Trolley Trail Extension Widely Supported

Extended Trolley trail ProposalLast month we reported on the extensive interconnected trail system within College Park, in the region, and even nationally. We mentioned the College Park Trolley Trail and its potential extension southward to Riverdale Park and Hyattsville, but we didn’t fully realize the momentum behind the project. Apparently local politicians and dozens of citizens turned out early last month to discuss the project and both cities have taken steps to investigate acquiring the properties along the old Trolley right-of-way.

The DC Transit #82 trolley line originally ran from Washington, D.C. to Laurel via College Park and the City of College Park has gone to great lengths in recent years to acquire their portion of the right-of-way and make it a convenient, paved trail/bike lane. The southern extension (displayed to the left) would provide an offroad route from Hyattsville to Beltsville with relatively few at-grade street crossings. EYA has agreed to pave its portion of the Trolley Trail in the Hyattsville Arts District’s East Village (picture below).EYA Trolley Trail

College Park’s final portion of the trail between Paint Branch Parkway and Calvert Road is set for eventual completion and passes directly next to the East Campus development. The Trolley Trail is just one of hundreds nationwide rails-to-trails (non-profit not involved in this particular project) projects which takes advantage of old rail right-of-ways.

View this great video produced by Hyattsville “H4X” Hacks which documents the February community meeting and has several video segments of the old trolley line:

—> VIDEO!

4 thoughts on “Trolley Trail Extension Widely Supported”

  1. I suppose the greatest benefit is safety for riders.

    I routinely use the Northeast Branch trail from College Park to Riverdale/Hyattsville (and points south). It’s only a few minutes off the trail to get to the train stop/farmer’s market area in Riverdale.

    But … the desolate feeling along the NE Branch trail does concern me at times, particularly along the levee.

  2. Why not bring the trolley back? A bike trail would be nice, but a trolley system would be even nicer. Are the vestiges of the old rail too far gone for it to be feasible economically? Is there something else that makes a new system unrealistic? Simply a lack of funds or public support? Would a trolley system free up route one? I think the rail goes near metro stops. Ideally, couldn’t the systems be linked? Connecting Greenbelt and Riverdale via College Park might be a way coalesce the towns and perhaps distinguishing them from the rest of the DC area among other benefits. What kinds of problems would it create?

  3. It is a good idea, Brian. Or at least it was. In about 1993 that idea was studied in fairly great detail. The idea was that one day the Trolley Museum on Bonifant Road in Montgomery County would need to relocate to make way for the InterCounty Connector. So why not reestablish the Museum along the old Rhode Island streetcar line and create a “heritage streetcar” service? The current museum is in a suburban area and the trolley runs through wooded park land and goes in a circle.

    After many months of study, it was discovered that Montgomery County politicians were not aware that a future move of the museum to Prince George’s County was being contemplated. They quickly let it be known that the Museum would not be allowed to relocate outside of Montgomery County. At the same time a pocket of significant opposition to the service being reestablihed here surfaced. The final report took the streetcar service only as far north as Riverdale Park.

    Without the use of the trolley museum cars the considerable cost of reestablishing the service was made significantly more expensive. For the last 12 years or so the report has been gathering dust.

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