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Notes: National Park Service reveals plans for expanded Mount Vernon Trail

Good Friday morning, Alexandria!

🌧️ Today’s weather: Expect patchy drizzle and scattered showers before 3pm, followed by isolated showers and fog in the morning. The day will be mostly cloudy with a high near 69 and a north wind of 7-9 mph, with a 30% chance of precipitation. Friday night will see isolated showers, patchy fog, and mostly cloudy skies with a low around 60, and a 20% chance of precipitation.

🚨 You need to know

Cyclists along the Mount Vernon Trail along the Potomac River near Belle Haven (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A series of major traffic changes and infrastructure fixes are coming to the southern branch of the George Washington Memorial Parkway and the Mount Vernon Trail.

DCist reported that a new plan from the National Park Service revealed the scope of the environmental and traffic impacts, offering a glimpse at what’s ahead.

On the Mount Vernon Trail, temporary closures expected as the National Park Service widens the trail and replaces several bridges along the trail that are in poor condition. Where possible, the trail will be widened to at least ten feet across, with some expanded to 12 feet.

There will be some areas of realignment as well, with changes addressing “pinch points” in the trail.

One of the major changes will be a road diet for the Parkway, a series of traffic calming measures intended to slow drivers and make the streets safer.

According to the report:

The NPS is seeking to improve safety for people who drive, walk, and bicycle, which the NPS can best achieve by implementing multiple traffic calming solutions in conjunction with crosswalk improvements. To accomplish this, the NPS would implement a road diet, or roadway reconfiguration, along the Parkway South Section where feasible based on traffic modeling. Road diets generally involve restriping a roadway to remove a travel lane and repurposing the pavement for center median turn lanes, outside dedicated right or left-turn lanes, or road shoulder

The changes planned are entirely on the Fairfax stretch of the Parkway and won’t touch the City of Alexandria. Construction will likely involve lane closures, which will disrupt traffic and could increase road delays, creating congestion not only on the Parkway but on detour routes.

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