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The Central Avenue Connector Trail Project
The Central Avenue Corridor is in many ways the heart of Prince George’s County. It is a vital regional arterial, providing a critical link for travel between the east side of Washington, D.C., into Prince George’s County where it connects to FedEx Field, I-95/I-495 (the Capital Beltway), and ultimately to Anne Arundel County. Sidewalks exist along much of MD 214 (Central Avenue) but they are narrow with minimal separation from traffic lanes and little or no landscaping. Opportunities to safely cross MD 214 on foot are few. Neighbors feel that ingress and egress from their neighborhood onto MD 214 at unsignalized intersecting streets are unsafe for pedestrians and motorists alike.
The Central Avenue Connector Trail (CACT) was one of the priority projects that was identified by the community through work for the Central Avenue-Metro Blue Line Corridor TOD Implementation Project Mobility Study. Community meetings and workshops, which included residents, community groups, property owners, businesses, and other stakeholders, were held through the Approved Subregion 4 Master Plan and Sectional Map Amendment process as well as during the Central Avenue-Metro Blue Line Corridor Sustainable Communities application.
The Central Avenue Connector Trail will start just west of the Capitol Heights Metro Station, running through a combination of Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority rights-of-way, neighborhood streets, and existing and planned trail segments before ending at the Largo Town Center Metro Station, with connections to the Addison Road-Seat Pleasant and Morgan Boulevard Metro Stations along the route. The Central Avenue Connector Trail will encourage pedestrian and bicycle commuting, and promote improved public health through development of a built environment that provides recreational opportunities and encourages people to adopt healthier, more active lifestyles. The trail will also be an important community amenity that will help to spur economic development and revitalize surrounding communities by providing infrastructure to support transit-oriented development and attract private investment.
In 2015, the Prince George’s County Planning Department worked with Toole Design Group and a broad range of community, County, and state stakeholders to complete the Central Avenue Connector Trail: Feasibility Study and Implementation Plan. The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments funded the study through their Transportation/Land Use Connections Program. The CACT Feasibility Study and Implementation Plan outlines a proposed trail alignment, provides a description of existing conditions, and illustrates an overall vision for the project. Additionally, the study explores various approaches to implementation, including community engagement, phasing, cost-estimates for preliminary engineering, and potential funding opportunities.
Since completion of the CACT Feasibility Study and Implementation, the Prince George’s County Planning Department has been successful in procuring two grants, totaling $442,000, to complete preliminary engineering (30 percent design) for the proposed project. Currently, a consultant team has been selected for Phase I (Addison Road) and draft 30 percent design plans have been completed. A Request for Proposals for Phase II was released in January 2016 and the selection of a consultant team will be finalized by June 30, 2016. A Transportation Alternative Program Application was submitted in May 2016 for the 30 percent design of a pedestrian bridge to cross over I-495/Capital Beltway (Phase III). In addition to preliminary engineering, the Prince George’s County Planning Department will work with key stakeholders and project consultants to develop an Operations and Maintenance Strategy and cost estimates for the trail construction and operation. This information, in conjunction with stakeholder buy-in, will enable trail concepts to move toward implementation.
This project has received regional attention, including coverage in the Washington Post.