'Big Stinky,' Trail Enemy

Posted 02/28/13 by Kelly Pack in Building Trails, Trail Use

Since it opened in 2008, the Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT) has become a key part of the D.C.-area's bike commuter network and urban trail system. Following an active freight and Metro train line from neighborhoods in the northeast right into downtown D.C., Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has worked hard on developing and promoting the trail, and we are proud of its success.

But the MBT is not yet complete. A number of on-road sections today interrupt what will one day be a safe and convenient paved rail-trail all the way from the Silver Spring Metro and MARC stations to Union Station in the heart of the capital. People living in the burgeoning Maryland cities and neighborhoods in northeast D.C. will hopefully soon be able to pedal to work or school downtown, providing a critical transportation option and relieving the area's notorious congestion. It's going to be great.

Our good friends at BicycleSPACE are one of the local groups keeping the pressure on the city to move ahead with their plans to complete the MBT.

On Saturday, March 16, they are rallying the troops for "The Big Stinky Hill Climb Challenge" - a section of the trail route still awaiting development where riders, joggers and walkers are forced to climb an on-road hill that runs alongside the city dump. Both the smell (you can imagine what it's like in the summer) and the volume of trucks and other traffic, make Big Stinky particularly unsafe and unpleasant for residents hoping for another local transportation option. 

"We remain encouraged that the District Department of Transportation can make completing the MBT a high priority and will find a way to get through the final red tape," BicycleSPACE says. "To show our support and highlight the importance of moving forward with this project, The Assembly is hosting a fun community event that will pit bike riders against Big Stinky to compete for a coveted trophy, the Golden Garbage Pail."

This ought to be fun! Join a great group of local riders and trail advocates at The Big Stinky Hill Climb Challenge next month. More info at www.bicyclespacedc.com

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