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Agencies Still Working on Proposal for Rock Creek Park Multi-Use Trail

The plan would directly impact Georgetown's Rose Park.

The National Park Service (NPS), working in conjunction with the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) (EA) on the proposed rehabilitation of the . The public scoping period closed at the end of February, but the anticipated spring arrival of a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) has come and gone with no updates on the proposal.

The project would impact sections of the trail from Broad Branch Road to P Street, and also would include the Piney Branch Parkway trail from Beach Drive to Arkansas Avenue, NW, and part of the Rose Park trail from M Street to P Street. In total the rehabilitation project, if approved, would cover a 3.7-mile segment of the existing Rock Creek trail and a 3,000-foot segment of the existing Rose Park trail.

In February, project managers said they anticipated a draft EA to come out in the spring and then a final plan by the summer.

When asked about the delay, Austina Casey, an environmental policy analyst a DDOT, wrote in an email to Patch, "We are still working on the EA. We want to ensure that we are following the NEPA [National Environmental Policy Act] process and we will release the document to the public after all coordination are conducted as required and the analyses are complete."

Once the draft is out, there will be a 30-day public comment period,f followed by the release of a final draft. Should the NPS and FHWA determine the project has no "significant impact" the project could then move to the design and construction phase.

The Friends of Rose Park sent a letter to agency heads in early February stating its long-held priorities for the park: the path should not be relocated or widened, though it should be renovated for safety and future use should be limited to pedestrians (no cyclists).

The Rose Park section of the trail will be evaluated under a separate option in the EA "due to comments received during the 2009 and 2011 scoping periods," according to a DDOT document.

Casey was unable to estimate when the draft EA might be made public.

"I do not want to commit to a timeline right now since our schedule is dependent on our coordination with other agencies, whose availability is unknown," wrote Casey.

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