The Capital Trails Coalition is a collaboration of public and private organizations, agencies, and citizen volunteers working to advance completion of an interconnected network of multi-use trails for metropolitan Washington, DC. The Coalition convenes and coordinates among the public and private stakeholders who are critical to accomplishing the vision of an interconnected network.
The geographic footprint of the network is the District of Columbia, City of Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax counties in Virginia, and Prince George’s and Montgomery counties in Maryland.
The Capital Trails Coalition seeks to create a world-class network of multi-use trails that are equitably distributed throughout the Washington D.C. metropolitan region. The regional trails network will transform public life by providing healthy, low-stress access to open space and reliable transportation for people of all ages and abilities.
The Capital Trails Coalition will seek to create a trails network that is:
- Accessible to people of all ages and abilities—trails will be designed to accommodate walkers, strollers, runners, bike riders, the mobility-impaired, equestrians, and other non-motorized users.
- Healthy and Safe—the trails network will promote healthy bodies, minds and environments, be well-maintained and plowed, feature lighting where appropriate, provide safe crossings at roadways, and be patrolled by conscientious neighbors, trail rangers, volunteers, partners, and law enforcement officers;
- Equitably Distributed across Jurisdictions—the network will serve and link all communities in the region; the coalition will emphasize connecting traditionally underserved communities to the network;
- Reliable for Transportation—the trails network will provide effective transportation connections within and among urban and suburban neighborhoods, activity centers and the region’s core; it will link people with transit stations and entertainment venues, parks and schools, shopping districts and libraries, historic sites and monuments, jobs and public services. The network will provide a healthy, environmentally friendly alternative to motorized travel.
- Accessible to Open Space—the trails network will provide respite and recreation close to home; it will connect people to the natural world— traversing parks, stream valleys, and green spaces;
- World-class— the trails network will be built to the highest design standards, supported by accessible trailheads, wayfinding maps and signs, comfort stations, interpretation of history and natural environments, public art and sustainable landscapes.
A well-connected regional trails network promises to help transform public life by linking diverse communities, promoting personal and environmental health, and building sustainable local economies.
Equitable Trail Development
The Capital Trails Coalition recognizes long-standing and current societal inequities that have their roots in generations of unjust structural barriers, policies, practices, attitudes, language and cultural messages have disproportionately impacted many minority groups.
Therefore, the Coalition will promote an equitable trails network by analyzing the unique challenges and circumstances impacting specific populations’ mobility, safety and connectivity needs.
The Coalition will use this information to offer and advocate for solutions so that the trail network more effectively serves all residents, including current and potential trail users.
The Coalition will also use this lens proactively to influence its own structure and decision making framework.
Minority Groups: including, but not limited to people of color, low income, older persons, LGBTQ, Women, individuals with limited English proficiency, persons with disabilities; returning citizens;
Mobility: how far one can travel in a given period of time, accounting for cost, safety, and reliability. Development of an equitable trail network provides mobility for all users, creating a direct, convenient, affordable transportation option.
Safety: minimized conflicts between bicyclists, pedestrians, and other travel modes, as well as measures to promote personal safety and security. Implementation may include signed trail use guidelines, adequate lighting, and application of AASHTO design standards.
Connectivity: access to services and destinations, provided by a navigable, comprehensive network. Strategies promoting equitable connectivity could include frequent neighborhood trailheads, wayfinding and other signage, accessible maps, and ADA compliant design.