Kira Lueders, president, called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m. Members and guests introduced themselves.
The section of the hiking/biking trail in Rock Creek Park under study extends 7 miles from the DC line to the train overpass on Knowles Ave. It parallels the Rock Creek and Beach Drive. The focus of Mr. Bonney’s presentation was the route between Connecticut Ave. and Franklin St.
Mr. Bonney said that the Park Development Division has been working on improvements to this path in the Kensington/Parkwood area for some time. The trail lies within the 100 year floodplain and is wet or underwater for periods of time. Discussion and planning for the trail renewal project began in 2012. In November 2013, Mr. Bonney’s division presented plans to the broader community. In the summer of 2014, they developed trail renovation plans. They are now in the regulatory coordination phase. In winter they should finalize the facility plan, and in spring 2015 submit the finalized plan for the length of trail between Connecticut and Franklin for approval. (Mr. Bonney explained that a facility plan is a document providing up to 30% level of design detail, cost estimates, and determination of regulatory feasibility.)
The plan will need to address the following: ADA accessibility, drainage, pavement conditions, shoulder conditions, protective barriers over bridges, lighting, and environmental conditions. Where the trail is relocated, the surrounding area will be enhanced with re-vegetation, making the stream buffer more robust.
The plan is to relocate the trail, moving it further from the creek, but not too close to Beach Drive. The Park Development Division is working with the park arborist to preserve the woodland experience and will not remove any more trees than necessary. They are also coordinating with runners’ groups and will preserve slopes that are not too steep for persons with disabilities. In many areas they will be overlaying the existing trail with asphalt, 8 ft. across. In some areas, for example near Wildwood Rd. where the trail sits under water for 2 to 3 weeks after a heavy rain, concrete "boardwalks" are being proposed. These are less slippery than wooden boardwalks.
New green metal mile-markers will be installed at half-mile positions.
In addition to the chronically wet areas near Wildwood and Franklin, another area of concern is the Connecticut Ave. Beach Drive underpass. When the underpass becomes flooded, it is difficult to safely cross Connecticut Avenue. They want to preserve the trail along Beach Drive as well as the underpass. The trail along Beach Dr. will have a vehicular guardrail. Lighting will also be improved in the underpass. A more substantial traffic island on Connecticut Ave. will help to improve pedestrian safety. Safe crossing for the Cedar Lane play area is also needed.
Although the final design and construction are slated for FY 2017 – 2022, Mr. Bonney stated that if the plan is approved by the planning board in the spring, some minor improvements could be made in the summer of 2015.
Mr. Bonney offered to provide a copy of his PowerPoint presentation for posting on the PRA website.
Questions and Discussion
PRA members requested consideration of a path through the park to the Grosvenor Metro station. Mr. Bonney responded that this request has been previously proposed but a new trail through a floodplain is unlikely to be approved. It would also require a bridge over Rock Creek which would be expensive.
A member also requested additional signage in the park with telephone number for the Park Police since county police are may not respond to some unlawful acts in the park.
In response to a question about the work being done along Beach Drive, north of Knowles/Strathmore, Mr. Bonney said that this work is a project of WSSC.
Discussion of the Proposed RFP for Gardening/Beautification Work
Gail Dalferes said that a draft RFP has been drawn up but not yet finalized. The RFP will include weeding, planting, mulching, and full maintenance. Several questions remain such as how the work of the company or individual who secures the bid will be managed. Gail will provide an RFP soon for posting on the web site.
Bailey Condrey will ask the Park Service to move the trash can in the park at the end of Saul Rd. deeper into the park (at the request of a resident who is bothered by the odor). He will also request a trash can in the park at Wildwood Rd.
Judith Dighe, Secretary
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