Thursday, April 16, 2009

Preview of Four Mile Run Trail extension

About his city's bold and extensive development of bike and pedestrian trails, former mayor of Bogota (and DC born) Enrique Penalosa had this to say:

"High quality public spaces bring people out. Safety increases; people enjoy their city and acquire a sense of belonging. More than sidewalks or bicycle paths, we built symbols of equality and respect for human dignity."
New trail construction is about to be completed in Arlandria that will serve to link the South Glebe / West Glebe intersection to Shirlington Road....and thereby connect the Four Mile Run Trail to the WO&D trail. It may not be quite as far reaching as in Bogota, but it's an important & necessary linkage that significantly moves such a network forward. The Four Mile Run Plan envisions many more small, but crucial improvements over the next few decades. This modest extension is very much the first of these.

This is how the Four Mile Run Trail terminated prior to this new project:

View Larger Map

Here's a Google map view of the change that the new construction will bring compared to the old, car-oriented route:

View Four Mile Run Trail Extension in a larger map

I recently toured the about-to-be-opened trail. Here are some pics from my walk heading back toward Arlandria from Shirlington:

What's glaringly missing from these pictures is the human activity that the trail is meant for. While this is a start, it's clear there's much more to be done and the Four Mile Run plan is the road map to get us there.

Penalosa's vision is not just platitudes. When Bogota invested in some simple human-scaled infrastructure, the results were extraordinarily successful. It can happen here too.

Take a look at this brief film and imagine the possibilities.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When this trail opens I will definitely be a more frequent user. It is a nice addition and will get lots of usage.

Are there plans for division into cycling and pedestrian lanes? The Bogata example looks nice, but unfortunately I envision that the 4-Mile Run trail will be clogged with strollers, joggers, and pedestrians walking 3-abreast. They have a right to of course, but it is an issue, and one of the reasons why I generally don't use certain off-road trails in the region. Designated on-street lanes are quicker and more efficient.