Arlington County has won a $225,000 federal-state grant to help build a long-planned bridge to give bicyclists and pedestrians access to Theodore Roosevelt Island, the 88-acre urban wilderness preserve opposite the Kennedy Center.
Construction of the $750,000 bridge, which will cross the George Washington Memorial Parkway, connecting bike paths leading to Rosslyn Plaza and the existing foot bridge to the island, is expected to begin this spring and take about four months to complete, Arlington's chief planner John Hummel said yesterday.
The National Park Service simultaneously announced it will expedite its own plans to extend the George Washington Memorial Parkway bicycle trail to Roosevelt Island and also will build a bike path connection to Roosevelt Bridge (I-66), perhaps using volunteer labor since it has no money budgeted for the projects. Its popular parkway bike trail now ends at Memorial Bridge.
Regional Park Service Director Manus (Jack) Fish said, "We're delighted about Arlington's grant and we too will make immediate plans" to connect the federal trail system with the county's. The Commission of Fine Arts and National Capital Planning Commission have both approved the bridge and its location.
Roosevelt Island, a wilderness memorial to the 26th president, is now accessible by foot from a parking lot off the northbound lanes of the parkway.