MCT Rail Trail
by Tom Rinker, The Bicycle Escape & Frederick Bicycle Coalition
With increasing frequency walkable and bike-friendly communities are what many people demand. Frederick has a lot to offer and now a tremendous opportunity to grow and improve the City and County’s bike-ped infrastructure. These improvements encourage an active lifestyle and present options for residents who like the idea of using human power to travel but are uncomfortable doing so on the open road.
As one of the founding members of the Frederick Bicycle Coalition (FBC) and its president, these issues are always on my mind. If you are unfamiliar with FBC, the organization has pledged a commitment to work with government, organizations, and individuals to promote greater access for bicyclists and others in the Frederick County area. In keeping with our mission, FBC has identified a real need for a safe pathway for cyclists and pedestrians who wish to link the City of Frederick to points north. Our proposed solution is what we call the Monocacy Crossing Trail. The plan calls for an extension to the City’s East Street rail trail project. This Trail is a three-stage undertaking that promises a multi-use path roughly beginning in front of the Family Meal restaurant along the unused railroad tracks, crossing over Route 26, and then continuing alongside the Walkersville Southern Railroad tracks located behind the Wegmans grocery store. From there the path heads north to the Monocacy River where the City will terminate the Trail near the Wormans Mill community. It is our hope that the proposed Monocacy Crossing Trail will have the County continue the path where the City leaves off so it will bridge over the River and northward to Heritage Farm Park in Walkersville. It’s our belief that the addition of The Monocacy Crossing Trail will greatly add to the path’s appeal and dramatically increase the potential user base.
Walkersville is home to some 6,000 residents and the City of Frederick has around 67,000. Providing a safe way to link these population centers via a multi-use path would prove to be a great advantage for our residents. The corridor could be enjoyed by runners, walkers, cyclists, and more. It would provide safe passage in an area where non-motorized transportation is limited and far less than ideal. Furthermore, this link would be incorporated in the larger Grand History Trail <www.grandhistorytrail.org> which would further increase the appeal of the trail and help to bolster tourism in Frederick County/City.
Our initial meetings with the Frederick County Executive have been positive. Later this month we meet with MDOT and county planners to further the conversation.
If you would not mind investing 1-2 minutes in support (or opposition I suppose) of this trail, you can do so by taking this short survey: frederickbicyclecoalition.com/mct/