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New Rhode Island Avenue Pedestrian Bridge In Place, To Open Next Year

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The Rhode Island Avenue Pedestrian Bridge project is still several months from completion.
Martin Di Caro
The Rhode Island Avenue Pedestrian Bridge project is still several months from completion.

Living in a neighborhood within walking distance of a Metro station carries a lot of advantages in a city whose goal is to increase transit ridership. Access to transit — both rail and bus — is a big reason why nearly 40 percent of D.C. households are car-free.

But what if your nearby Metro station is difficult to walk to?

Depending on which side of the Red Line tracks at the Rhode Island Ave. station you live, walking to the train can be a noisy hassle, placing pedestrians and bicyclists on a circuitous route that travels under an overpass, the sidewalk so narrow that walking double file is a squeeze.

That will change this winter. On Tuesday night, contractors hired by the District Department of Transportation erected a pedestrian/bicycle bridge that will connect residents of Edgewood and Eckington to Metrorail, and connect the Metro station to the popular Metropolitan Branch Trail, which runs adjacent to the Red Line tracks, in Northeast D.C.

“For folks who live in this neighborhood, access to the Metro station is just so important, and having a direct connection just makes access to transit so much better,” said Greg Billing at the Washington Area Bicyclist Association in an interview underneath the new span.

The bridge also will have wheelchair accessible ramps and better lighting, a key amenity for residents who say they do not feel safe walking to the Metro station at night.

The Rhode Island Avenue Pedestrian Bridge project (DDOT’s official name for it) is not finished, but the agency is telling residents it will be completed in January. DDOT plans to hold a ribbon cutting ceremony, too. Construction began last August.

As far as the Metropolitan Branch Trail is concerned, work on the northern extension of the trail in D.C. and Montgomery County, Maryland is years from completion.

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