Project (7320) Document or Notice Agency Seeking Comment/ Posting Notice Date Posted Closing Date
Rock Creek Park Multi-Use Trail Rehabilitation

Environmental Assessment
[PDF 15.3MB]

District Department of Transportation / United States National Park Service
December 12, 2011 January 13, 2012
Description of Project

Pursuant to Section 101(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended, the National Park Service (NPS), in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), proposes to rehabilitate the Rock Creek Park multi-use trail in Washington, DC. The project area includes a 3.7-mile segment of the Rock Creek Park multi-use trail from Broad Branch Road to P Street, NW; a 4,300-foot (0.8 mile) segment of the Piney Branch Parkway trail from Beach Drive to Arkansas Avenue, NW; a 1,247-foot (0.2 mile) segment of social trail from Broad Branch Road to Peirce Mill (referred to as the Peirce Mill trail spur); and a 2,600-foot (0.5 mile) segment of the Rose Park trail from P Street, NW to M Street, NW. The majority of the proposed improvements are located on NPS land, with some improvements located within District of Columbia right-of-way. A segment of the trail also passes through National Zoological Park property.

The proposed action includes resurfacing, trail widening where environmentally feasible, modifications to the trail alignments and road crossings, directional and interpretive signage, and connections to and from the trails to other pedestrian and bicycle facilities. The purpose of this action is to improve the overall condition and connectivity of the deteriorating Rock Creek Park multi-use trail system in order to enhance visitor use and experience within Rock Creek Park. The project is needed to improve safety conditions, protect park resources, and improve connectivity to the park from surrounding neighborhoods; to support the needs of diverse user groups who enjoy the trails and improve visitor experience; and to enhance opportunities for interpretation of park history and resources.

This Environmental Assessment (EA) analyzes the No Action Alternative along with two Action Alternatives for the Rock Creek Park Multi-Use Trail Rehabilitation. The project includes spot improvements for safety and visitor experience, as well as new connections to Rock Creek Park from the surrounding neighborhoods. Under the No Action Alternative (Alternative 1), NPS would continue its current trail maintenance activities and no new construction would occur. Under Alternative 2, the Rock Creek Park multi-use trail would be resurfaced at its current width, which varies throughout the trail. Under Alternative 3, the Rock Creek Park multi-use trail would be resurfaced and widened to a minimum of six feet, up to a maximum of 10 feet, depending on physical and environmental constraints. The NPS Preferred Alternative is Rock Creek Park Multi-Use Trail Alternative 3.

Input Requested
Written and online public Comments

Submit Comments to:
Austina Casey, Project Manager
District Department of Transportation
Infrastructure Project Management Administration
Attn: Rock Creek Trail EA
55 M Street, SE, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20003

Comments may also be submitted on-line at:

Commission Action Requested
No Commission action is requested at this time.

Expected Date of NCPC Action
To Be Determined

Historic Preservation (section 106) Consultation Process
Section 106, which requires federal agencies to take into account the effects of their undertakings on historic properties, was initiated in 2009. The District State Historic Preservation Office (DC SHPO) replied (March 19, 2009) that the project would occur within or immediately adjacent to the following sites listed on the NRHP or DC Inventory of Historic Sites: Rock Creek Park, Greystone Enclave, Piney Branch Parkway, National Zoological Park, and the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway. The DC SHPO also stated that the project may result in direct or indirect effects on the following historic districts: Mount Pleasant, Woodley Park, Kalorama Triangle, Sheridan Kalorama, Massachusetts Avenue, Oak Hill Cemetery, Montrose Park, and Georgetown. Furthermore, the DC SHPO stated the EA should evaluate the potential for direct and indirect effects such as visual and audible impacts within these historic districts, as appropriate.

After a brief hiatus with the project, letters initiating the process were re-sent to the DC SHPO and ACHP on December 14, 2010. No response was received from the ACHP as of the date of this EA, and a response is not expected since it has been determined that the project would result in a Finding of No Adverse Effect. The DC SHPO (January 18, 2011) confirmed that the project will occur within or adjacent to three historic districts listed in the NRHP; the Rock Creek Park, Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway, and the National Zoological Park Historic Districts. DDOT submitted a letter requesting concurrence on the Area of Potential Effects (APE) on July 5, 2011 and DC SHPO concurred with the APE on July 14, 2011. Since numerous archeology sites have been identified near the project area, the DC SHPO recommended further coordination prior to ground disturbance. DDOT/FHWA submitted an Assessment of Effect to the DC SHPO on September 18, 2011, and received DC SHPO concurrence on the Finding of No Adverse Effect on October 19, 2011. The aforementioned Section 106 documentation is provided in Appendix D of the EA.
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