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Friends of the Greenbelt East Trail
Connecting the WB&A Trail with the Anacostia River Trail System

Project funded in part by Anacostia Trails Heritage Area and Maryland Heritage Areas Authority.

Now: Greenbelt Road is a Highway


Future: A Protected Side Trail

Now: Dangerous Bus Stops

Future: Protected Bus Stops


Now: Narrow Sidewalk by Schools

Future: Wide, Safer Sidewalks

Now: There's No Safe Bike, Walk or Bus Stop Access at NASA

The Greenbelt East Trail would allow safe non-car access at NASA's new main gate. 

Future: Ultimately those High-Speed Ramps Should Be Squared Off for Safety

Friends of the Greenbelt East Trail, Inc. is a registered non-profit charitable (501c3) organization.  Donations will be used to provide matching funds for our initial $5,000 grant award from the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area (ATHA) for initial concept planning and design drawings made by the Neighborhood Design Center, and to further educate Marylanders on the need for the trail and reach out to stakeholders during the trail's design and build phase. Donations are fully tax deductible with the IRS.

 

Friends of the GET Presentation

Greenbelt Community Development Corporation's Annual Meeting, November 19, 2023.

This 30-minute video gives an overview of the Greenbelt East Trail proposal's status.

We'll have updates in late December 2023 and in early 2024 as the results of MDOT's GET feasibility studies are rolled out. Sign up for our updates to, well, be updated!

Step 1: Let's Expedite Sector 2 (NASA Frontage)

Work at NASA? Go to school at Eleanor Roosevelt HS or DuVal HS? 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 existing 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 three raised "floating" 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  Fall 2022 trail 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.

Ultimately, the Greenbelt East Trail should run from ERHS past NASA further on to connect with WB&A trail at the Glenn Dale Splash Park. The Greenbelt East trail would thus bridge the gap between the Anacostia River Trail System and the WB&A trail, which will soon connect Prince George’s County with Anne Arundel County via new bridge across the Patuxent River.

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/routes/41608150

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
Project Update #12 (July 5th 2023) Greenbelt East Trail Update: Quick Build for Sector 2 (the NASA Section)
Project Update #13 (July 24th 2023) Greenbelt East Trail Update: Another Grant Won! Call for Volunteers and Donations
Project Update #14 (August 15th 2023) What's Wrong with the Picture? Greenbelt East Trail Update
Project Update #15 (August 28th 2023) MDOT Feasibility Study Launched, Year 1 Report 
Project Update #16 (October 13th 2023) Making Sprawl Highways Safer for People
Project Update #17 (November 16th 2023( Sunday Tabling and Trail Talk in Greenbelt
Project Update #18 (December 6th 2023) Presentations; Hyattsville Trolley Trail Extension
Project Update #19 (Jan 18, 2024) Feasibility Studies Delayed; Child Killed on Greenbelt Road
Project Update #20 (Feb 11, 2024) Stakeholders call with MDOT SHA 12pm Friday Feb 16th; Bike MD Symposium Feb 15