4MR trail access to Potomac Ave and such - plans in the works?
Are there any plans that anyone is aware of to improve access to Potomac Ave. from the Four Mile Run Trail (and vice versa)? See the section shown in the map at http://g.co/maps/v84gz -- the map even accentuates some sort of path that currently is all dirt and rocks. Getting up and down that incline with your bike is no simple feat. Any fixes in the works?
I can dig you up more detail when I get a few more minutes, but the short answer is "yes, but it'll be a while"
One of the bridges is bring torn down soon to make space for a connection and Arlington has devoted some State Grant money for preliminary engineering. It won't be cheap thanks to the large elevation change.
Yeah, that area is supposed to be converted into a landscaped park. The proposed designs show what appear to be paved paths leading from the upper area down to the FMR Trail, running diagonally from top to bottom.
According to this document (large PDF file, Page 3), that area is actually part of Alexandria. The border loops up onto the north bank of Four Mile Run as you go west of the train tracks. Everything up to the driveway for the Eclipse condominium development is in Alexandria, until you go west of the old bridge. Then the border loops down to the south bank of FMR.
So the Potomac Yard redevelopment plans include the old train bridges as part of Alexandria. About half of the landscaped park on the north bank would be in Alexandria, and about half would be in Arlington, even though the entire park is on the north side of FMR.
I saw a map somewhere showing what the park is supposed to look like, but I can't find it right now. As of Feb. 1, 2012, demolition plans for one of the old bridges have been submitted and reviewed. This is part of Landbay E in the Potomac Yard development plan. I don't know what else is going on in terms of funding and planning. Construction is proceeding for other areas of Potomac Yard, including the new park on the east side of Potomac Ave. But I don't know what's going on with the Arlington section of Potomac Yard. The owner of the retail area in the Eclipse development has been trying to sell it, or did sell it last year. The National Gateway office development one block to the north of FMR is still empty (except for the LA Fitness gym) more than a year after the building was complete. (I think it's complete. I read that it was finished in fall 2010 and the building appears to be ready for other tenants.) I would guess that soft demand for office and retail in the Arlington section of Potomac Yard might mean a slower development schedule for the park on the north bank of FMR.
Last edited by PotomacCyclist; 04-05-2012 at 08:50 PM.
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There was a conversation about this on the Alexandria BPAC list today as well and Carrie Sanders from the city government staff posted this:
To clarify, the area where the informal trail is located is owned by Potomac Yard Development LLC. As the trail reaches the top of the bank, the property is within Arlington County. The most recent plan submittal this month from Potomac Yard LLC shows a new asphalt trail that addresses the current safety issues of the informal trail there now. This trail plan is in response to requirements from Alexandria and Arlington when we met with Potomac Yard LLC last fall to ensure that a future formal connection is created there.
The Eclipse condos are planning to Fence off the the temporary dirt trail from 4-Mile Run to Potomac Ave.
FROM: jfox DateTime: Apr 6, 9:28 am
At the Eclipse board meeting on April 4th it was said that Pulte
(builder of the condos just south of 4-mile Run) plans to fence off
access from the bridge/road level to the 4-Mile Run bike trail
The area is to the immediate west and north of Potomac Ave bridge,
between the Eclipse condos and $-Mile Run.
This undeveloped access is used by many walkers and bikers from the
adjacent buildings (the Eclipse and the Camden), Crystal City, and by
That small patch of land (1.2 acres) is actually in Alexandria, not
(see http://gis.alexandriava.gov/parcelviewernet/viewer.htm )
CDD # 10, Parcel 008.03-02-01, Address 1317, Parcel Area 1.2 A,
Parcel No. 7, Block No. 4, Legal Lot No. (510)
Potomac Avenue bridge over 4-Mile Run is an ideal point of access to
the 4-Mile Run Trail for pedestrians and bicyclists,
as current use demonstrates. But there is no definite plan to build
bike access there. The master plans are ambiguous on that point.
There is no developed access from Four Mile Run Trail to Potomac
Avenue (which connects to Crystal Drive going north and to Potomac
Yards going south).
The only current 'developed' access between 4-Mile Run bike trail and
Crystal City or Potomac Yards in this area is
1) exit 4-MileRun bike trail at US-1 (at BMW/Porsche of Arlington)
- go north one block, cross at S. Glebe
- go south 1/2 block and cross at light at Alexandria Toyota &
Potomac yards Mall
these intersections are dangerous for bicyclists and
pedestrians because vehicles making turns
are not regulated by a light, US-1 is six lanes wide at
these points, and there is heavy traffic.
2) bike north on GW/Mt Vernon bike trail, enter Crystal City about
1 mile north near 18th St.
The 4-Mile Run master plan 'envisions' pedestrian access to the Run,
but does not describe bicycle access between the Run and any point
east of US-1 (meaning that access to Crystal City or Potomac Yards
would mean crossing US-1)
And who knows how many years it will be before any access improvements
As promised, a tiny bit of additional information. Arlington County applied for a grant for "preliminary engineering and right of way" for a Four Mile Run Trail to Potomac Avenue Connector as part of the FY2013 Transporation Enhancements program of VDOT.
From what I can see on VDOT's website, FY2013 awards haven't been decided yet. Last year's awards are dated June 15, 2011 so I guess June of this year is when we might expect to see them awarded this year.
Here's the pull quote from the grant application:
I'm not sure how this squares with the information I pasted above from Carrie in Alexandria.
Four Mile Run Trail Connection: The bicycle element of Arlington County’s Master
Transportation Plan calls for creating a link between street level in Potomac Yard and the
Four Mile Run Trail at the stream level. There is currently only a rough unpaved path that is
completely inadequate, but that indicates a public desire for the connection. The County has
received developer funds to help implement a trail connection, and as the final parcels are
built out, the increasing residential and commercial activity is increasing pressure to decide
on a solution. The request envisioned in this application is for Preliminary Engineering and
Last edited by chris_s; 04-09-2012 at 11:14 AM.
Reason: Forgot to Source
I found the link to the Four Mile Run Restoration master plan. Chapter Four of the "final" document includes a depiction of what the park could look like:
Browse to the fifth page of that document. (It's actually Page 44 of the overall plan.) You can clearly see diagonal paths from the waterfront up to the top of the bank on both sides of Four Mile Run. A cyclist on FMR Trail could take that diagonal path (slowly) up the bank, then turn right and ride slowly through the pedestrian walkway over to Potomac Ave.
However, the last e-newsletter posted to that site was in 2009. The last task force meeting was in August 2009. The planning document shows one possible trail connector but not necessarily what could eventually be built.
The diagonal paths would be built where one of the old bridges is currently located. As noted above, demolition plans for that old bridge have finally been submitted this year. Only after the process of demolition is complete can work begin on any trail connectors.
A minor update on the FMR Trail-Potomac Ave. connector:
"This weekend, the Arlington County Board is expected to approve an agreement with VDOT to design a trail connector from the Four Mile Run Trail to Potomac Avenue in Arlington.
"The design and engineering for the new trail connection is projected to cost $250,000. Of that, $190,000 will come from federal funds and $60,000 will come from Arlington County. The actual construction of the trail connector hasn’t been funded yet, but is expected to be complete no later than 2016. No construction date has been set."
So I guess we only have to wait for 3 more years at most. Woohoo!
One problem with the board approval is that most of the area to the immediate west of Potomac Avenue (and south of the Eclipse) is actually part of Alexandria, as noted above in this thread. Arlington can vote on design and engineering. But Alexandria needs to be involved too. Unless they have ceded control over that small patch of land to Arlington. Arlington can't unilaterally build a trail connector on Alexandria territory. Not that I'd complain if they did. But I don't want to see them waste a lot of time and money over planning something if they don't have authority to do so.
Updates posted on The WashCycle over the past few months:
From Dec. 27, 2012 (http://www.thewashcycle.com/2012/12/...er-update.html)
Potomac Yard – Four Mile Run Trail Connector - Currently under design. Railroad viaduct to be demolished in 2013.
From Feb. 6, 2013 (http://www.thewashcycle.com/2013/02/...-feb-2013.html)
6. Planning work is about to commence on the design of a new ADA compliant trail linking Potomac Yard with the Four Mile Run trail. This multi-year project will involve the Four Mile Run Joint Task Force (JTF) which is composed of Alexandria and Arlington citizens and staff.
The first meeting of the JTF in over two years is now scheduled for May 15, 2013.
It will still be a few years before any trail connector is built. But the demolition of the old railroad bridge should be an aesthetic improvement to that area.
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