SILVER SPRING, MD—The Montgomery County Planning Board awarded certificates of appreciation to 92 Capital Crescent Trail Coalition (CCTC) volunteers for collecting user data on the county’s popular Capital Crescent Trail. CCTC Chair Peter Gray and volunteers Wayne Phyillaier and Christopher Marston were present at last Thursday’s Planning Board meeting to accept the award on the group’s behalf.
“I want to thank the Capital Crescent Trail Coalition for their efforts,” said Montgomery County Department of Parks Director Mary Bradford during last Thursday’s Planning Board meeting, “and pledge our department’s continued commitment to working with the coalition to improve management, safety and future development of the trail.”
The 92 CCTC volunteers gathered data from thousands of Capital Crescent Trail users during the fall of 2006 to produce the May 2007 Capital Crescent Trail/Georgetown Branch Trail Survey Report for the Department of Parks. The Department of Parks will use these survey findings on the amount and type of use on the trail to make future management decisions about park trail planning and proposed development projects near the trail.
“The coalition’s survey analysis is a tremendously valuable resource for us,” said Department of Parks Park Planning Supervisor Tanya Schmieler. “This is the largest, single, park and trail planning volunteer effort to date and we are extremely appreciative of the coalition.”
The 140-hour CCTC volunteer project detailed user counts at 4 locations along the Capital Crescent Trail: Grubb Road, Elm Street Park, the Bethesda Trailhead and Brookeway Drive. The group first conduced a survey of trail users in 1996 and again in 2000. Survey findings from 2006 reveal that Capital Crescent Trail use is up significantly—over 50 percent—from 160 average users per hour in 1996 to over 240 hourly users in 2006. The group’s findings also substantiate the popularity of hard surface trails in the county, with more than 500 hourly users on the Capital Crescent Trail during peak periods. In addition, survey results document trends in the variety of trail use, finding bicyclists were the heaviest users at all survey sites except Bethesda Avenue where walkers predominated, and people using roller blades on the trail have consistently declined—from over 10 percent in 1996, down to only 1-2 percent in 2006.
During last Thursday’s meeting, CCTC Chair Peter Gray told the Planning Board that one of the most pressing issues along the trail was the safety of all of the trail users and avoiding conflicts and accidents among and between users, especially pedestrians and bikers.
The Department of Parks met with representatives from the CCTC earlier this month to discuss trail safety. During the meeting the group discussed current safety measures being employed along the Capital Crescent Trail, such as rule enforcement by Park Police, Park Rangers and Park Police volunteers and public education about sharing the trails; and identified possible safety improvements, such as progressive physical trail improvements and the redevelopment of the trail if required.
The Capital Crescent Trail is an 11 mile paved trail, which follows an abandoned railroad right of way which extends from Georgetown in the District of Columbia to Silver Spring in Montgomery County. It is the most popular trail in the county’s parks system, which includes nearly 200 miles of paved and natural surface trail.
For more on trails in the county’s parks system, visit www.MontgomeryTrails.org.
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INTERESTED MEDIA: Photo of certificate presentation available upon request.
Media Relations Manager
Montgomery County Department of Parks