DDOT Recommends Construction of New Pedestrian/Bike Path Between Georgetown and Palisades

Photo by Brett Young.

The DC Department of Transportation released the results of its feasibility study into the construction of a pedestrian/bike trail between Georgetown and the Palisades. It ultimately recommends the construction of the trail and also recommends repurposing the Foundry Branch Trestle Bridge for the eastern end of the trail.

Here’s the report (just read the Executive Summary if you want the highlights):

The study came from an effort to take the existing right-of-way that the city has through the Palisades (which once was where the Glen Echo Trolley went) and rehab it to be better suited for pedestrian and bike use. By bringing the trail all the way to Georgetown, it would provide a much needed non-auto connection between the neighborhoods.

There is an urgency in the study since the Foundry Branch Trestle Bridge (that bridge in the woods just west of Georgetown University) is falling apart. It’s currently owned by WMATA, who wants to tear it down unless the city takes it off their hands. The study was done so that the city could be confident that they could actually use it after receiving it from WMATA.

Some of the highlights of the study are that, as mentioned above, DDOT recommends bringing the trail into Georgetown via the bridge. The other option was sending trail users down to Canal Rd.:

At the east end of the bridge it would then have to travel over the southern entrance of Georgetown University on the new bridge and then end at Prospect St. This is how it could look:

This would recreate a bridge that once stood here to carry streetcars from Georgetown out to the Palisades. The Hoya Saxa mural is painted on what was the western abutment of that bridge.

While the transportation department recommended this alignment, it acknowledged that some have expressed opposition to it. None more than Georgetown University, which apparently is against the bridge and doesn’t want people crossing a small corner of their campus as they leave the trail and continue on to Prospect St. (Keep in mind this is a university that is quick to tout that they certified a “bike friendly university” and also their existing campus plan requires them to work with the city to have this trail built.)

DDOT estimates that the trail that it recommends would cost about $8.5 million for the section west of Foxhall Rd. and anywhere from $2.1 million to $8.75 for the section east of Foxhall Rd. (For comparison, the rehabilitation of the streetcar tracks through Georgetown cost $12 million).



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8 responses to “DDOT Recommends Construction of New Pedestrian/Bike Path Between Georgetown and Palisades

  1. Thanks for posting this. Any bets on: 1) if this actually gets implemented; 2) they get the rights of way from Georgetown for either the bridge options or at least to connect to Prospect (M. St is terrible).

  2. Brett Young

    To answer William’s question, I’ve been told by DDOT that they decided not to acquire the Foundry Branch Bridge and rehab it.
    So at this point, WMATA will move to demolish the bridge.

    So to answer William’s questions
    1) It wont get implemented
    2) DDOT could have used eminent domain and taken the land back from GU that they gave to them (stupidly) 10+ years ago ….I.e. Prospect ST.
    They chose not to do that.
    3) Plan B could be removing all street parking on Macarthur Blvd, Reservoir, Q st all the way to Dupont……but just to let everyone know, I wont be part of that fight. I’m finished fighting the good fight…..unless you know someone with deep pockets who can stabilize the bridge.

  3. I’m very on board with a MacArthur/Reservoir/Q bike lane.

  4. Brett – can you help me understand how DOT can release a feasibility study showing options that are not feasible? Seems like those facts should have been considered or identified in the report, no?

  5. Hakan Lonaeus

    Praeterea censeo, the trolley trail should be used for a refurbished trolley train. It would serve us all better.

  6. Brett Young

    DDOT project is feasible. Will to do project all at once isn’t there at this time.
    In the report it says somewhere that it can be done in parts.

    @Hakan You again? The only person pushing a billion dollar trolley that goes 25mph from the Palisades to Wisconsin Ave.

  7. Thanks @Brett. That’s quite unfortunate. Perhaps community could get Palisades section built and then work on the section East of Foxhall. Where do things go from here. Literally crickets on the Palisades list serv.

  8. Brett Young

    Here is a link to DDOT’s official statement:

    Click to access PalisadesTrail_DecisionLetter_01062020.pdf

    So I think , yes, they did the study as a way to gradually/potential do the trail in pieces (Or Stages)

    Because the Foundry Branch Bridge will be demolished, its going to be much tougher to build a bridge there.
    And DDOT will really need to use Emiment Domain on Prospect ST and that patch of land to connect it to Prospect….cause otherwise IMO, bulding a bridge from Foxhall to that GU driveway will be a waste of money.

    The worst part is driving on Reservoir RD yesterday knowing how right and justified I was for working on this.
    The same traffic problems today will be the same traffic problems tomorrow.

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