Construction of a controversial new two-mile section of a bicycle trail along the George Washington Memorial Parkway through the Collingwood neighborhood in Fairfax County was halted by court order yesterday until a trial can be held on issues that have divided the community's residents for nearly four years.
U.S. District Court Judge Albert V. Bryan Jr. issued a temporary restraining order against the National Park Service,which earlier this week had begun constructing a permanent route for the bike trail, on parkland west of the parkway. A trial has been set for March 1 on the dispute.
The popular 14-mile bike trail from Washington to Mount Vernon has been routed "temporarily" along Fairfax County and park service roads around Collingwood since it was opened in 1972.
Congress gave the park service $525,000 two years ago to build a permanent route. After public hearings, studies and numerous meetings with residents, the park service decided to keep the trail on the west side of the parkway, but put it entirely on parkland, a decision endorsed last week by the National Capital Planning Commission.
Residents in the large subdivisions west of the parkway have objected to bicyclists on their streets on the temporary route and have urged that the permanent route be located east of the parkway, where only about 100 families live. The location was also supported by a park service consultant.