Coalition for the Capital Crescent Trail

Archived 2006 CCT News

Index:

Whole Foods supports the Trail.
Interim CCT closed for safety.
Trail traffic counts performed throughout September.
"No Parking" signs up at River Road to make way for a green public space.
CCCT celebrates its Twenty Year Anniversary.
Boathouse Environmental Assessment released.
Crosswalk Realignment Underway at Bethesda Ave.
Budget includes funds to repair the Interim CCT.

Whole Foods supports the Trail.

November 2006

Whole Foods presents check to CCCT
Whole Foods representatives present a check to the CCCT.
From the left: Beverly Wang for Bethesda Whole Foods, Peter Grey for the CCCT, Niki Garza for Silver Spring Whole Foods.

CCCT received a substantial boost from Whole Foods recently in support of CCCT's trail projects. On September 20, 2006 the Whole Foods stores in Silver Spring and Bethesda held a "Community Giving Day" for CCCT. On that day CCCT volunteers manned information tables at both stores, and 5% of the gross proceeds of each store's sales was donated to the CCCT. The event resulted in a $9968 Whole Foods donation to the CCCT.

CCCT wishes to thank Whole Foods, and their customers, for their support. We are exploring several projects that can benefit trail users such as a River Road rest area and anti-graffiti measures at the Bethesda tunnel, and pledge to put their donation to good use.

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Interim CCT closed for safety.

November 2006

barrier at Jones Mill Road
November 18, 2006
A barrier and warning tape across the trail at Jones Mill Road.

The storms of November 16 overwhelmed the area storm drain system, and stormwater has overrun a 1/2 mile long section of the Interim CCT east of Rock Creek for the second time since DPWT last repaired the trail in July. The trail now has several badly eroded areas between the Rock Creek trestle and Stewart Avenue. DPWT has placed barriers and yellow warning tape across the trail to close this section of the Interim CCT. Trail users can get by the barriers, but deep ruts and exposed rocks make the trail hazardous to use. Trail users must take care.


Storm water erosion has been a persistent problem for the trail east of Rock Creek since it opened 10 years ago. The storm drain system that serves the industrial area adjacent to the trail in Lyttonsville regularly overflows. When this happens, the storm water overflow uses the trail bed between the Lyttonsville Place bridge and the Rock Creek trestle as a drainage ditch.

The CCCT mounted a strong advocacy effort this spring to address this chronic erosion problem, and as a result the Montgomery County Council appropriated 100K$ for trail repairs and 100k$ for a drainage study of this area to be done this fiscal year. On July 1 DPWT regraded and resurfaced the trail east of Rock Creek. DPWT also began planning for the drainage study. But a week had not passed before a heavy rainstorm damaged much of the new trail repairs, and now this November storm has completely undone the repairs.

hazardous going east of Rock Creek
November 18, 2006
Fat tire mountain bikes are needed on the trail east of Rock Creek.

Trail users can expect the trail between the Rock Creek trestle and Lyttonsville to remain in miserable condition until the drainage study is complete and the storm drain problems are corrected, except for occasional minimal repairs. CCCT will urge DPWT to perform the drainage study as quickly as possible. CCCT is also asking that the County consider shifting responsibility for trail maintenance from DPWT to the Montgomery County Parks Department. Administrative control of the Interim CCT can remain with DPWT in recognition of the potential future use of the right-of-way as a transit/trail facility. DPWT is also well suited to complete the area drainage study. But maintaining a trail in this area will remain challenging even after the drainage problem is addressed. Trail experience within DPWT is limited to hard surface trails. The Parks Dept. is better suited, both technically and administratively, to maintaining a crushed stone trail. The extensive experience with unpaved trails that exists within the Parks Dept. should be used here.

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Trail traffic counts performed throughout September.

September 2006

Trail users near mile 3.5
Volunteers count trail traffic over one hour time periods.

The CCCT is performing a trail traffic survey in cooperation with the Montgomery County Parks Department. Documenting the heavy use of the CCT by the public is an effective way to convince public officials to protect the trail. Trail use data will also help the Parks Department justify giving the CCT a higher priority for repair and maintenance. The last trail use survey was taken in 2000. We need a new survey that shows the growth in trail use. The Montgomery County Park Department has asked us perform the survey at four locations in the County, using a protocol developed by the Park Dept.

Five locations are being surveyed. We are doing all four locations requested by Mont. Co. Parks: at the Brookeville Drive access stairs at mile 5.5, at the Bethesda Trailhead at mile 3.5, at the access path to Elm Street Park east of the tunnel under Wisconsin Ave., and at the Grubb Street access path east of Rock Creek Park. CCCT is adding a fifth location to the survey that had not been requested - at the Georgetown Trailhead in D.C.

CCCT has sent an email call out to its members for volunteers, and WABA and PPTC has also asked its members to help. Response has been generous! Volunteers have pledged over 100 hours of time to do more than twenty one-hour long traffic counts at each of the five locations.

CCCT mailed trail traffic survey forms and instructions to volunteers in late August. Volunteers began sitting along the trail at each of the five survey locations to record trail traffic immediately after Labor Day. Most counts were completed by the end of September, with only a half dozen counts remaining to be completed in the first week of October. Preliminary results of the survey will be released on this website around mid-October, and all of the survey data will be given to the Montgomery County Parks Department for detailed analysis and formal reporting.

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"No Parking" signs up at River Road -
to make way for a green public space.

August 2006


A County work crew erected "No Parking" signs on August 22 along the informal parking lot on the northwest side of the River Road trail bridge. This is the first tangible progress toward replacing the unsightly row of parked vehicles with an attractive green space and rest area for trail users.

Parking space at River Road
The new "No Parking" signs at River Road

The County had engaged in negotiations with the Minkoff Fire Restoration Company for nine years to create a parking lot and trail rest area on this public land. Under the proposed arrangement, Minkoff would have constructed the rest area in exchange for the right to park company vehicles here. The Park Department had ageed to provide plantings to support this joint project. But the County and Minkoff could never quite close the deal, and not a single shovel of dirt was turned in nine years. County Executive Duncan finally announced this spring that the County was abandoning any further attempts to execute that plan, clearing the way for the Park Department to work with the CCCT and neighborhood groups to develop the trail rest area.

CCCT is urging the County to remove the gravel and asphalt quickly, so that this former parking area can be planted in shrubs, trees and grass. CCCT has pledged to help provide a paved apron with a mapcase, benches, and a water fountain. We are asking the Park Department to provide plantings to at least the same level promised for the cancelled project. Neighborhood groups have expressed interest in helping provide additional trees and plantings.

CCCT had considered keeping some of the area available for parking. But there does not appear to be any practical way to enforce a "trail use only" parking policy at this location. Parking in this area has been, and would continue to be, used mostly by employees and patrons of the adjacent businesses with few spaces left for trail users. We believe trail users and the general public will be better served if this public space is used as a green space and park, and not as a parking lot.

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CCCT celebrates its Twenty Year Anniversary.

June 2006

Over 100 members and guests celebrate the CCCT Twenty Year Anniversary on June 12 at the Chevy Chase Town Hall.

Guests at the anniversary celebration
Courtesy Charlie Wellander
A few of the guests at the celebration. To see more, go to event photos.

The CCCT marked its twenty year anniversary by hosting a celebration for members and trail supporters. Over 100 members and guests came to express their thanks to the Coalition for its twenty years of hard work to establish and protect the Capital Crescent Trail. Numerous elected officials and Park staff came, as well as "old timers" who had helped found the CCCT. Coalition Chair Ernie Brooks gave special recognition to 20 individuals who made especially outstanding contributions to the CCT. Incoming Chair Peter Gray in turn gave Ernie an engraved plaque with gavel to mark Ernie's four years of service as CCCT Chair (Ernie will continue to support the CCCT as our Vice-Chair).


CCCT is proud of its achievements over the past twenty years, but much remains to be done to complete the trail and to improve it. We appreciate the strong support we have received from our members over the years. We will continue to need your support in coming years as we face some especially challenging issues.

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Boathouse Environmental Assessment released -
CCCT calls for a full Environmental Impact Study.

June, 2006


Georgetown University proposes to build a large boathouse adjacent to the CCT, and to convert an 800' long section of the CCT to a shared use access roadway.

Simulated photo of boathouse and trail
Source: NPS Environmental Assessment
This photo simulation shows how close the proposed boathouse will be against the CCT and the C&O Canal towpath embankment.
The NPS is considering a land swap with Georgetown University so the University can build a large boathouse at the Georgetown end of the CCT. CCCT believes that the boathouse is much too large for that location, and is much larger than needed to support the Georgetown University rowing program. The proposed boathouse would badly crowd the CCT and would block views of the river. Trail users will share an 800' long access road with boathouse traffic. The proposed shared CCT/access road is shown in the
boathouse site plan.

NPS performed an Environmental Assessment in an effort to address these objections, and they assert that their study finds the proposed boathouse location and footprint to be acceptable. The study is available online at parkplanning.nps.gov.

The Environmental Assessment falls far short of addressing the key issues of size and location. No alternative locations were evaluated. Two alternative boathouse designs with lower rooflines were evaluated. One boathouse with a slightly reduced footprint was considered. But all alternative designs considered were so large that 800' of CCT would be replaced by a shared access roadway.

While the CCCT is principally opposed to the size of the proposed boathouse, other groups take the position that there are other locations available where the boathouse would not have such a severe impact on the environment. The CCCT is joining with the Defenders of the Potomac River Parkland, www.savethecanal.org, to call for NPS to perform a full Environmental Impact Study (EIS) to address these key issues. We believe that since the NPS is considering swapping parkland to make room for this boathouse, and since the proposed boathouse would have such a high impact on the CCT and on the C&O Canal Historic Park, a full EIS should be performed. A full EIS would require a thorough evaluation, which was not done for this Environmental Assessment.

The CCCT letter to NPS addresses the omissions and errors of the Environmental Assessment in more detail. A full description of the issues for the Trail and for the environment is on our Action Page.

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Crosswalk Realignment Underway at Bethesda Ave.

May 2006

Montgomery County DPWT has begun construction of pedestrian improvements at the intersection of Bethesda Avenue and Woodmont Avenue.

New trail crossing at the Bethesda/Woodmont intersection
Pedestrian improvements include an expanded plaza at Barnes and Noble and a better alignment of the trail crosswalk.
Pedestrian improvements will include:
  • removing the hot right turn lane from southbound Woodmont Avenue unto westbound Bethesda Avenue
  • prohibiting right turns on red for southbound Woodmont Avenue traffic
  • bumping out the curb on the northwest corner to shorten the pedestrian crossing distance
  • realigning and widening the crosswalks for a more direct trail crossing

DPWT is also installing bike lanes on Woodmont Avenue from Bethesda Avenue north to Hampton Lane, to improve bicycle access from the CCT to the Bethesda Metro station.

More information on hours of construction and temporary parking restrictions is available in the DPWT Construction Notification

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Budget includes funds to repair the Interim CCT -
repairs to begin in July 2006.

May 2006

Interim CCT in Silver Spring
The crushed stone trail surface has completely washed away near the Silver Spring end. An approximate half mile section of the trail will be repaired.
The Montgomery County Council agreed on the final FY07 Operating Budget on May 18. The final budget includes $200K to regrade and resurface the badly eroded section of the Interim CCT east of Rock Creek, and to perform a thorough study of what is needed to correct the storm water drain system in that area. DPWT Director Arthur Holmes promised the Council Transportation and Environment (T&E) Committee that the trail repair work would begin at the start of the next fiscal year, in July 2006.

This comes after an intense advocacy effort from the CCCT, with strong support from the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) and Montgomery County Bicycle Advocates (MoBIKE). We owe Councilmember Floreen a special thanks for her strong leadership on the T&E Committee to support this badly needed repair funding.


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More past website stories are at:
2010 Archived News
2009 Archived News
2008 Archived News
2007 Archived News
Trestle Archived News

Safety is NO ACCIDENT - Courtesy is Contagious