Our comments on MBT - Takoma D.C. Concept Designs

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Friends of MBT Friends of MBT

Apr 18, 2022, 4:33:28 PMApr 18
to Alvino, Michael (DDOT), Branyan, George (DDOT)

Please find attached, and below in part, our official comments as Friends of the Metropolitan Branch Trail regarding DDOT's concept designs on the Takoma D.C. section. Now that we're organizing, we hope to offer more prompt comments on future phases of the design and above many additional signatures of stakeholder residents.


TO: Michael Alvino, AICP

Trails Program Manager

District Department of Transportation

CC: Metropolitan Branch Trail Project Team

FROM: D.C. residents organizing as “Friends of the MBT”

DATE: Monday, April 18, 2022

SUBJECT: Comments on concept designs for the Metropolitan Branch Trail segment from Blair Rd NW to Piney Branch Rd NW

DDOT Staff:

We are D.C. residents organizing a community group to support the maintenance, inclusiveness, & activation of D.C.'s Metropolitan Branch Trail (the "MBT"). We have just started, but it’s our hope to formalize as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, such as the Friends of the Mt. Vernon Trail. We’re submitting this letter to offer collective comments on the concept designs for the MBT section diverting from Blair Rd NW and traveling through Takoma, D.C., to Piney Branch Rd NW. We ask that you take these comments into consideration as you narrow your focus and work on more detailed plans.

In response to DDOT’s Decemeber 2021 virtual public meeting, December 2021 public survey, and February 2022 in-person walkthrough, we submit the following:

  • General Comments

    • Build it right the first time. Don’t assume any future improvement is guaranteed. The MBT segment on 8th Street NE was a temporary measure that became a permanent condition. Assumptions about off-street trail improvements were proven incorrect over 10+ years. Do not install a temporary measure on this Takoma section which you deem acceptable for now because land use will change. Do not hope future TDM conditions will make parking removal or curbside operations any easier than present day. 

    • Follow through with the Manor Park off-street segment. We are thankful and supportive of Mayor Bowser’s proposed FY23 budget including new money for study, design, and construction of an off-street trail segment in Manor Park. We ask that the new environmental assessment for this section include a new ped/bike bridge crossing Riggs Road NE + New Hampshire Avenue NE and/or road diets on those two arterial roads with reduced crossing distance and protected bike lanes. Those roads are trail connections and crossings. They present major safety challenges and discomfort to MBT users; the currently planned intersection improvements do not allay our safety concerns.

    • K-71s and concrete curb stops. At all points where the trail goes on-street or otherwise shares grade with vehicles, we urge you to use K-71 bollards and concrete, precast curb stops for bike lane protection.

    • Increase the size and number of trail wayfinding signage during transitions on- and off-street segments. The current MBT design confuses trail users at Dew Drop Inn, where a large percentage don’t know the trail continues up 8th, and most don’t know it follows the Brookland Arts Walk and picks up John McCormack Rd. Please do not repeat that user experience deficit when users leave the Blair Rd MBT sidepath, make the turn ont0 4th, continue behind 343 Cedar.

Friends of the Metropolitan Branch Trail
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Comments on Concept Designs - Blair to Piney Branch NW MBT Section - Friends of MBT.pdf
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