It’s hard to miss the largest infrastructure project DDOT has ever undertaken – the current construction of the new 11th Street Bridges – but there is another impressive project underway along the banks of the Anacostia River that hasn’t gotten quite as much attention. The Anacostia Riverwalk Trail is another important addition to the District’s transportation network, connecting walkers and cyclists to their homes, jobs, shopping and recreation sites.
Work on the Trail is already well underway. With more than $25 million invested, 12 of 20 miles are complete, including segments linking Diamond Teague Park, the Pumphouse, the Yards, Navy Yard, RFK Stadium, River Terrace and Anacostia Park. The rest are in planning, design or under construction in coordination with the National Park Service (NPS), U.S. DOT and other agencies.
The District trail will eventually link to 39 miles of trails in Maryland where DC Mayor Vincent Gray recently joined Governor Martin O’Malley, Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar for a ribbon cutting ceremony marking Maryland’s completion of 1.5 miles of trail near the border in Bladensburg.
The “Anacostia’s Great Outdoors” event also celebrated the progress made restoring the Anacostia River Watershed. Mayor Gray said, “Working with Maryland and our federal partners to invest in our trails and parks, we will bring new life and greater economic stability to the communities, parklands and habitat that run along the Anacostia River and in doing so, make the Anacostia a national showcase for urban parks and habitat restoration.”
The Riverwalk Trail is a key component of the larger Anacostia Waterfront Initiative (AWI) launched more than a decade ago. The trail will allow District residents and visitors to walk and bike along the river to numerous destinations including the Fish Wharf, Nationals Park, Poplar Point, the Navy Yard, historic Anacostia, RFK stadium, Kingman Island, the National Arboretum, and the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.
By Spring 2012, construction will be complete on two new pedestrian bridges on both sides of the river connecting South Capitol Street to Benning Road. Design of the Kenilworth Gardens segment, which will connect Benning Road in the District to the Bladensburg Trail in Maryland, is 65 percent done and scheduled to conclude in the summer. Construction is planned to begin by the end of 2012.
Once completed, there will be close to 60 miles of contiguous trails in the Anacostia River Watershed, an expansive transportation network for those who prefer walking and bicycling to get around the District and beyond.