Friday, August 04, 2017

A Welcome Proposal to Reopen the Arboretum's Southern Entrance & Reconnect it with the Community


I haven't seen an official agenda for Advisory Neighborhood Commission 5D's meeting this coming Tuesday (7 pm at 5D headquarters at1805 Bladensburg Road NE), but I do know of one item that will definitely be discussed at the meeting. Commissioner Bernice Blacknell (5D04) will put forth a resolution for the ANC to support reopening the southern entrance to the National Arboretum. The entrance gate, which was closed in the early 1990s due to concerns including funding and crime, is near Maryland and M Streets NE. I think it's a great idea. Reopening the entrance would reconnect the community to this amazing resource. One of the challenges is funding for the Arboretum, something that could improve with the proposed China Garden.

Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 7.11.34 AM
The blue marker shows the location of the southern entrance

Below is text taken from a draft proposal that explains a bit more about the goals and plans.

  • Reopening the Maryland Gate so that nearby residents in Carver, Langston Terrace, Trinidad, Kingman Park, and the surrounding areas, as well as students from nearby Browne Education Campus, Phelps ACE High School, and Two Rivers at Young PCS can more easily and safely access the Arboretum;
  • Working with the Arboretum to find continuous revenue sources to ensure that the expenses associated with reopening the Maryland Avenue gate will not adversely affect the Arboretum’s budget;
  • Considering whether opening the Maryland Avenue gate to only pedestrian and bicycle traffic to minimize costs, encourage pedestrian traffic, and discourage car traffic. 

Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 7.11.13 AM
The blue marker shows the southern entrance, & the yellow markers the two open entrances


K on K Street said...

I love this idea.

Mari said...

This would be amazing!

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm. Could be good, but good be very bad if there is no security presence.

Frustrated said...

Let's not get too excited about this as I'm sure Kathy Henderson, obstructionist extraordinaire, will find a way to stop this from happening. I can't wait until the day we have a new ANC rep in her place. Can you imagine how much more productive the ANC meetings will be?

Anonymous said...

Everyone knows that opening the gate would increase the safety of the area and reduce crime.

Anonymous said...

how would opening the gate increase the safety of the area? You are providing a new cut through ( escape route) for commuters and criminals.

inked said...

Anon 4:55,

Look at that bottom map again. I think any commuter looking for a cut through would be sorely disappointed. Those roads wind around quite a bit. One of the options is to open the southern entrance only to pedestrian and bike traffic. If that happens, I suppose criminals on bikes or on foot could flee into the Arboretum, but they could flee anywhere. That doesn't seem to me to be a compelling reason to keep the entrance closed.

Anonymous said...

I am Henderson and I underscore my opposition to this. I don't need a reason.

pat said...

if you think Crime is a problem on the Metropolitan Branch Trail,
you will have enormous problems with crime here.

Muggers right now have only one good way out, open this they can rob people
and then head south into the neighborhood.

inked said...


I'm not sure I think that would be the case. I'm sure we'll see cameras, and the Park Police patrol the Arboretum, no?

Anonymous said...

Honestly, it is a crime that they haven't reopened this entrance yet.

Anonymous said...

Ink - But both of those add enormous cost.

Muggings and drug dealing will increase when you have multiple exits through the park with a limited police patrol.

And the increased cost isn't worth the 15 minute hassle to visit another entrance.

Anonymous said...

I live on a nearby street. I'd LOVE to see this entrance re-opened. It is super annoying that I have to bike around half the arboretum on onto Bladensburg Rd when there's a potential entrance nearby. I could literally chuck by bike over the fence and it'd be faster (if it weren't illegal).

Crime is nowhere near the issue is was in this neighborhood in the early 90's. There's literally nothing going on down at that entrance. There's a field where M and Maryland Ave meet and that's it.

Re-open this entrance!

inked said...


Google Maps says it's a 1.2 mile walk from the M Street entrance around to the R Street entrance. Their time estimate is 24 minutes. I don't know that muggings or drug dealing would increase just because the southern entrance were open. From what I've heard, it's not exactly impossible to access the Arboretum from the vicinity of the M Street side if you don't mind breaking rules and are committed.

The camera would be an initial cost, but the Park Police already patrol Federal parks, so there would be some increased cost, but I don't know how much. Do you have any figures for that "enormous cost?" That's an honest question. I haven't seen any figures but I'm sure they do exist as there has been talk of adding a southern entrance off Bladensburg Road to replace the New York Avenue entrance.

Anonymous said...

The park police do not patrol the Arboretum. A private security firm does, and there are not many of them. The Arboretum is USDA, not parkland.

Anonymous said...

arboretum is USDA, not parkland. And a private security firm patrols in kia sorentos, with menacing flashing yellow lights.

Mari said...

I second Anon 4:40. I'm spitting distance from that entrance and it is the sleepiest street. There's no one around except for when kids let out from the daycare center, which is the closest building to that entrance.

Ben Bowman said...

I don't go to the arboretum because it's not really walkable for me but it would be if this gate was opened. I am sure there are hundreds of people in my position. Putting more foot and bicycle traffic in that area would increase safety on that block.

Open the gates!