Coalition for the Capital Crescent Trail

Trail Reports


Reports are not checked for accuracy and may no longer apply.

Please help us by reporting about conditions or accidents on the CCT or Interim CCT. Email reports to report@cctrail.org. Full names and email addresses will not be posted.

Follow trail reports on Twitter @CCTreports.


Snow gone, mud moves in at E-W Highway
6 pm Sat. March 29 report from SJE

As of Friday evening, all the snow was gone from the trail G’town to SS.   Where the CCT goes under East West highway, on the SS side there is still some serious mud.  It will be worse with today’s rain.


Ice lingers from Bethesda to Silver Spring
Noon Thurs. March 27 report from SJE

From G’town to Bethesda, the trail is great, with only a few patches of snow/ice.  Bethesda to Silver Spring is another story: large areas of ice, snow, and mud, especially Bethesda to Jones Mill Road.  For the next few days, I’d be very careful in the early morning or late at night, as it could be quite hazardous if it refreezes. 



Georgetown Branch Trail near Jones Bridge Road


Snow lingers on bridges
6:30 pm Tues. March 25 photo and rpt. by Loren

Only snow on the trail at 6:30 PM 3/25 was on the two bridges.



Dalecalia waterplant bridge


Snow, again.,
9 am Tues. March 25 photo by Lauren




Snow free trail for now, mud in places on GBT
6 pm Fri. March 21 report from SJE

From Silver Spring to Georgetown, clear of snow and debris.  Some tricky mud under MD410 [East-West Hwy], and in places along Georgetown Branch portion between Jones Mill and Silver Spring.


Clear from G'town to Bethesda except for slush on bridges
8:20 pm Tues. March 18 report from Loren

Rode from G'town to Bethesda @6PM Tuesday and the only snow or slush was a little on the River Road bridge. Most of the trail was dry. Surprising.


GBT has standing water, ready to turn into mud
8 pm Tues. March 18 report from JP

The North end of the bridge after Dalecarlia tunnel still has snow/slush on it, but there is a clear path. Same thing with the River Rd bridge. GBT is almost clear of snow/ice, but there is a lot of standing water ready to be turned into mud. The trestle bridge still has snow and ice on it, but there is also a clear path on one side.


CCT clear from Bethesda to Mass. Ave.
6 pm Tues. March 18 report from Art

The CCT is clear of snow from mile 3 (Wisconsin tunnel) to mile 5 (between River and Massachusetts), except for some slush on the River Road bridge. That and a few wet spots may refreeze and be hazards for morning bikers.


Between Little Falls and DC
noon Tues. March 18 photos from Laura









Its back! Snow on the CCT that is.
Report from Loren, 6 pm Mon. March 17

Mixed conditions on the trail after the snow.  First photos are looking north and south from Little Falls Pkwy, the second two are just north of Dalecarlia where someone shoveled a long stretch of the shady/snowy sections. Tomorrow  AM will be sketchy with some crud and black ice so will ride cross bike, tomorrow PM ??



Looking north from Little Falls Parkway


Looking south from Little Falls Parkway


looking toward the Dalecarlia Tunnel


Looking toward the Dalecarlia Tunnel from farther north.


Ice free but...
report Tues. pm March 11 from SJE

The Bethesda to Silver Spring section has some deep mud and ruts.  The worst spots are the bridge under East-West Highway, and the section from Jones Bridge Road to Silver Spring. I have seen people fall, and some near accidents as pedestrians and cyclists try to navigate over thin strips of dry ground. It might take a roller to get it back into shape.


CCT free of ice from Bethesda to Georgetown
Report from Jon at 8 am Monday March 10


Sumner Shadows (just north of Dalecarlia Tunnel) still rough going
Friday evening March 7 report from Anthony

Rode the Sumner Shadows and the Little Falls Branch Trail today at 4:00 and 5:00, respectively.  The Sumner Shadows was rough going.  I rode on 2.2 inch mtn tires and still had trouble, but made it without dismounting.  The LFBT was a touch better, but still challenging.  Both trails should be much improved by tomorrow afternoon.  As mentioned in other postings, the DC side is clear. 


Icy sections short enough to walk...
9 pm Thursday report from Loren

Things improved considerably from AM to PM on Thursday, as there are now only certain sections that are snow and ice covered. I was able to ride through nearly all without putting a foot down, with most of the snow and ice just north of the tunnel. For those with road tires or don't want to take chances, the sections are short enough to walk. By tomorrow PM, should be nearly clear as what is still there is generally thin.


Montgomery County is still tough going..
Report 9:20 am. Thursday March 6 from Andrew

As of Thursday AM, Montgomery County was still tough going. Lots of rutted ice forced me to walk from mile 6 (just north of the tunnel) to the DC border. Once in DC, it was smooth sailing.



Near Mile 6


Approaching the Dalecarlia Tunnel


 

River Road to Dalecarlis a rutted ice field...
7 am. Thursday Moring report from Tate

"The MD CCT from Bethesda to River Road has been plowed and is 95% dry blacktop."

"River Road to Dalecarlia is a rough and rutted ice field with a few portions of blacktop now showing."

"Dalecarlia to Georgetown is dry and clear."


Tommorrow am will be icy...
Wednesday evening report from Loren

"The DC portion of the trail was plowed on Tuesday mid day and so by Wednesday PM was nearly dry in all places. The sections north of the Dalecarlia Water Treatment Plant/tunnel are a different story: still generally snow or ice covered, although not as deep as the last storm. So tomorrow AM will be icy and tomorrow PM probably still a problem since the temps will only be in the 30s. It is possible to ride with a knobby tire bike but it is not easy--I am taking the neighborhoods and dropping on to the trail just north of the tunnel."

"Sorry no pics, but I came back after dark. Btw, Tuesday AM I rode by mtb and was expecting the southern part to be cleared, so it was a really long commute that day. Beautiful, but tough."


DC portion still very icy
Report from SJE at noon Wed. March 5

"If you have thin tires, its tough"


An icy mess in MoCo, patchy in DC, "Still beats driving!"
Report 9:30 am Wednesday March 5 from Andrew

"I rode the trail into DC this morning, starting from mile 6.0, just north of the Dalecarlia Tunnel. The trail was initially a mess: soft snow on top of ice (first picture). I had to walk my road bike, although I did see a couple guys on mountain bikes who seemed to be doing okay. Once I crossed into DC, the trail was patchy, but rideable (second picture). After the bridge over Canal Road, the trail remained patchy all the way to Georgetown (third picture), but I was able to ride the whole time, albeit slowly. Still beats driving!"






CCT plowed in DC, packed snow in MoCo
4 pm. Tues. report from Tate

DC CCT has been plowed.  It's about 60% blacktop with the rest as soft ice.

Water plant to Bethesda is, as always, unplowed with a moderately established packed snow and ice single track trough. It'll be solid ice tomorrow morning so it's another bring your carbide tips to work day.


CCT for the hardy who have knobs and studs
Report from Tate on Tuesday am., March 4

@ 5:30, the crescent is unplowed with no established, compacted trail from Bethesda to Georgetown.

The Dalecarlia-to-Georgetown trail is not yet plowed.

The ride downhill was a long, hard slog with sections of crusty ice underneath. Knobs required and studs recommended.


Sumner Shadows (i.e. just north of Dalecarlia Tunnel) at 1 pm Saturday
March 1


Photo courtesy Tom Mann


Black ice on trail this a.m. nearly gone this p.m.
Report from Mette, Thurs. Feb. 27, 4:30 pm

Biked at 8am to G-town and there were some patches of black ice before Dalecarlia Bridge. When I biked back at 1pm it was very easy and mostly clear!


Clear in DC, numerous ice patches in MD
From Frank, Thurs. Feb. 27, 9:30 a.m.

The trail was clear on the DC side, but numerous ice patches between Bethesda and the DC line, especially approaching the tunnel.  Nevertheless, I and many other riders seemed to get through it okay.


The ice is back?

A @CCTravailis tweet Tues. evening about some ice north of the Dalecarla Bridge after yesterday's snow, plus new snow this Wed. a.m., sets us up for another period of ice on the trail. Be alert.


Bethesda to Georgetown 100% clear
Report from Tim, Mon. Feb. 24, 7:50 a.m.

Bethesda to Georgetown is 100% clear.  There are a few piles of snow still surviving just off the trail but the pavement is clear of all snow and ice.


All ice gone now - @CCTreports (retweeted from Charles Ford at 6 pm.)


Trail clear except at Dalecarlia and west end of Georgetown Branch
Report from M.F., Sun. Feb. 23, 3:15 pm

Trail was fine all the way to end at Georgetown except for right before the Dalecarlia Bridge and the stretch before old & new trails meet.




Little Falls Trail an alternative to "Sumner Shadows"?
Report from Andy, Sun. Feb. 23, 1 pm

Heading south from River Rd., just after you pass over the bridge at Mass. Ave, turn left onto and go down the ramp (careful).  At the bottom of the ramp, go right on the sidewalk at the bottom.  Ride a few feet on the walk and go right onto the Little Falls Branch Trail (at Mass/Little Falls Pkwy).  Follow this for a few mins to get back onto the CCT (go left).

There is minimal ice/slush/snow left on the LFBT bypass as of 2/22 at 4:00 pm.  Don’t go too far on the bypass or you’ll miss the right turn (a 90 degree turn) that leads back to the CCT.  If you’re coming north from the DC side, just reverse the directions.  You’ll totally bypass the snow/ice on the “Sumner Shadows” section.  Piece of cake.

Webmaster: I've always assumed the Little Falls Trail would not clear much before the CCT. Have others had good experience with Andy's alternative route?


Still a large icy patch at north side of Dalecarlia Tunnel
Report from Polly, Sat. Feb. 22, 7 pm

Rode DC segment today, all clear. Continued north thru tunnel, large slushy, icy, bumpy patch leaving tunnel.  Rode a bit further and trail seemed to be clear from there on up on the MD segments.


Snowy and icy before Dalecarlia tunnel, may be ridable soon
Report from Marco, Fri. Feb. 21, noon

At 8 am There was no more than a quarter of a mile snowy and icy right before McArthur tunnel (coming from Bethesda. Between the tunnel and River there is a little ridable path (see picture). With another mid day in the 60s hopefully by the end of noon the snowy and icy section should be ridable.





Still very icy and bumpy north from Dalecarlia Tunnel
Report from Ben, Thurs. 20 Feb., 9:30 pm

I thought that another day in the 50s might come close to clearing the trail. Wrong. From the MacArthur tunnel it was very snowy and icy. Maybe Monday.


MoCo Council asks Parks how much it would cost to plow CCT
Reported at Bethesda Now


Studded tires not enough for the trail in MoCo
From Loren, Wed. Feb. 19, 6 pm

Oops!

Bad prediction regarding conditions this PM: trail between Dalecarlia Treatment plant and River Road still very difficult. As an an indication, I met a guy with studs on his bike tires and he was taking the neighborhood route rather than trying to ride the the trail.


DC is great, MoCo slushy and icy and lots of snow
From Naomi, Wed. Feb. 19, 1 pm

As of 12:30, DC is great,  Kudos.  Montgomery County is slushy, icy, and lots of snow.  I didn't see anyone riding beyond the Delacarlia bridge.


Deep slush in MoCo between the two bridges
Report from Loren, Tues. Feb. 18, 8:30 pm

Killer hard ride this evening on the way back. Deep slushy crud between the two bridges, nearly impossible to keep the front wheel pointed forward. I hopped off to ride the streets instead.

Tomorrow AM will be tough whether or not it freezes as there are now lots of wheel tracks cutting up what was a relatively flat and ridable surface this AM.

My guess is that by tomorrow evening all should be nearly clear.


Tough riding in MoCo., fat tires recommended tomorrow!
Report and photos from Loren, Mon. Feb. 17, 6 pm

Tough ride between the River Road and water treatment plant bridges. Above and below those the trail has been plowed, although still some ice and snow (especially north). Fat tires recommended tomorrow.






The trail has been plowed in D.C.
Report from Thomas, Sun. Feb. 16, 10 p.m.

DC portion of the trail from the water treatment plant to Georgetown has been plowed and mostly clear.  Some icy spots, but paths through them and no need to get off your bike.


Now is the time for skiers!
From Art, Thurs. Feb. 13, 11 a.m.

The Georgetown Branch from Bethesda tunnel to CT Ave has at least one foot of snow with more in some spots.

A pretty good ski track has been cut. I tried to cut a second track for walkers and us runners, but only got from the tunnel to the 2.5 mile mark (that's quite a workout).

Skiers should go now while their track lasts.


Trail ice free this a.m.
From SJE, Tues. Feb. 11. 3 p.m.

The DC and lower MD part of the trail was icy last night, but fine this morning. 


A few patches of snow, but not enough to stop riding.
From Anna, Mon. Feb. 10, 8:15 a.m.

There were some patches of snow this morning, particularly on bridges and closer to Maryland, but they don’t appear to be slippery.  Happy biking!




East of the Rock Creek Trestle
1 p.m. Fri. Feb. 7

Trail is clear of ice, but has some hazards on Georgetown Branch
From SJE, Fri. Feb. 7, 10 am.

Trail is clear of ice all the way from Georgetown K St to the end in Silver Spring, but there are a few hazards on the Georgetown Branch.
1. If thawed, the ground on the East side of Jones Bridge Road is very soft and rutted, can be tough going on narrow tires, and can catch wheels.   Totally fine frozen.
2. The call button to cross  Eastwards over Jones Bridge Rd is malfunctioning.


Icy conditions, e-bike
From Ryan B., Thurs. Feb. 6, 8:25 a.m.

A few icy spots on the trail today, mainly at the northern end of the bridge over River, and at the southern end of the bridge over the water treatment plant. Just keep it straight and you'll be fine.

Also got buzzed by that e-bike guy at the AZ Ave bridge going southbound around 7:15. Based on my own speed he had to be going at least 25mph, probably more.

Webmaster: Also posted at E-bike Forum


Trail clear Georgetown to Bethesda
Report from Nadine, Tues. Feb. 4, 8 p.m.

I rode almost the whole length of the CCT today and it's all clear!  I rode from the stairs going down from the C&O near Georgetown to Dorset st, so the bits I missed were not the places that usually freeze.  Looks like most of the precip tomorrow will be rain, so the trail should be fine afterwards too  (FYI the Custis is also clear, and I'm guessing the others....)


Ice forms in the Dalecarlia Tunnel


Photo taken by a regular CCT user on Jan. 31, 2014


Ice still lingers at Sumner, near mile 6.0, on Sunday at noon.


At about noon on Sunday Feb. 2 at "Sumner Shadows"
(Between Dalecarlia Tunnel and Mass. Ave.)
by Thomas S. Mann


At about 1pm Friday Jan. 31 at the "Sumner Shadows"
(Between Dalecarlia Tunnel and Mass. Ave.)
by Thomas S. Mann

Georgetown to Dalecarlia Tunnel 99% bare pavement. Mixed conditions in MoCo, with Georgetown Branch mostly a mix of mud, slush and snow.
Report from "J.P.", Fri. Jan. 31, 6 p.m.

Georgetown to Dalecarlia Tunnel is 99% bare pavement.

Dalecarlia Tunnel to River Rd. is all about patches little and large of slushy ice or packed snow. It starts as you exit the tunnel, then packed snow on the little bridge before the Little Falls Trail junction. Packed snow with some slush mixed in after Little Falls Trail for about 1/3 mile. Bridge over Mass Ave is mix of packed snow and slush. River Rd bridge is clear.

River to Bethesda is pretty clear, but all the bridges are icy slush/snow.

Bethesda to Conn Ave. is a mix of mud, slushy ice and snow.

Conn Ave to Jones Mill is more hard packed snow than anything else.

Jones Mill to Stewart is more of the same on the Silver Spring bound side, but there is a clear path on the other side of the trail.


Georgetown to Dalecarlia Tunnel - 95% Dry Pavement.
CCT in MoCo - Mixed Conditions. Georgetown Branch - don't try.

Report From JP, Thurs. Jan. 30, 7:50 p.m. (Corrected Fri. 5 a.m.)

Georgetown to Dalecarlia tunnel was 95% dry pavement.

Dalecarlia tunnel to River Rd was 75% packed snow with ice underneath - ride slowly and straight.

River Rd to Kenwood was alternating dry pavement and packed snow. The North side of the bridge had some ice/snow covering and the South side was mostly dry pavement.

Kenwood to Bethesda was mostly dry pavement except for both sides of Little Falls Pkwy and the bridges into Bethesda.

Didn't even try the Georgetown Branch portion.


Bethesda Now reports on messy CCT.

The blog Bethesda Now posts on the conditions on the trail, with a great photo of the Georgetown Branch Trail near Jones Mill Road.

Snow, Cold, Ice Make for Messy Capital Crescent Trail


Trail conditions worsen.
Report from Nathaniel, Thur. Jan. 30, 10:30 a.m.

Unfortunately, the trail conditions have actually worsened overall.  The last light round of snow has now frozen and covers much of what was bare pavement on Tuesday.  The icepack in the shady sections and bridges in MoCo has now hardened and is even more rutted from the recent snow.  And finally, the Georgetown branch is still mostly a bumpy ice-field.

Let's hope for a thaw!


 

Huge difference between morning and afternoon commutes!
From Andrew, Mon. Jan. 27 at 7 pm.

The DC portion of the trail went from 50% covered in ice this morning, to 99.99% ice-FREE this evening. I attribute this to DC's plowing of the trail after the storm. 

For the MoCo paved portion, it's still pretty ugly.  Lots of ice in areas that saw limited direct sunlight today.


 

Some snow pack in MoCo is changing into ice
From Andrew, Mon. Jan. 27 at 1 pm.

Just a quick update.  Basically the paved sections are the same as I reported on Monday, except that the snow pack on the MoCo section was a bit slicker this morning.  More ice than snow as compared to Friday and tougher for both bikers and joggers.  I suspect it'll be that way all week since the MoCo portion is heavily shaded and we've got more cold weather coming. 


Still snow-pack in MoCo, ice patches in DC.
From Nathaniel, Mon. Jan. 27 at noon

I rode the entire trail this morning.

The comments about "Snow-pack in Moco, Ice patches in DC," are still current.

I would add that the Georgetown Branch section is the worst, basically just footprints in hard packed ice.


  

E-bike discussion moved to our new E-bike Forum
We have been receiving more comments about whether electric assisted bikes are legal or appropriate on the CCT. We are moving that discussion to a new page,
E-bike Forum, so this page can remain mostly about trail conditions.


Snow-pack in MoCo, Ice patches in DC
report from Andrew, 10 am Fri. Jan. 24

Bethesda to DC line:  Snow-pack covers 100% of the trail, but there are continuous 1 to 2 foot wide strips that are packed down enough to ride a hybrid or mountain bike on. I did fine with my fitness hybrid with standard tires (although I deflated them a significant amount before leaving). The strips are packed down enough to ride comfortably, yet textured/ridged enough to prevent sliding.

Joggers would probably be fine on this section of the trail as well.

DC line to Georgetown: A whole different story. Kudos to DC for plowing their section of the trail, but unfortunately right now the plow basically just stripped off all the textured snow pack on top and left lots of ice. There were some strips of bare pavement here and there, but attempting to maneuver your bike to get to them was next to impossible because the ice makes it impossible to do anything but go perfectly straight and hold on for dear life. Basically, I wouldn't recommend riding this section without good snow tires, and jogging would not be wise.

Again, thanks to DC for plowing the trail. Even though it made it more dangerous for fools like myself who ride on this stuff, the snow and ice that remain should melt more quickly than in the un-plowed Marlyand section.

Also, I recommend riding about half speed or less if you insist on riding in these conditions.  Slow down even further for pedestrians and give them as wide of a berth as possible- even if it means leaving the packed-down strips and riding into deeper snow.


On Electric Bikes: from our CCCT Chair, Jan. 16, 2014

The Coalition For The Capital Crescent Trail has made both the U.S. Park Police and the Montgomery County Park Police aware of the complaints regarding recent appearances of electric bikes on the trail.  Please notify them when such a vehicle is seen on the CCT. Even if  you are unable to call immediately, do so when you can with time and location of the vehicle.  Please report such sightings to us at report@cctrail.org as well.

If in Montgomery County: MoCo Park Police, 301-949-3010
If in D.C.: NPS Police, 202-619-7300.

Ron Tripp, Chair, CCCT


Response to Michael from Tobias on electric bikes
15 Jan 2014

E-bikes and pedelecs (bicycles with pedal-assist systems) can go on the CCT as long as they comply with public law PL107-319 (2002): Any electric support must be leveled-off at 20 mpH. E-bikes that would provide support beyond this speed are not legally sold for use on any public road or trail. Trained road bikers often (and easily) surpass 20 mpH, which is fine if within applicable speed limits. Traffic laws and CCT etiquette apply to all bicycle riders: Fast riders must adjust to accommodate slower riders before passing. Bicyclists must yield to pedestrians. Stay safe and healthy!

From the webmaster: Sorry, but the Montgomery County Park Police have given us word that motorized vehiicles of all types are banned from the CCT, except for handicapped vehicles such as wheelchairs. Also, NO vehicles can exceed 15 mph on the trail.
We will continue to report the interpretation of the law that the Park Police use.


Electric Bikes back, and are still illegal!
report from Michael, Jan 14, 2014

I've been passed three times in the past 24 hours by a motor assisted bike travelling at about 30 miles an hour. The first time, yesterday morning, the guy was actually on K Street just past the CCT, but in a place where he had obviously come from the CCT. He blew through a stop sign doing about 30. Then last night the same guy passed me on the CCT west of Key Bridge but before Fletchers, in the dark, and again going about 30. That was about 7:00pm.  Then again this morning he passed me at 8:35 am in about the same spot going eastbound.

I called US Park Police, and the guy who answered (named Lawrence) said he didn’t think it was illegal but said he’d check into it. I think Lawrence is wrong and it would be great if the Coalition could campaign to get these dangerous riders off the trail before someone gets seriously injured or killed.

Thanks,
Michael M.

From the webmaster: Electric Bikes are indeed illegal on the trail - as is going 30 mph! CCCT took this up with the Montgomery County Park Police last May, see electric bike report. Please help be the eyes of the MoCo Park Police - call 301 949-3010 to report motor assisted bikes on the CCT in Montgomery County. If in DC, call NPS at 301-745-5804.


Trail good from Bethesda to Georgetown!
from Ben, Wed Jan 8, 2:30pm

I hadn't been on the trail since last week's snow & the deep freeze so didn't know what to expect this morning. It turned out that the trail was in perfect condition from Bethesda to Georgetown, although it was cold. Traffic was light.


Snowpack on trail
from Sharon P., Jan 4 am

Ran the CCT trail today at 8:30 am from the crossing at Little Falls to Georgetown....it was pretty much snow packed almost the whole way...approaches to and from the bridges were slippery and the C & O portion was the most packed ....hardly any runners out there this morning...no bikes.  One tree down on the C & O easy to step over...



photo by Sharon Putterman, near Fletcher's



photo by Wayne Phyillaier, at Rock Creek trestle


Georgetown Branch Trail will be closed at Rock Creek Park
Jan. 10 into February from 6 pm to 6 am

From Nathaniel, Dec. 29, 2013

I noticed that signs have been posted on the Georgetown Branch extension (around the Rock Creek Park overpass) warning of a closure for deer management from January 10th into February, 6 pm to 6 am.

I guess commuters and others will need to find a detour to stay out of the sights?


From the webmaster: This part of Rock Creek Park has been scheduled for deer population management using "Park Police-based Sharpshooting" starting in January. The trail section through the park (between Jones Mill Road and the Grubb Road/Terrace Drive access path) will be closed on weekday nights between 6 pm and 6 am during this period. See the Parks website at deer population mngmnt for more on the deer management program and schedule.

While it would be unlikely that a trained police sharpshooter would mistake a trail user riding a bicycle with lights for a deer, it would still be wise to not use the trail for commuting during this period. Unfortunately the alternative route via. Susanna Lane and the Rock Creek Trail will also be closed as part of the same park closure.


 

Trail clear, but watch for black ice when it freezes.
From J.B., Monday 16 Dec,., 10 a.m.

Rode the CCT in this morning at 8 and path was completely clear of ice from Bethesda all the way on down. No problem riding it, though stretches of pavement were still wet and black ice could certainly be a problem in the morning cold, but I didn’t come across any.


Trail is free of ice and snow.
From D.C., Monday 16 Dec., 8:30 a.m.

As of Monday (Dec 16) morning, CCT is free of ice on snow on bridges and trails from Dorset Ave in Bethesda to Georgetown.  Much improved since Friday evening


Trail can be used if you walk the bridges!
From J.M., Thursday 12 Dec., 10:20 a.m.

The downed trees reported yesterday by AZ are gone (thank you NPS). Short stretches of iciness from Bethesda to River Rd, and from River to the Tunnel, but usually with a groove down the middle you can ride through. All the bridges (River, Reservoir, Canal) are heavily frozen; I walked them this morning. With the exception of two small patches of black ice just south of the reservoir bridge, all the non-bridge surface from that point south is entirely clear. The frozen parts in Bethesda are not enough to make it worth not riding. Beats Metro by a long shot.


Trail has icy patches in MoCo, bridge iced over in D.C.
From J.A., Thursday 12 Dec., 7:30 a.m.

At 7:30 am thursday, large patches of rough ice in Montgomery County, including but not limited to bridges and areas over drainage pipes. Some areas are treacherous. D.C. has only small areas of ice, except for the bridge over canal road, which is iced over.


Tree blocking trail in D.C., Slushy Conditions.
From A.Z., Monday 9 Dec., 10:50 a.m.

There are large leafy branches down just south of the Delecarlia Tunnel partially blocking the path, and a large, splintered tree trunk blocking the trail about halfway between Fletcher's and Key Bridge.

This morning (December 9), it looks like the National Park Service did a good job preparing the trail for the storm on the DC side.  The Montgomery County side was not prepared and was quite slushy, with ice on the bridges.


Temporary trail closure near Mass. Ave. Wednesday Nov. 13

Asplundh Tree Experts will be removing a tree stuck in PEPCO high voltage power lines today. The work will began about 10:00 a.m. and take place south of Massachusetts Ave. near the connection to Brookeway Drive. It is expected to take a couple of hours and will involve temporarily closing the trail to users. 


Tree and brush clearing along the trail
From the National Park Service, Nov. 7

Our contractor will be conducting tree and brush clearing along the CCT over the next several weeks.

Can you make an effort to notify the users of the CCT to use caution and remain alert, and to slow down in the work zones?

The contractor will be using signs and flagman to control traffic.

Thanks.
John G, Adams CSP
Safety Officer/Acting Chief of Maintenance C&O Canal NHP.

Concrete blocks remain after the shut down to pose a trail hazard.
From J.B., Nov. 6

The park service has left in place those huge concrete blocks they used to close the trail in October. They re a hazard, serve no purpose where they are, and the park service should remove them for safety.  Eventually someone will ride into them - trail's pretty narrow, leaves are slippery, lots of traffic at placement point - and that will be a serious accident.

Nov. 7 UPDATE: The National Park Service will be removing the blocks, per CCCT request.


"I don't want to hit anybody!"
From Paul, Oct. 29

I don’t want to hit anybody on the trail. Nor do I want to get hit. That's why I always use a light on the trail when it’s dark.

If you are using the trail at night without reflective clothing and lights, you are putting yourself and others at risk. Many wear black from head to toe. If that isn’t a dumb idea I don't know what is. Others have buds from MP3 players in their ears and/or talk on their cell phones. Almost as dumb. I suspect some people think that those of us with lights can see them no matter what they are wearing. That isn't true, especially if another bicyclist with a light is coming the other way with his/her light in our eyes.

For those who do have lights, a request. Please aim your light to the side rather than directly into the eyes of those coming toward you, and don't use the brightest setting. That’s what I do. If it ever becomes essential that I need the brightest setting, I’ll start taking Metro. May have to go a bit slower, but it isn't difficult, just considerate.

Thanks!
 Paul


Tree down across trail north of Fletchers Boat House
From H., 3:30 p.m. Oct. 13.


Chain closing the CCT is a Hazard.
From Nathaniel, 2:20 pm Oct 4.

What happens when you hang a chain across a popular bike trail? Accidents happen, of course. Hence the poor woman I saw today on the ground in front of the “closure” sign at the D.C. line with blood all over her face.

No warning signs? No orange cones? That chain is obviously a public hazard, government shut down or no.

Also this afternoon, a park police officer was speed-gunning bikers coming down off the River Road bridge. If the police are going to stand in the trail in the name of public safety I would prefer them to stand in front of the “closure” chain and warn people then to slow down.

 

CCT River Road Bridge CLOSED 10 am - 2 pm Wed. Oct. 2

Capital Crescent Trail Construction:
One-Day Detour & Line Painting Repairs and improvements to Capital Crescent Trail will occur with construction expected between September 30, 2013 and October 4, 2013. Activities will include line painting and paving work. The trail will remain open during construction except for Wednesday October 2, 2013, between 10 am and 2 pm. A detour will be provided during the trail closure. The work is occurring south of River Road and will require the bridge over River Road to be closed for the specified period. Users are advised to use caution when passing through the construction areas. For more information, call 301-495-2595. Thank you for your patience as we make safety improvements to this trail.

Jeff Devlin
Park Manager II
Cabin John Area


Trail will close if the govt. closes!
Sept. 30, 2013

NPS has notified its volunteers that the CCT will be closed to all uses if the govt. closes. They have placed bollards at the entrances to prepare to block trail traffic within D.C. The sections of the CCT within Mont. Co. should remain open.


Trail line painting starting on Sept. 30
Notice from Jeff Devlin, Mont. Co. Park Manager, Cabin John Area

The Montgomery County Park Maintenance Division will be re-painting the lines on the Capital Crescent Trail between September 30, - October 4, 2013, as weather permits. This is the section of the CCT from Bethesda to the D.C. boundary.

This is usually completed with minimal disturbance to the public other than some cones and a brief slowdown at the point where painting is actually occurring.


 

Ruts and soft sand at Silver Spring end.
From Bruce, July 28

The trail at the top end (close to Silver Spring, after you cross the bridge) has become rutted and full of soft sand. It can be a little tricky to navigate with narrow tires.


Trench hazard at Georgetown Trailhead
From David R., July 22

Please use caution at the new Georgetown trailhead gate. This morning I witnessed a bicycle accident that resulted when a cyclist ahead me drove from the trail through the gate, hit the shallow trench that runs completely across the road just past the gate, lost control, and crashed. He was shaken up but apparently not seriously injured. I reported the accident to the Safety Officer/Acting Chief of Maintenance for C&O Canal NHP, so he is aware of it.

That trench, which had been merely an annoying obstacle, is now truly dangerous because the new gate funnels you right toward the center and deepest part. As this accident demonstrates, the trench can cause you to crash if you don’t expect it or hit it too fast. I’ve read that the Park Service plans to make improvements to the trailhead area here, and I asked in my report that they make repairing this trench a high priority.


Night trail closures at Arizona Ave. bridge ended.
From NPS, July 3

C&O Canal National Historical Park

Repair work for Arizona Avenue Bridge N.W. DC:
UPDATE: Nightly road closures for Canal Road and Chain Bridge Road have ended for the Arizona Avenue Bridge project. There may be evening temporary lane closures after the non-rush hour period for minor site cleanup and maintenance.  One lane of traffic will remain open at all times during any lane closure.

The nightly closure for Capital Crescent Trail at Arizona Avenue Bridge has ended. The trail is opened to pedestrians and cyclists.

Visitor Safety Improvements along Capital Crescent Trail:
UPDATE: The bicycle-friendly gate has been installed at the Water Street entrance to the Capital Crescent Trail. Cyclists should use caution when entering or exiting the trail at this location. Additional signage and striping has been installed to warn all visitors approaching the gate.

For additional details, contact: John Noel, Public Information Officer, (301) 491-6422


New 5 1/2 foot wide gate at Georgetown Trailhead.
Sun., June 23

The National Park Service has installed a gate at Georgetown where Water Street begins. Trail users should use caution when passing through this area.

See pictures and more information at CCT News and Events.

Work Crew at downed tree.
Tue., June 11, a little after 7p.m.

SJE reported:
"Riding home from Georgetown to Silver Spring, leaving at 640pm, we had a great illustration of differences between the DC and MD sides in terms of treatment of cyclists.
 (1) working on the temporary bridge over Canal Road required them to close the trail for 15 minutes. A nice policeman explained everything.
(2) on the MD side of the Dalecarlia tunnel, a tree had become entangled in a power line and a work crew would not let us pass. It would be good if they had put signs earlier, and directed people to the nearest routes around, instead of just assuming we would work it out."



Tree down on trail.
Tue., June 11, 6:45 p.m.,

Amy reported:
"As of last night at 6:45, a big tree was down around mile 5.6 or 6, and tangled in power lines above.  Caution tape was on either side but people were going under because it was the only way to get through. Please post when this is resolved -- thanks!"



Trees cleared from trail.
Wed., May 29

The downed trees that had been blocking the trail near the Canal Road Bridge have been removed. Thanks to all who reported them.

Maintainance issues or hazards on the National Park section of the CCT (the section in D.C.) can be reported to darryll_mcleod@nps.gov:
darryl_mcleod@nps.gov
or john_adams@nps.gov: john_adams@nps.gov.



Down trees blocking trail near Canal Road.
Fri., May 24, from JP

JP reports there are two trees down blocking the entire trail just North of the Canal Road bridge. They are about 20 yards apart. You can squeeze by them on one side of the trail.

See also the photo of one of the trees on the trail on our CCTreports Twitter feed at left, sent by Mark W.



Electric bikes are back - and are still illegal.
May 2, 2013

From Nathaniel:

"I've been noticing an uptick in cyclists using electric motors on the trail. These are sold as battery powered/assisted bikes and seem to be becoming more popular."

"In my experience these "assisted" riders enjoy the novelty of moving along deceptively fast with minimal effort. The novelty seems to somehow override the use of normal safety precautions (looking before merging, warning before passing, signalling, etc.)"

"I've also been told by some of these riders that battery-powered bikes are allowed on the trail."

"So, my questions are:
1) Are electric motors or battery powered bikes allowed on the trail?
2) If so, are there limits to the amount of battery power?
3) If not, could we see some signage about the rule?" 

From the webmaster:

Electric bikes are NOT legal on the CCT. CCCT Chair Ron Tripp passed Nathaniel's email on to Montgomery County Park Police Chief Antonio Devaul, and received this response:

"Thanks, Ron. We have increased our patrols due to the seasonal changes. Please stress to all to contact our dispatch center at 301.949.3010 should they see any motorized bikes on the CCT. The extra eyes and ears are extremely helpful."

"Thanks again for the heads up."

Please help be the eyes of the Park Police - call 301 949-3010 to report motor assisted bikes on the CCT.



Bethesda Tunnel closed.
from J.P., May 2, 2013

J.P. reports he found the gates to the tunnel closed at 8 a.m., and a friend found them to be closed at 10 a.m. today. We have no other information at this time.



Asphalt patch now covers sinkhole near Canoe Club.
May 2, 2013

David S. reports that John Adams of NPS sent an email saying that the current patch is temporary and that once DC Water determines the cause of the sinkhole, a permanent repair will be made.



Metal Plate covering sinkhole near Canoe Club.
April 26, 2013

There is a metal plate on the trail approx. 300 yards upstream from the Georgetown Trailhead, and construction in the area. Use caution.

This notice is from the National Park Service:

The DC Water and Sewer and Water Authority are repairing a section of the Capital Crescent Trail approximately 300 yards upstream from the end of Water Street / Washington Canoe Club.  The emergency repairs are in response to a series of sink holes affecting the Capital Crescent Trail from a yet to be determined cause.  Construction is on-going and takes place at night to minimize conflicts with commuters.  Currently a temporary metal plate is in place and bicyclists are urged to use caution when traveling this section of the Capital Crescent Trail which will remain open to commuters and other recreational activities.



Mount Vernon Trail Closures start April 8
from the National Park Service, April 1, 2013.

NOT an April Fools joke - the CCCT has received a notice from the National Park Service that there will be extensive maintenance to the Mount Vernan Trail and bridges starting on April 8, and the trail will be closed at times.

See their announcement with a map of a detour route at their April 1 MVT Advisory (pdf).

CCCT thanks the NPS for sending us notice of this closure.



Maintenance along the Trail, with several closures.
from the CCCT, March 23, 2013.

We have learned late this week of two separate, major maintenance projects that will have significant impacts on trail users.

1) Repairs at the Canal Road Bridge by the National Park Service (NPS), with deck reconstruction that will close the trail at times:

Expect the bridge that carries the Capital Crescent Trail over Canal Road and the C&O Canal to be closed and detoured over a temporary bridge. The WashCycle blog reports the following information from the Palisades neighborhood listserve, which quotes the National Park Service:

"The contractor is working during a night time road closure of Canal Road from 9:00 pm to 5:00 am. Traffic is re-routed around this closure. If all progresses well the contract should be complete with all repairs in June. The CCT trail is slated to remain open during most of this process. We required the contractor to install a temporary bridge to serve the commuting public. There will be a closure of the CCT during the concrete deck demo (1-2, 8hr periods) near the beginning of the project and again during the replacement of the new concrete deck, after repairs to the steel superstructure (1-2, 8hr periods) near the end of the project. I am checking to make sure that weekly traffic information is getting out to the public. I will share with you the media outlets our regional office is utilizing. It is our intention for the daily CCT commuter not to be impacted from 5:00 am through 9:00 pm time frame."
The Coalition will post other details as we learn them.

2) Maintenance work along the trail in Montgomery County by the Mont. Co. Parks Department:

Jeff Devlin, Reigional Park Manager, Montgomery County Parks has provided this information:

Trail users are asked to use caution along the Montgomery County portion of the paved trail while trail improvements are made. You’ll see the following signs in the work areas:
"Repairs and improvements to CCT shoulder and storm water management facilities will occur starting approximately March 25, 2013 and last approximately 3 months. For additional information, please contact the project manager at 301-495-2516."

We are told that crews will start near the Bethesda Avenue trail head and work south towards Little Falls Parkway and beyond. Please slow for work crews and use caution in the work areas.



Responses on CCCT's call for input on maintenance needs.
from the CCCT Board, March 13. 2013

We have received a good and varied response from many trail users on what the trail needs. A summary of the responses is available at Trail Issues.

Thank You for your good input. It will help guide us, and will also provide trail user feedback to use as we discuss these maintenance issues with NPS and MoCo Parks.

the CCCT Board



Call for input on CCT maintenance needs.
from the CCCT Board, Feb. 17, 2013

The CCCT intends to approach both the NPS and DDOT about the growing need for substantial repairs and/or repaving of the Trail in DC. We welcome your input regarding what is most needed. What should we be asking for?

The trail section under NPS control is the approx. 3 mile long section from the DC line south to Georgetown. NPS performed repairs several years ago near Fletchers Cove, when bumps in the trail from tree roots were cut out and patched. But those repairs are starting to fail, and trail pavement appears to also be failing elsewhere.

What do you believe is necessary to keep the DC section of the CCT in good condition? Which specific areas need the most attention? Can the problems be addressed with local repairs, or should we press hard for repaving the entire section even if funding will be more difficult to find?

Please send comments and suggestions to contact@cctrail.org

Wayne Phyillaier
for the CCCT Board



Trail clear everywhere.
from SJE, Mon. Feb. 4, 9:50 pm

The trail is clear all the way G'town to Silver Spring.  Small patches of ice near the tunnel near Dalecarlia Reservoir, but nothing serious. 


No ice anywhere!
from SJE, Tues. Jan. 29, 9:30 pm

Trail from Georgetown to Silver Spring: No ice anywhere.  Very soggy Bethesda to Silver Spring.  Lots of people out to enjoy the warm weather. 


A "shout out" to the Secret Service
from David S., Jan. 15

Dear CCCT:

Many of us who commute on the trail continue toward the center of DC via Pennsylvania Avenue, which is my route. I had noticed that it had grown increasingly hazardous to cross the closed area in front of the White House and so I contacted the Secret Service about being consistent with where they park their vehicles and how they handle the many temporary barricades that are shuffled around. To my pleasant surprise, the Secret Service was very responsive and accommodating and have come up with at least 4 suggestions that they hope to implement in the coming weeks, after inauguration, that will smooth the way for cyclists passing through on this important and scenic route. Mainly, they will have consistent areas where they will store temporary barriers when not in use, they will attempt to have fewer vehicles parked near the bollards and park them nose to tail, they will attempt to have more obvious directions for cyclists when the area will be closed or access limited to narrow lanes, and they will try to prevent, to the extent possible, red light running by cars at the corner of Penn. and 17th Street.

So, I'd like to give a shout out to the Secret Service -- if only all parts of our government were as responsive!


Update: This repair has been completed. The ramp is gone.

WSSC repair south of marker 5.5, cyclists please use caution!
From MoCo Parks, Monday Nov. 5



Temporary sewage pump-a-round crosses CCT near mile 5.5


The following email has been forwarded to us - expect the pipe to be across the trail near marker 5.5 for another week or so:

To: Devlin, Jeff
Subject: WSSC Emergency

FYI, This past weekend WSSC discovered a problem with one of their sewer manholes and was forced to set up a temporary sewage pump-a-round that crosses over the surface of the Capital Crescent Trail.  The crossing is located several hundred feet south of mile marker 5.5.  The 4-inch line is covered with a plywood ramp and several traffic drums are in place to alert the public.  The ramp should not be a problem for pedestrians.  However, cyclists should reduce speed and use caution when crossing the plywood ramp.

WSSC is working out the details for the manhole repair and hopes to be finished in a week or so.  Other options for the location of the pump-a-round pipe were considered.  However, given the forecast for another storm coming up the coast on Wednesday.  Placement of the by pass line through the adjacent stream culvert did not seem to be a viable option.

As I receive more information about this emergency pump-a-round,  I’ll pass it on to you.

Joe Markovich
Senior Construction Inspector
Montgomery County Parks


 

Police release composite sketch of assault suspect
Nov. 2, 2012

The Police Major Crmes Division has issued this press release with a composite sketch of the suspect in the October 21 assault on the CCT:
Detectives seek identity of Bethesda sexual assault suspect


Bethesda to Silver Spring has a lot of leaves.
From S.E., Fri. Nov. 2, 11:30 a.m.

MoCo has done a great job of clearing the CCT Bethesda to DC line - even the leaves are gone.

Bethesda to Silver Spring has a lot of leaves, which might be hazardous as they decompose and become slippery. At least the entire trail from G'town to Silver Spring is clear of trees and large debris.


 

Who can we thank for clearing trees?
From Jeff B., Wed. Oct 31, 6:35 pm

I think trail users would be delighted to thank the folks who did the hard work so quickly to get those big trees of the path.  One of them was big trunk and a lot of big branches covering the CCT.  Who can we thank for all that?  Thanks a lot, Jeff

Webmaster's response: These trees were in the D.C. trail section maintained by the C&O Canal National Historic Park. Our contact email for maintenance issues is Mike_Seibert@nps.gov


Trail clear of down trees
From Rob S., Wed. Oct 31, 5:10 pm

I'm happy to report that the trail from Georgetown to Dorset Ave. has been cleared of fallen trees. Wet leaves and assorted twigs still adorn the trail.


CCCT re-issues statement on trail assaults
Oct. 28, 2012

Police patrols have been increased, but trail users still need to use a few simple precautions - see About the recent attacks on the Trail


From the Chevy Chase Patch
Fri., Oct 26

Scuffle leads to stabbing on CCT


Police cruisers on the CCT.
Mon., Oct 22, 4:10pm, from S.E.

Two police cars were spotted on the CCT on the MD side of the Dalecarlia tunnel.  Good to see their presence, but patrolling would be better.


An assault on the CCT.
Sun., Oct 21, 8pm, from Matt

There was just another attack on the CCT, occurred at about 7pm.  The woman escaped the assault and attempted rape. It was on the Montgomery section, but I don't have the exact location.  The suspect fled on a bicycle with a basket on the front.

People, PLEASE use strength in numbers after sunset. All it takes to not be a target is one other person with you.


Yet another assault reported at Bethesda Tunnel.
From the Bethesda Patch, Update Wed. Oct 3

The Bethesda Patch reports a boy was assaulted in the tunnel on Saturday, Sept. 30 at about 8 p.m., and taken to the hospital by his parents. The Mont. Co. Police are stepping up patrols in the tunnel. See the story here.

It is worth repeating this from our CCCT Chair's response to the prior assaults this year:

We urge all users to take reasonable precautions.  It's best that no one use the trail alone after dusk.  There is always safety in numbers.  And at all times of the day or night everyone must remain aware of their surroundings, especially in isolated areas.  Forget the earphones and leave your ears open; take a look behind you now and then; look around, you should never be surprised by the presence of other people on the trail.  Most importantly though, if you must use the trail after dark, please do so with a friend or companion.  Don't give the trouble makers the opportunity they're looking for.


Now that it's getting dark again...
Tuesday, Sept. 18, from Paul S.

If you are on the trail at night without a light or reflective clothing, even if you are wearing brightly colored clothes, you are next to invisible to cyclists and you are putting yourself, and others on the trail, at risk of being run over.

I use a light that is really bright - my friends call it the light of god. But even with that light, I can’t see runners very well at all if they are not wearing reflective clothing or using a light.

And if you are riding a bike with a “light of god” or any other light, please please please be considerate of people coming the other way by aiming your light to the right, or lowering its intensity.

Thanks
Paul


Taming the overgrowth.
From B.K., Aug. 9, 4 p.m.

Kudos to all involved in the cutting back of the overgrowth on the lower end of the trail – between Fletcher’s and the boathouse. It seemed to have been forgotten after the initial cutback farther up the trail, north of the Canal Road bridge.

I was out of town for a few days and was most pleasantly surprised to see that the trail trimming had taken place in the interim. It is great to see the trail at full width again, and so much easier to navigate in the context of the AM and post-5:30 outward bound rush.

Thanks for addressing this – and yes, I like the signs informing all as to who was responsible for making it happen.

overgrowth on CCT
A "before" photo of overgrowth on the trail -
near milepost 9.5

(Webmaster note: The C&O Canal Trust is responsible for this - see before and after photos on their website at C&O Canal Trust)


Thank you to the biker who ran me off the trail.
From D.L., Aug. 3, 11 a.m.

Thank you to the biker in the light blue shirt who ran me off the trail this morning when I was running.  I am thanking him because he stopped to make sure I was OK and to apologize profusely for biking so recklessly.  In all my years running on the CCT, this is the first time I've had a biker acknowledge his mistake and it meant a great deal to me.  Of course, another biker almost clocked us as we were talking and at least five bikers passed me quickly, closely and without warning during my run.  But I have hope.


Increased police presence on Trail.
From M.H., July 30, 10:30 a.m.

For what it's worth, I saw a marked increase in police presence on this morning's commute into town.  Two cars were patroling the lower portion of the trail (past Fletchers), and the Park Police chopper seemed to be making several passes of that area as well.


Please see our
CCCT statement about the recent assaults on the Trail


Runner seriously assaulted near Georgetown.
From M.H., July 25, 11 p.m.

A female runner was assaulted tonight (Wednesday, July 25th, around 9:00 p.m.) near the Georgetown end of the trail.  A man, described as a young, African-American male, with short dreadlocks attacked the woman from behind with a choke hold.  The woman escaped, and ran towards Georgetown for assistance.

The police responded (some 6 cars worth, EMTs, and a helicopter) and searched for the attacker.  The victim was scratched and bruised, and had lost her glasses and cellphone. She was taken to the hospital, though she appeared to not have sustained serious physical injuries. [note: Later reports are that the victim was more seriously harmed than immediately apparent, see the update below.]

If anyone has information pertaining to this attack, please contact the U.S. Park Police, 202-619-7300.

Update: The Washington Post has reported on this at Woman sexually assaulted on Capitol Crescent Trail. The Park Police contact to report any information is Detective Glenn Luppino at 202-610-8750.


Two strong arm robberies at the Bethesda Tunnel.
July 25, 2012

The Chevy Chase Patch reports that there have been two strong arm robberies on the Georgetown Branch Trail, at Two robberies in tunnel near Elm Street Park.

Both robberies happened on a Friday evening at about 8 pm. In both instances the robbers were groups of young men who had been seen loitering in the park at the east end of the tunnel.


The east end of the tunnel. Elm Street Park is on the left.

This is the first violent crime that we are aware of to occur in the tunnel since it opened for trail use in 1998. We believe that the trail, and the park, continue to be reasonably safe. But trail users need to be aware of their surroundings whenever they use the trail. This will be especially true in the area of the Bethesda Tunnel until this recent wave of strong arm robberies passes.

CCCT is seeking to learn more about the circumstances of the assaults and what measures are being taken to make the area more secure.


No Texting?!
From Matt, June 14.

Maybe this sign has been here for a long time, but this is the first I've seen it.



Mudslide and Road Rules (from David, Sept. 8)

In heavy rains this morning there was an oozing flow of mud across the trail at approx. mile marker six. Though there are many of these along the trail, this one flowed completely across the trail and was rather slippery, being over 1 inch deep in places. I'm not sure if NPC or MNCPPC has a policy of periodically shoveling off these mini-mudslides, but this one will be around for a long time.

Also, diving into the trail safety debate, I'd like to commend the previous posters. The Capital Crescent Trail risks becoming a victim of its own success. As the number of users increases annually the requirement to use it responsibly becomes more acute. As a longtime bicycle commuter I can report that the majority of people apply common sense and share the trail safely. Still, in light of the occasional unfortunate accident I thought I'd offer a few rules of the road, which may repeat what others have written, but they show that safety is not a subjective assessment:

For Cyclists:

Always warn to pass. Regardless of whether you warn vocally (“Passing on your left!” works) or use a bell, warn at least three seconds before you will come alongside the person being passed. A warning made while alongside is too late and could startle the other person. Use common hand signals to warn cyclists who may be behind you.

Think a couple of moves ahead. If you gauge that the person you are about to pass is also about to pass a slower rider or pedestrian, don’t pass either one unless you are sure that you have ample room and that both people have heard your warning.

Avoid squeeze plays. The trail is not wide enough in most places to safely accommodate passing where there is also oncoming traffic. We know that cyclists hate to touch their brakes, but better to wait a few seconds for a clear lane than to spend a month healing from a crash.

Go at a reasonable speed for the conditions and avoid forming pace lines of more than a couple of riders.

For Runners and Walkers:

No surprise U-turns. Always look over your shoulder well before changing course or even stopping.

Wear light-colored or reflective clothing at night. Black is fashionable, but it is also invisible in low-light situations. Remember, the trail is unlit and even slow-moving cyclists may not see you until it is too late.

Also remember that when pushing a stroller you are likely to lead with it when you turn. Thus, it is essential to look over your shoulder and turn only when it is safe to do so.

Dogs are generally good about staying to the side of the trail, but when they see another dog, they can dart across, so please be alert for this. Also, leashes are a must, not just for the safety of trail users, but for the dog as well.

For All Trail Users:

Keep to the right except when passing.

When stopping, move off of the trail.

Wearing headphones makes it all but impossible to hear the warnings of others. For safety, go easy on the volume or leave one ear uncovered.

Be as narrow as possible. Walking or riding three or four abreast is not advisable. Also. some uses and equipment are wider than others, such as in-line skating, double-wide strollers and certain bicycle handlebars. Extra width requires extra clearance when passing.

Be predictable and respect others.

For the National Parks Service and Montgomery County (the Trail’s Owners):

Improve the centerline markings on the trail. The painted lines are all but gone. Better markings will help trail users keep to defined lanes. Also, adding lines along the outer edges of the pavement would improve the trail’s safety for nighttime users.

When repaving the trail, widen it. Even an additional foot or two on either side would help make the trail more comfortable for more users, yet without damaging any trailside trees or shrubs. The Coalition for the Capital Crescent Trail has recommended making the trail 16 feet wide between downtown Bethesda and Massachusetts Avenue, which is the most crowed section of the trail.

Grind down root bumps, as is periodically done along the Mt. Vernon Trail.

Remember that the trail is a public right of way and that you have a responsibility to maintain it in safe condition no less than a public road.

David


A commuting cyclist's perspective on safety (Mike, Sept. 2)

As a commuting cyclist and a former runner, I agree with the points made in the previous posts but think that we all need to make a much stronger commitment to etiquette and consideration for others on the trail. This cannot be a cyclists vs runners vs walkers thing. I see behavior contributing to unsafe conditions in every category nearly every day when we fail to think about what we each owe the other person to mutually create a safe trail. What works on your neighbor sidewalk or street is not sufficient in a crowded corridor like the Crescent, especially north of Dalecarlia. For better or worse, in addition to the points already made about keeping speed down, warning and respecting other’s space, here’s my plea to all cyclists, runners and walkers:

1. Ride, run or walk as far to the right as possible. Passing on the right is dangerous but if you are in the middle or left of the trail, a person overtaking doesn’t have much choice.
2. Just because there is a line down the middle of the trail does not mean that you should use all of it. Riding, running or walking abreast when things are crowded simply means that much less room for people overtaking. When the trail is crowded groups of cyclists and pedestrians all using “their half” can make passing with adequate space virtually impossible. Yes, it will be harder to talk with your friends but perhaps they won’t have to come and talk with you (or me) in the hospital!
3. Pay attention! Look before you turn or move left to pass someone. Listening to your music player or talking on your cell phone means that you won’t hear people overtaking even when they warn you. If you make a sudden move I may not be able to avoid you, no matter how slowly I am going.
4. When it is dark, wear light colored clothing or items with reflective material or carry a light. Fewer than half the people on the trail in the morning dark follow this rule. I don’t want to use my brightest lights in the areas where they make it hard for others to see but even when well below the speed limit, it can be very hard to see a darkly clothed person or group early enough and clearly enough to adjust my speed and line and maintain a safe spacing.
5. When you stop, get completely off the trail.
6. Keep control of your dogs and small children. They don’t know about the rules, often move erratically and will get the worst of any collision. No matter how slowly I go, a dog or a small child can move too fast for me to react.

I will do my part but that won’t be enough to keep us both safe unless you do yours too!

Mike


Another appeal, from a runner (Deborah, on Sept. 1)

(I decided to write this before I saw Steven's appeal. Clearly something is going on that is causing some general concern).

I'm a runner and I train on the CCT. Most of the cyclists are considerate, and I want to thank those of you who warn me before you pass. But I have found it harrowing too often during my runs lately, so I'm asking those of you who don't already get it:

1. Always warn us before you pass. I do not run with headphones but I can't always hear you coming.

2. Give me room when you pass. I run on the right, and will move even farther to the right when I hear you coming, but I can't tell you the number of times I have been essentially pushed off the trail by cyclists who cut it awfully close. This isn't fair.

3. NEVER pass on the right. I shouldn't have to say this, but I have actually had cyclists try to pass me on the right. When I hear you coming, that is the direction I will move. I have had some very close calls with cyclists, including one cyclist who was angry with me, because she had this sense of entitlement to go anywhere she chose, at whatever speed she chose.

You are wearing a helmet; I am not. Last year a runner was killed on a paved path in Dallas after colliding with a cyclist. This is a mixed use trail and you do not have a right to run the runners and walkers off of it.

I also ask the "good" cyclists -- the vast majority of you -- who do warn and do follow the correct traffic patterns, to help create and enforce a culture of safety on the CCT. If you see someone who is out of line, it would help a lot if you remind them of the rules of the road.

Thanks and happy trails.

-- Deborah


Watch out for poison ivy on the CCT:

Watch for poison ivy when crossing fallen trees: After two trees fell across the trail on June 22, just north of the 7 mile marker, many cyclists carried their bicycles over the fallen trees. One cyclist who carried her bike over the trees reported that she developed a rash on her arm about two days later. The rash worsened and was diagnosed as poison ivy. The cyclist urges all trail users to watch for poison ivy on the trail, both on the ground and in fallen trees. Click here for more information about poison ivy on the trail.





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Safety is NO ACCIDENT - Courtesy is Contagious