Missing bike trail link opens new commuting options

Photo of Kenilworth Riverwalk Trail
This segment is the missing link in 70-mile network of bike and walking trails between Maryland and D.C. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

The final four miles of a paved route opened Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. The route will connect nearly 70 miles of regional trails, many with beautiful views of the Anacostia River. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
This is the four-mile segment, which opened Monday, Oct. 31, 2016, will connect nearly 70 miles of regional trails, many with beautiful views of the Anacostia River. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

Photo of signs along the Kenilworth Riverwalk Trail
A new trail segment through Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens connects Benning Road in D.C. with Bladensburg Waterfront Park in Maryland. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

Leif Dormsjo at new trail segment in DC..
Commutes can be reduced by 30 minutes by biking on new trail Kenilworth Riverwalk Trail, says Leif Dormsjo, the head of the D.C. Department of Tranpsortation, during a ribbon cutting event on Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

Photo of Elanor Holmes Norton at new trail segment in DC.
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., addresses a crowd during a ribbon cutting event for a new trail segment on Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. “Transportation alternatives include your feet,” she says. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

Photo of Ben Cardin at new trail segment in DC.
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., thanks people for “getting out of their cars and onto their bikes” during a ribbon cutting event for the Kenilworth Garden segment of the Anacostia River Trail on Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

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Photo of Kenilworth Riverwalk Trail
The final four miles of a paved route opened Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. The route will connect nearly 70 miles of regional trails, many with beautiful views of the Anacostia River. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Photo of signs along the Kenilworth Riverwalk Trail
Leif Dormsjo at new trail segment in DC..
Photo of Elanor Holmes Norton at new trail segment in DC.
Photo of Ben Cardin at new trail segment in DC.

WASHINGTON — A new travel route could provide a commuting alternative to thousands in the area — if they don’t mind getting some exercise at the same time.

A new four-mile paved segment along the Anacostia River, near Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, is the missing link that connects almost 70 miles of regional trails.

“There were existing segments further south, in the District, and further north in Prince George’s County, but this segment was … a gap in that trail,” said Katie Harris, trails coalition coordinator with the Washington Area Bicyclists Association.

With the new stretch of trail completed — with the help of a federal grant, state and local agencies, and private companies — a person on bike or on foot can travel without getting off the trail.

“Now, someone can ride from Navy Yard and Nationals Park, all the way up to College Park or Greenbelt Park,” Harris said.

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, Harris said the new stretch will benefit more than just weekend athletes.

“This trail will absolutely be used for transportation as well as recreation,” Harris said.

Leif Dormsjo, head of D.C.’s Department of Transportation, said commutes could be reduced by as much as 30 minutes by biking on the new segment.

“Transportation alternatives include your feet,” said Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C.

Harris said the trail’s proximity could motivate people to get out of their cars.

“We know people who live in Prince George’s County and work in the District, or the other way around, will use this to get to work, to school, run their errands, but also to recreate,” Harris said. “That’s the great thing about trails.”

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

This content was republished with permission from CNN.

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