About 300 feet of the Trail near Bethesda Ave is closed for construction of the Ourisman Plaza described here. This extends from near Bethesda Avenue down to the Bethesda rest plaza, located behind Ourisman Honda's garage. A detour for bicyclists leads behind the Flats Apartment building just east of the trail, where there is an existing wide curving path to Woodmont Avenue. There is a separate narrower path for pedestrians to walk straight ahead next to the Flats Apartment building to reach Bethesda Avenue. This detour is predicted to last until late August to early September 2019. The overall construction is predicted to end in late October 2019.
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 also 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.
The project started with constructing screening that will will cover the full height of the Ourisman garage, on the trail side and the back. This screening is substantial and designed to be aesthetically pleasing - see the early design image at the bottom of this page.
Status as of August 8: The "skeleton" to mount screening on the garage continues moving along gradually - see photo below. Adding triangular extensions is about 2/3 done, to produce the shape shown in the early design image below. Ourisman's new vehicle entrance on Bethesda Avenue is now in use, and re-configuring their front parking is mostly done. The first phase of plaza construction has begun with pouring the plaza's concrete border - see photo below.
Status as of July 16: The "skeleton" to mount screening on the garage is moving along. A vertical support frame is up, and adding triangular extensions has begin, to produce the shape shown in the early design image below. This has gone slower than first hoped, due to the tight workspace and complexity of the screening design. Construction of Ourisman's new vehicle entrance on Bethesda Avenue is complete, so re-configuring their front parking should start soon, which will allow switching traffic to the new entrance, and then plaza construction can begin.
Ourisman generously 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 towards the upper right in this diagram.
The Plaza's concrete border is poured and existing pavement is being removed. Taken August 13.
Ourisman's new vehicle entrance now open, with the plaza location in the background. Taken on August 8.
Garage screening skeleton progress as of August 8. About 2/3 of the triangular extensions have been added.
An early design image of the screening to go on the Ourisman garage.