Capital Crescent Trail Connector

Division: Park Development
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Project Description

Design and construction of a hard surface trail connection between the Capital Crescent Trail and Little Falls Trail, including a safe crossing of Hillandale Road in Bethesda, MD near the Bethesda Pool located at 6300 Little Falls Parkway Bethesda, MD 20816.

The goal of this project is to provide a safe, functional, barrier-free and experimentally pleasant trail connection between the Capital Crescent Trail and the Little Falls Trail. The connecting trail segment will be accessible and meet the spirit and intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The design process will focus on incorporating principles of sustainable site design and low impact development.


The Capital Crescent Trail follows an abandoned railroad right of way and extends 11 miles from Georgetown, in the District of Columbia, to Silver Spring in Montgomery County. Approximately 5.5 miles of the trail are in Montgomery County.  This trail is heavily used at all times and also serves as a commuter trail to Georgetown during the week.  The trail, one of 500 rail-to-trail projects in the nation, traverses neighborhoods and parkland and includes stretches along the Potomac River. The 3.5-mile Little Falls hiker-biker paved trail is largely shaded and offers unobstructed views of Little Falls.  The trail parallels the Capital Crescent Trail (CCT) starting at Mile 6 of the CCT and for about a mile shares the same right of way.

The current route used by bikers to connect the Little Falls Trail to the Capital Crescent Trail is through the Bethesda Pool parking lot which has led to conflicts when the pool is open.  To improve safety, efficiency and reduce conflicts, a trail connector is proposed for construction near the Bethesda pool.

Parks received comments from various groups and individuals following two community meetings held last summer to inform the public and seek their input on three connector alignment options. The comments varied from supporting the different option alignments (A, B, or C); to recommending a new option (D); and to requesting no trail connector be built in this area. Parks instructed the design consultant to study the public recommended option (D) which takes trail users along Hillandale Road (across the street from the Bethesda Pool parking lot frontage) and crosses at the traffic light at the intersection of Hillandale and Little Falls Parkway.

Status/Project Update

After consideration of all comments received, staff will present three Concept Design Options to the Board with a recommendation.  The options will include:

  • 1. Original Option A – Boardwalk through the forested area north of the Bethesda Pool;
  • 2. New Option D – Boardwalk and paved walkway adjacent to the south-east side of Hillandale Rd across the street from the Bethesda Pool parking lot frontage (crosses Hillandale Rd at a traffic light); and
  • 3. New ‘No Build Option’ – No paved connector constructed.  This option may include some safety improvements within the Bethesda Pool parking lot and Hillandale Road crosswalk.
  • Project on hold pending decision on safety improvements.

Calendar and Meeting Notes

Opportunities for public participation are shown below. Links to review meeting notes and Planning Board memos will be attached to each applicable calendar event as it is scheduled and completed.




April 27, 2015 Design Kick-Off Meeting held to discuss:
– Development of design & construction documents
Parkside Headquarters
9500 Brunett Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20901
June 11, 2015 Development of preliminary concept plan – 15% design
July 28, 2015
7pm – 9pm
Community Meeting #1 – To solicit community input on planned trail connector alignment
– View the presentation (5.5mb)
– View trail connector alignment options 
– View the meeting notes
Bethesda Chevy Chase Regional Services Center
Room A/B
4805 Edgemoor Lane
Bethesda, MD 20814
October 2015 The project has been placed on hold in order to weigh all comments received and to study new alignment options
November 2016 – Consultant directed to study new alignment option “D” as proposed by the public
– Received new alignment Option D and cost estimate from the consultant
– Discussion with Montgomery County Recreation on possible aquatic center impacts and coordination due to proposed options
March 2016 Additional environmental improvements being considered alone with the trail options
March 10, 2016 The staff report for Planning Board meeting
– View Staff Report
– View exhibits (Options A, D and ‘No Build’)
March 17, 2016 Planning Board Meeting to obtain Board approval of recommended alignment option and budgetary cost estimate – For the accurate time go to Agenda Archives, then ‘Upcoming Meetings’ MNCPPC
Montgomery Regional Office
8787 Georgia Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20910
April 5, 2016 Metrobike LLC submitted an application for consideration to install a bike share station near the trail connector
October 17, 2017 Bicyclist killed in a traffic accident at the intersection of Little Falls Parkway and Capital Crescent Trail
October 2016 Project on hold pending full safety analysis of the Little Falls Parkway and trail crossing
November 2016 Staff developed a preliminary safety improvement concept plan to be further studied

M-NCPPC Staff Contact

Kurt Wiebusch, Construction Section Supervisor

Last Updated: July 29, 2019