Arlington County is working on some modest improvements to the Arlington Boulevard Trail in Lyon Park, renewing hopes among cycling advocates that the trail will someday provide a fully contiguous alternative to Route 50.
The county is currently planning a series of changes on the trail as it runs near Arlington Boulevard’s intersection with N. Pershing Drive, near the Day’s Inn hotel in the area. Arlington’s Department of Environmental Services says it hopes to complete the following alterations sometime this fall:
- Construction of a new, ADA-accessible curb ramp at the corner of N. Pershing Drive and Wainwright Road (the frontage street between Arlington Blvd and the Days Inn hotel)
- Addition of on-street markings along the eastern portion of Wainwright Road to separate trail users from motorized traffic.
- Removal of parking on the eastern portion of Wainwright Road.
- Connection of the Wainwright Road on-street trail to the existing Arlington Boulevard Trail as it approaches 2nd St N.
The county envisions the new curb ramp connecting the trail to the new on-street trail along Wainwright Road, which will then connect to the rest of Arlington Boulevard trail running past the Washington and Lee Apartments.
“Arlington County expects that the markings/bollards used to delineate the trail along Wainwright Road will be short-term,” the county wrote in a NextDoor post. “Given the availability of funding, Arlington County plans to build out a curb separated trail adjacent to Wainwright Road to further increase the safety of this portion of the trail.”
The cycling advocacy blog WashCycle noted that these changes come a few months after Washington Gas replaced a pipeline in the area, leading to the repaving of the trail and the removal of some bollards nearby.
The blog hailed these latest proposed changes, noting that the trail is currently “discontinuous and below standard” and referred back to the Washington Area Bicyclist Association’s proposal to someday add three miles worth of trail along Arlington Boulevard as evidence of the trail’s potential for growth.
“The boulevard trails, like the ABT, MacArthur Boulevard Trail and the planned or under-construction South Capital and Washington Boulevard Trails, don’t get quite the coverage that the rail or stream trails get; but they’re [arguably] more important for transportation as they go right through the areas where people live and work,” WashCycle wrote. “The ABT has a long history and, as WABA points out, plenty of potential. It can, or already does, connect to eight trails including Rock Creek, Mt Vernon, W&OD and Cross County. As proposed by WABA, it could be a real backbone for Arlington County biking. It would be great to see this once again become a must-see trail.”