What is Rails to Trails?
“Rails to Trails” projects convert abandoned or unused railroad tracks into multi-use pathways for bikers and pedestrians. These types of initiatives have taken place across the United States, such as the Great American Rail-Trail which is working to transform rails into trails all the way from Maryland to Washington State, with a goal to span all 3,700 miles of the route.
East Frederick has done an outstanding job to unite itself to this movement, repurposing many roads to create an effective and strategic route for bikers and walkers alike. Frederick’s Alderman and bike advocate Kelly Russell comments that “the more connections that are created help form a city where you don’t need a car to get around, improving air quality, health, and creating opportunities for economic development.” (Source: Frederick News Post)
What Trails Does East Frederick Have?
As stands, Frederick has many trails that connect downtown residents, offer recreation, and boost the local economy. The East Street Rails with Trails project (2013-2016) enriches East Frederick transportation options, offering trails in the following route: East Street MARC Station — East 5th Street — North Market Street — Clemson Corner — Mill Island. The entire project was an investment of $10.36 million covering 3.68 miles, mixing shared lanes, priority shared lanes, bike lanes, buffered bike lanes.
Rails to Trails: Plans for Expansion
The recommended plan for expansion would prioritize the Frederick and Pennsylvania Railroad trail, which stretches from East Street to Monocacy Blvd, then out to Walkersville and Woodsboro. The proposed plan would include ten miles of rail-to-trail, first being built on the rail bed until MD 26, where it would then run alongside existing tracks all the way to Woodsboro. (Source: Frederick News Post)
The Frederick Bicycle Coalition is acting as a lead organizer for the campaign to develop the Monocacy Crossing Trail to connect the City of Frederick’s East Street Rail Trail with its northern neighbors. You can learn more about their work and take a survey to show your support for the Monocacy Crossing Trail here.
The proposed trail would help connect the popular canal towpath and the City of Frederick. There to support the progress of the project is the County’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee. The timing of the project will depend upon when funding sources are secured.
You can see a complete map of the City’s proposed bikeways and trail plan here.
Stay tuned for updates with East Frederick Rising as this project continues to move forward!