The Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT) 5K Run/Walk is one of our favorite area events, because it brings greater awareness to this fantastic resource. This year the race will be held at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 10, 2014, at the MBT entrance on S Street and 4th Street, NE. Registration is now open for the 2014 race at the low cost of just $25. Click here to Register. This will be the fourth year the race is being held, and organizers are expecting participation to increase again for 2014, as it has with each year. Runners under age 18 can register for free. Cash prizes for top 3 age group winners.
The Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT) 5K Run/Walk is one of our favorite area events, because it brings the community together and raises greater awareness to this fantastic resource. Here is a message from Sherri Morgan, organizer of the MBT5K Run/Walk:
Saturday, May 10, 2014 is the date planned for the Fourth Annual MBT5K, to be held on the paved, off-road portion of the Metropolitan Branch Trail between the NoMa and Brookland Metro stations. The NoMa entrances to this section of the trail are at L St. NE (stairs, just next to train tracks), M St. NE (bike/ped ramp next to train bridge) and the stairs/elevator next to Au Bon Pain. The race has been growing steadily with strong community support, so this year we anticipate 500 – 600 runners. Volunteers are always welcome; runners under 18 are able to register for free. We will be posting announcements on the event website and Facebook page .
After almost two years of delays, a project to build a pedestrian and bike bridge across the train tracks near the Rhode Island Avenue Metro Station appears to be moving forward. We are enthusiastic based on the launch of a DC Department Of Transportation (DDOT) project webpage for the bridge. The purpose of the bridge is to make it easier and safer to cross the railroad tracks near the Rhode Island Avenue Metro Station, and create an easier connection between Rhode Island Avenue and the Metropolitan Branch Trail. According to the project’s website:
The truss bridge is designed in the style of an old railroad bridge. Ramps on both sides will provide wheelchair and bicycle access while a stairway on the west side will provide a more direct route. The open design will allow for visibility as well as beautiful city views and 24-hour lighting will enhance safety.
The project has a long history of delays. In November 2011 DDOT released a Request For Proposals, with the expectation that the bridge would be delivered in 2012. Unfortunately, the contract award process was terminated due to issues with bidders. Then there were delays regarding the construction staging area, that seem to be resolved. Construction is set to begin this week and is expected to last 16 to 18 months. Let’s hope that this time around the project goes ahead without any issues.
Many of us are eager to have the Metropolitan Branch Trail finally completed. If you are one of them, consider signing up for the Big Stinky Hill Climb Challenge. So, what is exactly, is the Big Stinky? It is a hill on the section of the Met Branch Trail at the intersection of John McCormack Road and Bates Drive NE (on the east side of Catholic U). It got the nickname Big Stinky due to the frequent aroma of garbage wafting over from nearby Fort Totten Transfer Station. According to Bicycle SPACE:
The hill is a symbol of the stalled progress in building the Metropolitan Branch Trail which when ultimately completed, will provide a smooth at-grade connection between Silver Spring and the National Mall. With the Trail in place, instead of having to take on Big Stinky, cyclists and other users will be able to pass the transfer station alongside the Metro tracks on a level path. And, the completed Trail will be able to connect with the Capital Crescent Trail to offer a 27 mile “bicycle beltway” encircling a large part of the District, thereby providing a hugely valuable recreational amenity and transportation link.
The hill climb challenge, taking place on Saturday, March 16th at 12 pm is hosted by The Assembly. There will be prizes for winners, riders and fans with the best costumes, not to mention the coveted trophy, the Golden Garbage Pail. They are hoping to draw a large crowd and are encouraging participants to create a party atmosphere complete with costumes, cheering, flag waving, cowbell ringing and the like.
The Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT) 5K Run/Walk is one of our favorite area events, because it brings greater awareness to this fantastic resource. The race will be held at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 11, 2013, at the MBT entrance on S Street and 4th Street, NE. Registration is now open for the 2013 race at the low cost of just $25 and the first 150 runners under age 18 can register for free. Click here to Register. If you don’t want to run, consider volunteering. This will be the third year the race is being held, and organizers are expecting participation to increase again for 2013, as it has with each year. There will be awards for the top male and female overall winners, as well as age group winners, T-shirts, and post-race refreshments.
Last week, the vegetation between the “C” block building of the Monroe Street Market (Catholic U) development and the Metro tracks was cleared. While normally I am not a fan of clear cutting in the name of development, a lot of it was overgrown shrubs and vines, and with the exception of two smaller evergreens, I don’t think there were any true viable trees in the bunch. The good news is that this area will become a stretch of the Met Branch Trail and will connect with a part of the MBT that exists now, which is routed along a sidepath of John McCormack Road on Catholic U’s campus. This will bring the trail one small step closer to being a completely off-road trail. I am hoping/assuming that there will be quite a bit of re-planting once the trail is complete, as the renderings of the development show a line of trees along the border of the property and the Metro tracks. I am not sure when this stretch of the MBT will be complete, but since the C block is slated to be delivered by June/July 2013, I am assuming it will be ready by then or sooner. So, as a reminder, here is how the MBT is supposed to look when complete (lower left of the rendering below).
As a frequent rider on the Met Branch Trail (MBT), I view the abrupt ending of the trail under the Franklin St. bridge with mixed feelings. On one hand, it is a huge mental milestone – I am practically home! On the other hand, I have to get back into “city biking mode” – minding traffic, street conditions, pedestrians and the like. Often, I have wondered when the trail will finally be connected to Silver Spring as originally planned. The frustration with two years of inactivity towards MBT completion was recently explored in this post over at the Washington Area Bicyclist Association’ s blog. The post is a call to action and lays the blame for inactivity squarely at the feet of both the city of DC and Montgomery County.
I found a different blog post on the topic to be of even greater interest. The Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space blog proposes a “bicycle boulevard” in Brookland on 9th Street, between Franklin and Monroe Streets NE. According to Bicyclinginfo.org:
“Bicycle boulevards are low-volume streets that have been optimized for bicycle travel through traffic calming and diversion, signage and pavement markings, and intersection crossing treatments.”
For this solution to be viable, the Franklin Street bridge would have to be expanded to accommodate a bike lane. The writer, Richard Layman, puts forth that this may be the only way to provide a continuously bike-friendly environment when all is said and done. This is needed because Abdo / Catholic University plans have the MBT running between Michigan and Monroe Streets along the new development, but there will still be a gap between the end of the current trail and Monroe Street. Current development plans address this gap by having bikers riding along 8th Street – on the sidewalk.
So what to do? I think the 9th Street “bike boulevard” is an interesting idea. But, while 9th Street is not the busiest street, anyone familiar with that stretch knows that because of this, cars regularly fly down it at very high speeds. So there will be an enforcement element needed. But more that anything, will bikers really cross the Franklin Street bridge, bike 8 blocks, and then cross back over the tracks on the Monroe Street bridge to get back on the trail? Or will the shorter distance between two points be more tempting? I think that the latter is more likely. Thoughts?
(Hat tip: Greater Greater Washington)
The Rails to Trails Conservancy is hosting a Community Tree Care Event this Saturday, August 11, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on the Met Branch Trail (MBT). Last spring Casey Trees and Rails-to-Trails planted several trees along the Trail. They are now asking for volunteers to help weed and water those trees. Meet the group at the S Street Entrance of the MBT. A few things to note:
- Lunch will be provided but they ask that you bring your own water bottle.
- Each volunteer must turn in a signed Volunteer Waiver Form. You can complete one in advance or on-site. Those under 18 years of age must turn in a Volunteer Waiver form signed by their parent or legal guardian, and be supervised at all times.
- Dress comfortably and for the weather. Closed-toe shoes are required. Casey Trees will provide safety gloves and vests.
- They will meet rain or shine!
In addition, attendees will also learn basic tree care information that they can apply to their own backyard. As we all know, this summer has been a scorcher, please help ensure all the trees in the greater Brookland area continue to thrive by watering those thirsty trees!