Benefits of Living Along RIA NE

by Greg Roberts

Yesterday, members of the DC Bicycle Advisory Group met up with local neighbors to ride along RIA from Logan Circle to Eastern Avenue to record the conditions for bicyclists along the Avenue. More to come on this from Kyle Todd, FoRIA member and part of the group that surveyed the Avenue, but as he stated, “the goal of the ride was to look at ways to improve the cycling infrastructure along RIA to make it safer for cyclists, pedestrians, AND cars”.  In addition, last month, Chairman Kwame Brown announced that he was directing Capital Bike Share to install a Bike Share station at the Woodridge Library. We also have the option to use the Metropolitan Branch Trail that cuts right behind the Brentwood Shopping Center and RIA Metro station. All of this is great news for those that like to hit the road or trails on two wheels or run or take a nice walk.

But there is also some nearby hidden gems right up the street (albeit, on the other side of the border with MD) that makes for a beautiful bike ride, walk, or jog during the day. This morning, my partner and I biked the NE Branch Trail (seen to the right) and we love the quiet of the morning ride and the scenery, especially around Lake Artemesia (which is next to the University of Maryland). This trail runs next to the brooks and through the woods, up next to a baseball fields, and the trail also boasts some workout equipment if you are feeling extra spunky on a Sunday morning (I decided I would pass on the equipment so early). The path also gives you opportunities to rest along it at places like the Denis Wolf Rest Stop. Now, the trail we took this morning isn’t the only one and the good thing about all of these trails is that they are interconnected for the most part so you can get around pretty easily. More information about this and the other trails is available at Bike Washington.

Another thing that you can do just north of us if you like to skate board or have children that do, is visit the newly constructed skate board park located at Melrose Park along Rhode Island Avenue.

So, get out there and enjoy the fact that we live so close to so many things like the Anacostia Tributary Trails.

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10 thoughts on “Benefits of Living Along RIA NE

  1. Why were we not informed about the DC Bike Advisory Facilities meeting on RIA at Rita’s? This is the first time I’ve heard about it! DCBAC even posted it on their blog (dcbac.blogspot.com), but didn’t inform the community. Neither did Foria, nor RIAInsider. Did anyone from DCBAC notice the post on the sidewalk in front of Rita’s that inhibits podestrians and biker’s from fully using the sidewalk? I do hope DCBAC will address this concern. And, there are many others. Now, is the time for DCBAC and Foria to involve the entire community in specific concerns we have. Many have been posted on the Brookland Listserv. I do hope your report will address these concerns which apply as much to RIA as it does to 12th Street. It’s also important to have a walk through of the RIA corridor (which hopefully can involve the rest of us), not just a bikethrough. I do hope the RIA DCBAC bikethrough on Saturday included the sidewalks of RIA which in many areas are not navigable by bike nor shareable with pedestrians.

    RIAInsider, thanks for putting some perspective on keeping RIA clean and how it impacts the waterways in our areas. Let’s not forget that we can access these waterways by boat, too. I’ve noticed that a number of residents in the communities along RIA own boats. The Arboretum has a boat ramp. The revitalized Bladensburg Waterfront Park is located on the Anacostia River, one of the most historic waterways in America. The park features a public boat ramp, fishing pier, picnic pavilion, playground, a B & O Railroad caboose, community boathouse (storage facility) and signage interpreting the rich history of the area. Canoe, kayak, and rowboat rentals are available on weekends from late May to the end of October. Free pontoon boat tours allow visitors to explore this surprisingly scenic river with the guidance of a naturalist. Canoeing and kayaking lessons are offered, as well as many other interesting nature and history programs. Special events include the annual Port Towns Day, Paddlesport Regatta, and river clean-ups. The hiker/biker bridge links this park directly to the Anacostia Tributary Trail System. (http://www.pgparks.com/Things_To_Do/Nature/Bladensburg_Waterfront_Park.htm)

    1. I was wondering if there is an Advisory Council for pedestrians. There is! It’s called the DC Pedestrian Advisory Council. The Ward 5 position is vacant according to http://www.walkdcwalk.org/p/about.html. But, ANC 5A at their COMMISSIONER OF THE WHOLE MEETING on April 9th had Anita Hairston , Ward 5 Rep of the DC Pedestrian Advisory Council present. But the DCPAC web page shows Anita Hairston as the Treasurer. Does any one know any thing more about this? It would be helpful in Foria could bring in this Ward 5 DCPAC representive on these issues so we can have some melding between bikers and pedestrians concerns on RIA and 12th Street. Also, it would be helpful if DCBAC and DCPAC could participate in community listservs and come around to community meetings. It would be best to have both groups coordinate to come together.

    2. Woodie –

      FoRIA sent out an email to all of its members on April 5 – please check your spam filter to make sure it didn’t get snagged, since I know you must be an active member of FoRIA. If you aren’t already, make sure you join up. It’s free! (http://www.friendsofria.org) I also mentioned it at the cleanup that was taking place on the same morning – were you there? You’ve really got to introduce yourself next time so I can put a face with your name!

      I didn’t put it on the Brookland or Ward 5 lists because, quite frankly, I forgot. Like I mentioned before, we are all volunteers with full time jobs, and sometimes things just slip through the cracks. We could sure use a volunteer to help with getting those communications out, if you are interested in helping.

      I can’t speak to what DCBAC does or does not do for their communication efforts, but I know it was on their website, they tweeted it often, etc. As soon as they post the minutes of the meeting, I’ll make sure and circulate them via FoRIA email, and to the Brookland and Ward 5 lists. I can tell you that they took MANY pictures, took copious notes, and I think we can look forward to some very positive safety improvements for ALL users of RIA/Rt 1.

      Best regards,
      Kyle

      1. Kyle,

        I had to do my taxes all weekend, so I couldn’t come. I checked the Foria website before I posted my inquiry and didn’t find any information about DCPAC. Maybe, I just didn’t look in the right place on the Foria website.

        It’s important for Foria, DCPAC, and the Rhode Island Avenue Task Force to post to the listservs and not just depend upon Twitter and email lists, since it gets out to more people in the effected communities and not just the world at large or specific lists. At the corner of 12th & Newton, there is a nice bulletin board for posting messages. Maybe something like that can be placed on RIA. I’m hoping RIA Row might be willing to sponsor a RIA Row community bulletin board. RIA Row is sponsoring a meeting at the RIA Row Community Center on April 30th. I’m excited about the tour they will be giving of RIA Row.

      2. Woodie –

        You are absolutely correct that we (FoRIA) need to up our game with regards to communication. We will do better in the future, and would appreciate any and all suggestions such as yours, as well as some help getting the communication tasks completed. Volunteers *always* needed for that.

        Best regards,
        Kyle

  2. Thanks for alerting folks to these underutilized smooth and well-signed trails!
    This weekend I also enjoyed the Lake Artemesia route you describe, along with continuing slightly further to hike in Greenbelt Park and ride around Greenbelt Lake.
    Hopefully trails connect all the way to those two scenic destinations someday. (Currently, they require a half mile of riding on the shoulder of Greenbelt road).

    Great to have these pretty streams, parks, and trails right in our RIA backyard!

  3. I have the good fortune to take the NE Branch Trail/Lake Artemesia Loop on my way to work each day. I’ve had so many beautiful early morning rides, with the scenery changing with the seasons. Deer, eagles, hawks, herons, rabbits, groundhogs, and migratory birds… all seen along the trail. Right now the honeysuckle is starting to blossom, and soon Lake Artemesia will be full of blooming water lilies. Hope everyone gets a chance to enjoy this trail.

  4. Hi All:

    I’m a fairly new transplant to RI Ave, and a 4 season bike commuter, so I am really glad to hear about the DCBAC group and its attention/efforts on behalf of cyclists in our area.

    This is a little off topic, but generally related to quality of life on RI Ave: Has anyone heard any details about the building at 1515 RI Ave (directly across from Flip It)? I was told on Saturday that the building (which is under construction) will be increased by six stories and will become a residential facility for homeless veterans. Does anyone have any info. on this project?

  5. I saw authors of this post out on their ride that morning as I was returning home from my ride. I am glad you are publicizing this trail. I would like to add for folks who want to bike more miles, from Lake Artemsia you are only a couple of miles from some fine country biking across the USDA Beltsville Ag Research farms.

    Take the Indian Creek trail to where it ends at Greenbelt RD 193, jog right onto University (use sidewalk) for 1/10 mile, then left onto Cherrywood lane, which has a marked on-road bike lane after the first .25 mile! Cherrywood passes the entrance to the Greenbelt Metro station, crosses the beltway and ends at Edmonston Rd/Kennilworth Avenue. This intersection is where the USDA research farms begin. Make a left onto Edmonston Rd. The shoulder is wide enough for a bus most of the way. This road crosses the NE Branch of the Anacostia where its just a little creek in the woods. Go right onto Beaver Dam Road (bumpy, quiet) or Powermill Rd (smooth shoulder, more cars) and bike through fields of oats, pasture, dairy cows, and birds. Wide open space. Here the route crosses the divide between the Anacostia and Patuxent river drainages. Its very cool. The terrain is rolling and gets more wooded. You can go all the way the Patuxent Wildlife Refuge/ National Wildlife Vistor Center and beyond to Bowie if you go south on 197. Its wooded, wide shoulderd and well paved the whole way. There are a few other cyclists.

    And did you know, by continuing north along a Emondston Rd, (instead of turning across USDA territory) you can take the Washington to Baltimore trail and get to BWI (which has its own 12 mile loop around the airport) and on to Baltimore.

    http://bikewashington.org/routes/dc2balt/index.htm.

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