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 the end of July 2019. The overall construction is predicted to last until late September or 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 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.
Status as of June 11: Much of the framing to mount screening on the garage is up - looks like all of it on the trail side and partly on the back. This screening will cover the full height of the garage, so it is substantial and intended to be aesthetically pleasing - see the design image below. Construction of Ourisman's new vehicle entrance on Bethesda Avenue appears complete, so re-configuring their front parking should start soon, which will allow switching to the new entrance, and then plaza construction can begin.
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.
Photo of southern end of detour, with the Flats Apartment building in left background.
Photo of northern end of detour, about 100 ft south Bethesda Ave.
An early design image of the screening to go on the Ourisman garage.