On June 5, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy celebrated National Trails Day by hosting an event with Kaiser Permanente on the Metropolitan Branch Trail. The event, called Meet the Met: Party on the Met Branch Trail, introduced surrounding communities to a new pathway that had opened only one month before. While some area residents had been involved with the long history of getting the trail built, many in the surrounding neighborhoods didn't know that the trail existed. By working with our partners to host a celebration that included something for and from all parts of the community - free bike repairs and rentals, garden plantings and shows by cheerleaders from nearby Beacon House - we hoped to christen the trail and introduce it to all of Northeast D.C.
Nearly 1,000 people turned out on a hot June day for the celebration, and of the over 200 we surveyed, nearly half had never been on the Metropolitan Branch Trail before. Photos and video (embedded above) can give you a flavor of the day's events, which included salutes to longtime trail advocates, a bike rodeo to teach kids safe riding skills, live music along the trail and a raffle of four bicycles donated by local shop Arrow Bicycle.
Meet the Met is just the beginning. A new listserv connecting neighbors who care about the Met Branch Trail attracted more than 100 members in its first week and a meeting is being held on July 8 to move the conversation from the online world to the real world. Even with community support, this trail faces challenges, such as littering and public safety. But the Met Branch is not alone. As part of RTC's Urban Pathways Initiative, this trail is connected to dozens of others across the nation addressing similar issues, providing a support network to learn about best practices from other cities.
Been a member of RTC since 2001. If you build it ,they will come. Businesses next to trails thrive. Jobs are created.
Great point about job creation & business success near trails! Walking or biking on a tree lined trail also relieves stress & improves mood!
I was there and was especially moved by the well-deserved tributes to Paul Meijer - now 88 years old - who was especially instrumental in seeing this trail to reality. May he continue to enjoy the trail.
With all the misinformed thoughts that trails will cause "crime" and more litter, it is really interesting to note that next to the Macomb Orchard rail-trail in the northeastern Detroit area, there is a real estate development called "Trailside". If fact the developer stated that the most wanted houses were the ones righ next to the trail.
Duquesne University performed a survey which debunked the crime attractiveness of rail trails. In fact, where trails are built, crime goes down because criminals don't do business in active areas. Looking forward to riding the MET in 2011! I am a volunteer on the MONTOUR RAIL TRAIL
Glad for some of comments made about crime going down because of the trails. I live in Southern Maryland Mechanicsville, We are having go arounds with citzens and commisioners about citzens thinking they will have a crime spree. I have been on these trails before they were trails and walked them with all the debris and etc. and wonder what besides cleaning up , landscaping, and putting as
phalt down that would make these places a crime spree area now?
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