navy Yard, RFK Stadium, National Arboretum, and other popular destinations. To date, more than 12 miles of the District’s trail are open and heavily used. This new portion of the trail will link to more than 40 miles of trails in Maryland that travel throughout the Anacostia River Tributary System and connect to numerous schools, businesses, libraries, museums, shopping centers and Metro and MARC transit stations.
The $1.5 million State grant comes from the Cycle Maryland’s $10 million Bikeways Program that Governor O’Malley announced last fall. Since then, Maryland has awarded 48 Bikeways grants totaling $5.3 million in nine counties and 17 cities. The State will provide another round of grants next spring.
“Today, as partners, we are delivering a top priority missing trail link that pushes us one step closer to delivering an 800-mile cohesive trail network across the State of Maryland,” said Governor O’Malley. “The State’s $1.5 million investment in this trail shows how the Cycle Maryland Initiative helps local jurisdictions build key connections that make biking a true transportation option, that reduce our impact on the land and that improve quality of life for this entire region.”
Home to more than 800,000 residents, 43 species of fish and more than 200 species of birds, the restoration of the Anacostia River Watershed and the development of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail has twice been identified as a priority project for the Obama administration under the President’s America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) initiative and the Urban Waters Federal Partnership (UWFP) . Both initiatives seek to reconnect Americans to the great outdoors and revitalize urban waterways in underserved communities across the country.
“Interior is proud to be a part of this effort to revitalize the Anacostia River watershed,” said Secretary Salazar. “This landmark project not only reconnects urban communities with the great outdoors, but it also reminds us of the power of partnerships when it comes to protecting and investing in our urban parks, waterways and economies.”
“The Anacostia River Trail provides residents along the Anacostia Watershed with access to attractive trails for bikers, hikers and commuters,” said US Senator Cardin. “The Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens segment of the trail is critical to connecting the Maryland and District of Columbia network. As we move forward with this project, it’s clear that this trail will be a model urban park, providing area residents with access to the great outdoors and helping make local communities more livable.”
Elected officials unveiled the design for this four-mile trail that generally parallels the Anacostia River, but also passes through both developed and undeveloped areas. As a result, the trail’s unique and varied design includes both paved 10 to 12-foot-wide asphalt and concrete boardwalk sections that meander around trees and wetlands in the Aquatic Gardens and other National Park Service lands; sidewalks through the Mayfair and Parkside communities; and raised walkways and five bridges over Anacostia River tributaries as it passes between the District and Maryland near US Route 50. The trail will be maintained and operated by the District, National Park Service and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. Other trail partners include the US Department of the Interior, Federal Highway Administration, National Park Service and Prince George’s County (Maryland).
"We are very appreciative of the TIGER grant that will enable the completion of this ‘Pathway to Prince George’s’ for District of Columbia residents and visitors while enabling County residents a new and safe transportation option for both recreation and commuting into the District,” said Prince George’s County Executive Baker. “This planned trail segment will link to a 40-mile network already in place in Prince George’s County. Those trails are located on land owned and maintained by The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and are crown jewels in our County’s nationally recognized, outstanding parks and recreation system.”
“The completion of miles of trails along the Anacostia River is great news for Maryland and the District of Columbia,” said Congresswoman Edwards. “The Anacostia Trail will promote healthy living, integrate local communities, and restore waterways and other natural environments. Residents throughout our region will benefit from these efforts for years to come. The project is a model for communities across our country and I thank all of our partners at the local, state, and federal levels for making it such a tremendous success.”
“I share in the excitement about the design of the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens Segment of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail unveiled today and the project’s continued progress,” said Congresswoman Norton. “I anxiously await the trail’s completion and all of the important benefits it will offer residents of and visitors to our City and the region.”
The Anacostia Riverwalk Trail is one of a series of transportation, environmental, economic, community and recreation projects included in the District of Columbia’s larger Anacostia Waterfront Initiative (AWI). From the Tidal Basin to the city’s northeast border with Maryland, the 30-year, $10 billion AWI is transforming the shores of the Anacostia River into a world-class waterfront. To learn more about the programs discussed at today’s event, please visit the program websites at: www.anacostiawaterfront.org/AnacostiaRiverwalk ; www.cycle.maryland.gov ; and www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/Federal-Agencies-Partner-to-Revitalize-Urban-Waterways-In-Communities-Across-the-US.cfm .