Friends of the Greenbelt East Trail
Connecting the WB&A Trail with the Anacostia River Trail System
Here's What We Have
Here's What We Want
Step 1: Let's Expedite Sector 2 (NASA Frontage)
Work at NASA? Go to school at Eleanor Roosevelt or DuVal? Work on the Greenbelt East Trail should begin with Sector 2, from the Greenbelt city limit to Good Luck Road. This 1.5 mile section would be on the north side of Route 193 immediately in front of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, which currently has no sidewalks or bike access. There are only two intersections, at both NASA entrances, and no other driveway access points. Sector 2 has three existing bus stops (some of the most inaccessible in the nation, actually). This trail sector would have immediate safety implications for NASA staff, Eleanor Roosevelt and DuVal HS students and staff, and would help connect business and residential areas in Greenbelt with the new housing and businesses east of Good Luck Rd.
Cost Estimate for Sector 2
The trail in this Sector would run entirely on existing pavement, re-purposing existing shoulder space and acceleration/deceleration lanes. Friends of the Greenbelt East Trail estimates that construction costs of a protected two-way shared use trail in this section would be less than $300,000, with most of the cost associated with the installation of about 500 flexposts and curbstops, and some centerline, crosswalk, and yield paint on the roadway. Adding raised trail crossings at the three bus stops and squaring off right turn “slip lanes” (or at least adding speed humps or tables at the trail crossings) would probably add another $80,000 or so to the construction cost. Including costs for design and permitting, and contingency, we estimate that the full cost would be in the $400,000-$500,000 range, depending on the intersection and bus stop treatments. We believe there would be no stormwater impact, assuming the curbstops were positioned approximately 8’ apart.
Video from our Trail Walk on Sector 1 (Greenbelt) and Sector 2 (NASA) with SHA Officials
Our walk was led by Delegate Nicole Williams, Greenbelt Mayor Emmet Jordan and Mayor Pro-Tem Kristen Weaver, and MDOT/State Highway officials from District 3 and the Regional Planning office. We were joined by reps from PGParks, NASA, the East Coast Greenway, the Capitol Trails Coalition, the Glenn Dale Citizens Association, and WABA/Prince George's County. Thanks everyone!
Here is How the Greenbelt East Trail Would Fit into the East Coast Greenway
Here's How the Trail Would Connect the WB&A with the ARTS via Greenbelt
The Proposed Greenbelt East Trail -- Connecting Greenbelt's Eleanor Roosevelt High School to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and on to the WB&A Trail
When the Patuxent River Bridge on the Washington Baltimore & Annapolis (WB&A) trail is finished in 2023, the WB&A trail will connect Prince George's County to the larger Maryland Trail Network with a safe route toward Baltimore and Annapolis.
The proposed Greenbelt East Trail would create a link between the WB&A and the Anacostia River Trail System via Greenbelt. The ARTS, in turn, connects to Washington DC, with onward trail links to Montgomery County MD and Northern Virginia.
Project Summary: The proposed shared use trail would connect central Greenbelt to more employment, shopping, and housing areas in Greenbelt East and beyond. It would create a safe bike/walk route for Students and Commuters heading to Eleanor Roosevelt High School and NASA.
When the Patuxent River trail bridge is completed in 2023, the WB&A trail will connect with other Maryland trails heading toward BWI, Baltimore, and Annapolis. The Greenbelt East trail would be a key component of the East Coast Greenway, which runs from Florida to Maine. Here is a map of the proposed trail section along Route 193, and the fully safe connection through Greenbelt to the ARTS
Could the Greenbelt East trail be built? In my non-engineer opinion, this trail would be totally doable. For about one block east of ERHS, there’s a narrow spot under some power lines, but there’s plenty of room for an 8-foot sidewalk/trail. Further east toward NASA there’s abundant room on the acceleration/deceleration lanes and on the shoulders for 10-foot or even 12-foot trail. There would be even more room if the traffic lanes on Route 193 were narrowed by a foot – narrower lanes would also help calm traffic.
To be safe, we’d need hard curbing to separate the trail from traffic, given the high traffic speeds on Greenbelt Road. The existing “pork chops” curb structures and “slip lane” high-speed right turn ramps at several intersections should be squared off. That would slow down traffic making right turns to go westbound on Greenbelt Road from Mandan Road, the NASA main gate, and from ICESat road.
Talking Points: My main pitch points to SHA are 1.) SHA has done temporary bike/ped trails on 193 in Montgomery County, so it can be done (although we'd need hard truck curbstops as dividers, not just flexposts on this one!) 2.) The Greenbelt East trail wouldn't reduce the number of through car lanes, so pushback should be minimal from drivers. 3.) It's a huge potential connection between Maryland's soon-to-be expanded WB&A+ trail system and DC/Prince George's Anacostia River Trail System (ARTS), so this is a big regional transportation project, not just a local safety project, and 4.) the only big engineering seems like squaring off pork chop and slip lane structures -- trail advocates are fine with a narrow pathway around the utility poles near ERHS -- don't make the perfect the enemy of the good!
Typical View of the Right of Way Along MD Route 193
Right of Way Includes Wide Shoulders, Acceleration and Deceleration Lanes
Pork Chop and Slip Lane Structures Would Have to Be Squared Off at Intersections
Narrow Area Just East of ERHS Where the Trail Runs Near Lightpoles and an Embankment
Resources and More Explanations:
Proposed trail route from WB&A to ARTS: https://ridewithgps.com/
Greenbelt News Review "An ERHS to Goddard Bike Trail?" (PDF, Page 13)
Greenbelt Online " A Bike Trail from Eleanor Roosevelt HS to NASA?"
City of Greenbelt letter requesting shared use path on Route 193 https://legistarweb-production.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/attachment/pdf/1555391/City_of_Greenbelt_Letter_to_MPOT_PM_re_Greenbelt_Road_facility_DRAFT.pdf
Project Update #1 (Sept 2, 2022)
Project Update #2 (Sept 11, 2022)
Project Update #3 (October 31, 2022)
Project Update #4 (Nov 6, 2022)
Project Update #5 (Nov 9, 2022): https://conta.cc/3TonQUX
Project Update #6 (Nov 11, 2022): https://conta.cc/3Gawaof
Project Update #7 (Dec 14, 2022): https://conta.cc/3uQ5Usn
Project Update #8 (March 6, 2023) Greenbelt East Trail: Update on NPS Grant Possibility, SHA Needs Letters from Greenbelt and/or Prince George's Co. https://conta.cc/3yi2oIW
Project Update #9 (April 25, 2023) Friends of the Greenbelt East Trail; Letter to SHA from Prince George's Council.
Project Update #10 (April 30, 2023) The Greenbelt East Trail wins a National Park Service Grant!
Project Update #11 (May 20, 2023) MDOT Greenlights Feasibility Study for The Greenbelt East Trail