Understanding Arlington’s Connection to the Capital Trails Network

headshot for katy lang program director active transportation arlington va
Katy Lang Tweet Us @walkarlington@walkarlington April 8, 2019

Katy Lang is the Program Director for Active Transportation. She started living car-free in Arlington in 2010 and is passionate about finding great running routes and safety for people walking and biking.

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We have an amazing trail network in this region that helps people get where they want to be—and some of the crowning jewels in the trail network are right here in Arlington.

You’ve probably heard that Arlington has 50+ miles of paved, multi-use trails. But did you know that our region, encompassing the District of Columbia, City of Alexandria, Arlington County, Fairfax County, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County, has 456 miles of paved multi-use trails? That’s a lot of trails.

Interconnected Trails are Vital to the Region

Our trail network is critically important for people getting around by biking or walking. After all, we’re a very interconnected region—many of our highways, Metrorail lines, and bus routes cross jurisdictional boundaries. These transportation options wouldn’t be much use if they stopped at borders and the same goes for our trails.

The Capital Trails Coalition is a regional partnership between local governments, non-profit groups, and advocates dedicated to expanding and building a trail network in the DC region. The network consists of the major connector trails, including the Custis Trail, Mount Vernon Trails, and the W&OD. The Coalition seeks to create trails that are accessible, safe, equitably distributed, connected to destinations and other transportation, near open space, and built to the highest design standards. The vision is to add an additional 386 miles of trails in the area.

If you use the major trails in Arlington, like the Arlington Loop, you’re a user of the Capital Trails network. Our trails help us get where we need to go, whether that’s to work, school, errands, or seeing friends. They allow us to travel in a low-stress, fun, and easy-to-navigate way, and it’s up to all of us to follow the the golden rules for trails to keep them fun and low-stress for all.

Creating Awareness of the Network

Every spring people across the region will host fun trail cleanups and 5k races on the trails to celebrate Opening Day for Trails. These events will aim to raise awareness of the Capital Trails Network and build support for existing and future trail project.

Whether you’ve been out on the trail all year long or have been waiting for warmer weather, Opening Day for Trails is a great way to officially kick off the spring season and celebrate the 456 miles of the Capital Trails Network.

Making Our Trails Better

In 2019, WalkArlington hosted a cleanup on the W&OD Trail, a critical connector trail from Arlington to Loudon County, with the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Capital Trails Coalition, WABA, NOVA Parks, and Arlington County Parks & Recreation. We picked up over 50 trash bags of litter near Barcroft Park where tons of unsightly debris gets trapped in the brush on the hillside.

Box with link for Arlington Comfort Map

This post was updated in July 2019 to provide a recap of Opening Day for Trails event.

Photo Credit:

Sam Kittner/Kittner.com

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