Met Branch Trail – Waiting on Pepco

The meeting tonight about the current status of the Metropolitan Branch Trail offered some insight which has yet to appear in any media sources. The meeting was conducted by Heather Deutsch and Jim Sebastian of DDOT.

1. A contractor, Fort Myer, has been selected for the design-build contract. Once the contract is signed (more on this below) the work will be required to be completed in 12 months. Although some aspects of the trail have been stipulated by DDOT, the firm will be tasked with developing much of the design plan.

2. The contract can be signed upon delivery of funds for this section of the trail from the Federal Highway Administration. FHWA will release these funds as soon as the land from New York Ave to R St is given to the city by its current owner, Pepco.

3a. Pepco has in their possession the forms/documents prepared by DDOT to give this 15 ft-wide easement to the city. There is no time-mandate to spur Pepco to sign. Pepco has also asked DDOT to pay for and perform an appraisal of the land for their tax purposes.

3b. DDOT must conduct this land appraisal.

Ultimately, the start of this section of the trail is dependant on Pepco. 1 month, 3 months, maybe much longer. Outside efforts to get Pepco to move on this may be needed.

Other notes:

– The easement from New York Avenue to R St will be 15 feet wide (11 ft paved) while sections north of R St may have potentially much wider easement.

– There is the possibility of writing into the contract language that would schedule the construction to work north from New York Avenue, allowing phased openings of trail sections as the 12 months progress.

– The steps from L St to the elevated portion along the rail tracks have recently been completed.

The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 14th (time/place TBA). Thanks to the Big Bear for hosting us.

Update – While the local media may not be covering the MBT, it is apparent the community is definitely concerned: other area bloggers at the meeting also included bloomingdale (for now) and Eckington DC Living, though I have no idea what either of them look like.

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8 thoughts on “Met Branch Trail – Waiting on Pepco

  1. That’s right. Let’s call this thing the Eckington Trail. Or will that doom it? Even our speed humps aren’t as good as R Street NW’s.

    Seriously Flatland, thanks for posting this information. That’s very detailed, and I’m all over pushing these folks.

    Note that Fort Myer Construction is the evil company that runs its trucks back and forth along R Street, shaking homes in the prosess. It would be better if the trucks went along North Capitol and Rhode Island using 4th Street NE rather than through the residential portions.

    Also, the design part of the design-build contract scares me. Ft. Myer is a asphalt and paving company. I don’t see them as designers.

  2. DDOT said the community should have some ability to input their suggestions north of R ST (where the potential exists for wider easements and pocket parks).

    I really hope DDOT take my suggestion to put language into the contract or persuade the contractor to construct the trail north from New York Ave. and allowed phased openings of the trail.

  3. Hhmm…I think I have an idea which of the attendees were IMGoph and you, based in part on your recaps. How funny, of all the meetings happening that night, this is the one we all went to. What can I say, I like to ride my bike!

  4. File a complaint, contact the Public Service Commission. That’s who regulates Pepco.

    ALSO, start calling Vincent Orange’s office every day. He’s the Regional VP for DC for Pepco.

    Don’t worry about contacting DC Councilpeople. Ask to speak at a public hearing with a complaint about Pepco’s behavior.

    Pepco doesn’t want that, so likely these kinds of calls/actions would get them moving.

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