Please note: The trail detour near Bethesda Avenue has remained longer than originally projected and will continue for a while longer. CCCT has expressed concern about this delay and has been told that it is due to the unexpected complexity of the construction to add a decorative wrap to the Ourisman garage. Once the wrap is in place, the trail will reopen. Meanwhile, progress is evident in the completed widening of the trail to 16 feet and also the brick surface being laid for the landscaped plaza.
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 south to the Wiener Plaza, where the water fountain is located behind Ourisman Honda's garage. A detour for bicyclists leads behind the "Flats at Bethesda Avenue" 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 was predicted to last until late August to early September 2019, but now will be around the end of October. The overall construction was predicted to end in late October 2019, and will now likely end in mid to late November.
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 includes constructing a wrap that will will cover the full height of the Ourisman garage, on the front, trail side, and back. This wrap is mostly opaque and designed to be aesthetically pleasing - see the early design image at the bottom of this page.
Status as of October 6: Ourisman says that progress on the garage should resume soon: "Fabric wrap installation should begin mid October and take approximately two weeks to complete." Installation of an HDPE fence to block the view into the garage should begin the week of October 7, starting at the plaza and working south. The brick plaza surface was laid in mid-September, with gaps left for the plantings. The landscaping is scheduled to happen from late October into November. The southern detour point was temporarily moved north to connect directly to the path in back of the Flats apartment building, so the asphalt surface of the detour bypass could be replaced with a permanent surface of pavers. The detour point will move back south before garage wrap installation begin.
Status as of September 10: The steel framework to mount the wrap on the garage is completed, but putting up the "tensioned, perforated polyester fabric" wrap has not started. Ourisman's old vehicle entrance ramp has been removed and the sidewalk relaid, and re-configuring their front parking is done. The concrete base to support the brick plaza surface has just been poured, with holes left for the planters. A large white on blue HONDA sign is installed next to the sidewalk and plaza, where the "MONUMENT SIGN" is shown in the planning diagram below. It is very visible, roughly 10 ft high by 5 ft wide, and lights up brightly after dark.
Status as of August 8: The steel framework to mount the wrap 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 steel framework to mount the wrap 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 wrap framework 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 sidewalk and Plaza brick is laid, with gaps left for plantings. This photo was taken on October 6, standing in Bethesda Avenue, looking across the Plaza towards the trail.
The south end of the detour is temporarily moved a bit north, so the bypass path could be resurfaced with pavers as seen here. Taken on October 6.
Garage wrap framework as of October 6. This will be covered with a decorative fabric wrap. An HDPE fence will be installed to block the view into the garage.
An early design image of the decorative fabric wrap on the Ourisman garage. An HDPE fence will be along the trail, not the plantings shown here.