In mid-March 2019, Ourisman Honda began work on a triangular public plaza next to the Capital Crescent Trail where it meets Bethesda Avenue. The land will come from the Ourisman property, and will be freed up by moving their vehicle entrance farther west along Bethesda Avenue. The plaza will thus adjoin the trail, and the trail will simultaneously be widened to 16 feet from the Bethesda rest plaza (located behind Ourisman's garage) up to Bethesda Avenue. This widening will be achieved by taking land both from Ourisman on the west side, and on the east side where the existing benches and tables will be set farther back.
In March and April, they have been working on preparations to erect a screen on the garage, so that trail users will no longer see into it. This screen will be the full height of the garage, so it is substantial and intended to be aesthetically pleasing. They have also put down the asphalt paving needed for the detour. We are told that once this screen is up, the detour will become active and construction will move up in front of Ourisman, with constructing their new vehicle entrance and then constructing the new plaza.
About 400 feet of the Trail will be closed during construction, probably starting in June, from Bethesda Avenue to the Bethesda rest plaza (located behind Ourisman's garage). A detour for cyclists will lead behind the Flats Apartment building just east of the trail, where there is an existing wide curving path to Woodmont Avenue. Modifications will also be made to create a path allowing pedestrians to walk straight ahead next to the Flats Apartment building to reach Bethesda Avenue. We expect that the detour will last about six months from the beginning of construction, probably until September or October 2019.
Ourisman agreed to build the Plaza as part of the settlement of its encroachment upon the Trail right-of-way, rather than engage in potentially protracted litigation. CCCT has provided input about the configuration of the Plaza and the overall plan for the area south of Bethesda Avenue, aiming to reduce congestion on the Trail at this very busy location. There will be additional room for pedestrians, added seating, and more space for cyclists. CCCT will provide updates as this project progresses
Below is a planning diagram of the plaza area. The plaza is the triangular area near the center of the dashed rectangle, with the trail shown immediately below it with light diagonal lines. The sidewalk and then Bethesda Avenue are to the upper right, and the reconfigured Ourisman Honda driveway and parking are to the upper left. The plaza will have seating, plantings, and some signs. Note that Bethesda Avenue runs East-West, so North is to the upper right in this diagram.