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Bike-Oriented Development: 8 Projects Planned Along D.C.'s Cycling Trails

One of the most bike-friendly cities in the country, D.C. has several major bike trails in the city and its immediate suburbs. D.C. officials will break ground Saturday on the expansion of one of those trails, connecting the Metropolitan Branch Trail from Brookland to Fort Totten, and improvements are also in the works for the Anacostia Riverwalk and Capital Crescent trails.

With more D.C. residents choosing to commute on two wheels, developers whose projects sit next to these trails are accommodating them with new trail entrances and bike facilities. Bisnow looked at how eight trail-adjacent developments are planning to accommodate cyclists.

Washington Gateway Phase 2

A rendering of MRP Realty's Washington Gateway Phase 2
  • Trail: Metropolitan Branch Trail
  • Developer: MRP Realty
  • Location: Intersection of New York Avenue NE and Florida Avenue
  • Project Plan: 372 residential units in the north tower, 223K SF of office and 11K SF of retail in the south tower

Just after cyclists enter the elevated portion of the Metropolitan Branch Trail at the NoMa Metro station, they encounter MRP Realty's Washington Gateway site. The first phase, the Elevation apartment building, delivered in 2014, and the developer is preparing to break ground next on the second phase, two towers directly adjacent to the train tracks and the trail. 

The south tower of Phase 2 is slated to include a two-story lobby that opens out onto the trail. The lobby, designed in renderings with a big outdoor "Bikes" sign, will be open to the public from 6 a.m. to midnight and will include a bike-sized elevator to bring people down to the project's public plaza. The lobby will also have 32 short-term bicycle spaces, tire pumps and repair areas, a water fountain and a public restroom. The developer also plans to enhance the trail itself, installing light fixtures and making paving and landscaping improvements. 

Eckington Park

A rendering of Foulger-Pratt's Eckington Park project
  • Trail: Metropolitan Branch Trail
  • Developer: Foulger-Pratt
  • Location: Intersection of Harry Thomas Way NE and R Street
  • Project Plan: 328 residential units and 9K SF of ground-floor retail

After going under the New York Avenue bridge next to Washington Gateway, cyclists will encounter the 2-acre public park NoMa is planning, and then the Foulger-Pratt development planned directly to the north of the park. The developer received Zoning Commission approval in June and plans to break ground in 2019.  

As part of the project's public benefits package, Foulger-Pratt agreed to donate $80K to realign the trail as it crosses through the site. The trail currently has two consecutive sharp, right-angle turns where it passes through this property, but the realignment will make it a smoother curve. The project will also feature 30 short-term bike parking spaces near the trail, plus 174 long-term spaces and a bicycle repair station for tenants. The developer said it is exploring the possibility of having some of the project's retail front the trail rather than the street.

Rhode Island Avenue Shopping Center

A rendering of MRP Realty's Bryant Street project
  • Trail: Metropolitan Branch Trail
  • Developer: MRP Realty
  • Location: Rhode Island Avenue Shopping Center at Fourth Street and Rhode Island Avenue NE
  • Project Plan: 1,450 units and ground-floor retail

Across from where the trail meets the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station, MRP plans to break ground later this year on its redevelopment of the Rhode Island Avenue Shopping Center. The project will include 1,450 residential units and retail, anchored by an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. The eastern portion of the project fronts the trail and the elevated walkway over the train tracks to the Metro station. 

As part of the community benefits package in its approved planned-unit development application, MRP agreed to improve the portion of the trail that passes by its site and create a new bike route through the property that connects to the Fourth Street NE bike lane. It also agreed to fund the construction of two Capital Bikeshare stations along the trail and on Fourth Street.

The developer last year scrapped its PUD due to concerns over appeals that have delayed over a dozen other projects and decided to pursue by-right development, but MRP principal Bob Murphy — an avid cyclist — said it still plans to include all of the community benefits. 

"We think it is a significant benefit," Murphy said. "It's a great way to get around. The bike trail is a lot safer than being in a bike lane. We'll have restaurants that will have outdoor seating against the trail. We're pretty excited about it." 

Dock 79

A rendering of MRP Realty's planned second phase of Dock 79
  • Trail: Anacostia Riverwalk Trail
  • Developer: MRP Realty
  • Location: 71 Potomac Ave. SE 
  • Project Plan: 264-unit apartment building

The west bank of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail currently runs through The Yards and ends at the lot next to MRP's Dock 79 building, just south of Nationals Park. The trail is planned to be extended through the development, which has three remaining phases to be built, down to Buzzard Point

MRP broke ground earlier this year on the second phase of the project, a 264-unit apartment building with 6K SF of ground-floor retail. The future third and fourth phases are approved for office and hotel, but Murphy said his firm is still evaluating what type of project it should build for the next phase.

The development will include a large, waterfront boardwalk where the trail will pass through. The second phase will include 106 long-term bicycle spaces, at least 14 short-term spaces, and MRP agreed to fund the creation of a new Capital Bikeshare station on the property. 

1900 Half St. SW

A rendering of Douglas Development's 1900 Half St. SW project with the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail in the foreground
  • Trail: Anacostia Riverwalk Trail
  • Developer: Douglas Development
  • Location: 1900 Half St. SW
  • Project Plan: 452 units, 24K SF of retail

The next major development the extended Anacostia Riverwalk Trail will pass through will be Douglas Development's 1900 Half St. SW. The developer is transforming a former Coast Guard building into 452 residential units with 24K SF of retail. The developer received building permits last month and plans to begin interior demolition this summer. 

As part of the project, Douglas will construct a large portion of the Anacostia Riverwalk extension on the waterfront next to the site. It will also create a 200-foot cycle track along T Street to connect the trail to Water Street, build a new Capital Bikeshare station and provide a bicycle parking and maintenance area for its residents. 

River Point

A rendering of the River Point development at 2100 Second St. SW from a joint venture of Akridge, Orr Partners, Western Development, Redbrick LMD and Jefferson Apartment Group
  • Trail: Anacostia Riverwalk
  • Developer: Akridge, Western Development, Orr Partners, Redbrick LMD, Jefferson Apartment Group
  • Location: 2100 Second St. SW
  • Project Plan: 470 apartments and 670K SF of retail

Further down the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail's future extension on Buzzard Point, another transformation of a Coast Guard building into apartments is planned at 2100 Second St. SW. The River Point development team plans to begin construction this year on the project, which will feature restaurants with outdoor patios facing the water and the trail. 

The developers will construct the portion of the trail in front of the building, plus adjacent landscaping and seating areas. They will also extend the Second Street cycle track to the trail, connecting it to Audi Field, and build a new Capital Bikeshare station.

Apex Building

A rendering of the Capital Crescent Trail tunnel and adjacent bike facility at Carr's Apex building project
  • Trail: Capital Crescent Trail
  • Developer: Carr Properties
  • Location: 7272 Wisconsin Ave. in Bethesda
  • Project Plan: 460 residential units, 360K SF of office, 15K SF of ground-floor retail

A large portion of the Capital Crescent Trail, which runs from Georgetown through Bethesda to Silver Spring, is currently under construction along the Purple Line route. The light rail project will begin at Bethesda's Apex Building development, where Carr Properties is constructing the Purple Line station and a new 12-foot-wide underground tunnel for the trail. The trail tunnel, estimated to cost between $15M and $30M, will connect to a bike storage room and maintenance area in the project. 

The trail tunnel is expected to be completed along with the Purple Line in 2022. The trail will also run next to JBG Smith's under-construction 4747 Bethesda Ave. mixed-use project, which will also have a large bike room. Executives from JBG and Carr, speaking Thursday at Bisnow's Future of Bethesda event, emphasized the value of having the popular trail run through their projects. 

"The trail going through Bethesda is a huge amenity; people use that to commute," JBG Smith Executive Vice President Kristi Smith said. "We have a very robust bike room with facilities and locker rooms so you can shower before going into the office. There's going to be a lot of that."

Elizabeth Square

A rendering of the Elizabeth Square project in Silver Spring
  • Trail: Capital Crescent Trail
  • Developer: Lee Development Group and Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission
  • Location: Fenwick Lane and Second Avenue in Silver Spring
  • Project Plan: 906 units and an aquatic center

Along the Capital Crescent Trail in Silver Spring, Lee Development and Montgomery County are working on the major redevelopment of the Elizabeth Square site. The 996K SF project will demolish the existing, 160-unit Elizabeth House building and replace it with a 334-unit tower, construct another new 267-unit high-rise, and renovate the Alexander House building to bring it to 305 units. It will also feature an aquatic center with an 11-lane swimming pool.  

The project will also include the construction of a 500-foot portion of the Capital Crescent Trail along the western portion of the property, between the buildings and the Metro tracks. The developers will create connections to the trail at Fenwick Lane and Apple Avenue and make landscaping improvements.