You might have already seen the celebratory posts on twitter last week indicating that the Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT) extension from Brookland to Fort Totten is open. It is indeed something to celebrate. It is a short but very well done piece connecting those of us on the northern end of the trail near Fort Totten Metro station to points further south. It really does make the trip from Fort Totten to Catholic University, Brookland, & Edgewood feel a lot shorter. It is certainly more pleasant than some of the other routes I’ve cooked up over the years to get to the MBT further south.
I walked the trail earlier this week after work one evening. There are a few police cameras at regular intervals along this short extension, including one near the pedestrian staircase by Fort Totten Metro station. It seems like if there is an emergency on this portion of the trail, emergency vehicles should be able to easily pinpoint where the emergency is. I like the gooseneck lights and the treatment of the retaining wall near the northern part of the extension. I also like the fence treatment by the concrete plant which serves a dual purpose in screening the plant from the trail but also reducing the glare from the sun. Also, once the native plants get established, it should all be quite lovely.
Here are a few photos
Those of us approaching the trail from east of Fort Totten Metro station, south of Riggs Road NE have a few options to get to the trail. Galloway Street NE, Ingraham Street NE, and Kennedy Street NE all have pretty steep inclines, so you can just pick whichever hill you like best to get a little workout in and roll with it. Work is being done on the 3rd Street NE extension. That will be open in a couple months off Kennedy Street. From either one of those streets, one can get to the south side of Galloway, take the sidewalk around to 1st Place NE, and make a U-turn onto the trail. Alternatively, one can take the street on Galloway, follow the curve around to 1st Place, dismount to lift the bike over the curb, and then continue onto the trail.
Also worth noting that the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) continues to work on other parts of the trail. The agency presented some initial ideas for the 8th Street NE connector from Monroe Street NE to the southern off-street portion of the trail. The initial thought is to have a two-way protected bike lane on the west side of 8th Street, a one-way northbound travel lane on 8th Street from Edgewood to Monroe, and parking that would switch sides along different portions of 8th Street. This is just an initial concept plan taking into consideration a bunch of factors, like all of the charter schools in that area, loading for the businesses along 8th Street, and impacts to parking for residents in the area. DDOT hopes to have the gap filled in time for the start of the 2022-2023 school year. Below are screenshots of just a few slides from the presentation. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Work also continues on the Fort Totten to Takoma extension and the Blair Road to Piney Branch Road portion of the trail. Good news is that it looks like there is federal funding available to have part of the Fort Totten to Takoma extension that is currently planned to be on street moved off street to align more closely to the red line tracks.
I know the MBT was conceived long before I moved to Riggs Park, and the southern part of the trail has been open for a while. It is nice to now have the trail connected to this neighborhood and I am very grateful for the work of everyone getting this done, during a multi-year pandemic no less. Kudos to DDOT.