View Full Version : Metropolitian Branch Trail Safety Issues

02-08-2011, 10:19 AM
Has anyone had any trouble with muggers on the Metropolitan Branch Trailer? And is anyone biking/running on the trail at night?

I've never worried about this too much on other trails in the DC area (Capital Crescent, WOD, Mt. Vernon etc) but parts of the Metropolitan Branch feel pretty industrial and now and again you see some rough looking characters. Earlier in the year a group of oncoming teenagers we blocking the trail and refused to to step aside. I sort of pushed through them but it was pretty uncomfortable.

Anyone had an problems?


Old Peugeot
02-08-2011, 11:20 PM
I have been using the trail between Capitol Hill and Brookland since it opened in May, three or four round trips a week, day and night. I did become a bit apprehensive when there were first reports of scary incidents, but only enough to think about strategies (e.g., flee across a field, push my way through as you did, or morph from Nice Old Lady on a Bike into Shreiking Bikesilla), not enough to give up the trail.

The miscreants seem to have been teenagers trying to prove to one another how tough each is, so when it is convenient to do so, I try to avoid the Rhode Island Ave entrance to the trail in the hour after school is out. That is not always possible and I have encountered kids trying to act scary, but I have had no problems. I try to stay alert, but I am no longer apprehensive.

During the day, weather good enough to attract mischief is also good enough to attract a critical mass of bicyclists and pedestrians to deter mischief. It isn't that you are in sight of other people every second, but you could be at any second, and I don't think those odds work for thugs. I feel especially safe at night. The trail is well lit. After rush hour, I see an occasional jogger, but I doubt if the amount of traffic would be worth a mugger's lurking around in the hope of finding a victim. My most alarming encounter has been with a jaywalking possum, and we both survived.

Every option for getting from Point A to Point B and back has its assets and liabilities. For me, the MBT is infinitely more pleasant and safer as well as much faster than any of the alternatives. It is not uniformly picturesque, but it is wonderfully well maintained and landscaping is being added along its length. And people riding bikes or walking dogs or taking their daily constitutional are invariably better behaved than people driving cars.

I think that once you ride the trail a couple more times and become familiar with its other users, you will become comfortable riding it at will. Cheers.