Great Falls residents, Supervisor Foust and his staff, and representatives from the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) and the Department of Public Works gathered on Wednesday, October 23rd to celebrate the official opening of the Phase III and IV segments of the Georgetown Pike trail between Falls Chase Court and Seneca Road. The completion of these two new segments means that residents now have a multi-use ADA-compliant asphalt trail that runs all the way from Utterback Store Road to Seneca Corners. Funding for the projects was through a combination of both federal and county monies. It took roughly 15 years to build this trail, from the start of sourcing funding through construction.
The new segments are part of a long-term GFCA effort to improve pedestrian access to the Village Centre with the overall goal of having acontinuous east-west trail along the Pike between Great Falls Park and Seneca Road, a distance of approximately 4.2 miles. GFCA is collaborating with other civic organizations on pedestrian trail development, notably GF Trailblazers, as well as Supervisor Foust and Fairfax County.
In his remarks, GFCA spokesperson Phil Pifer notedthat the Georgetown Pike trail will serve as the backbone for our ultimate vision, which is pedestrian trails throughout Great Falls that will allow people to walk or bike from their neighborhood to points of interest including schools, parks, the village and other commercial areas. Julie BenAchour, President of Great Falls Trail Blazers, observed that apart from anything else, this trail is one that will make it safer for pedestrians. Supervisor Foust congratulated the community for its commitment over the last 10+ years and the determination of all those involved to ensure that what was constructed maintained the historical integrity of the Georgetown Pike byway and enhanced the local environment. Looking forward, Supervisor Foust also indicated that $90,000 in funds left over from this project will go toward a study for the next phase, which will connect Utterback Store Road to the Village. GFCA calls this Georgetown Pike Trail Phase 5.
Apart from securing the necessary funding, one of the biggest challenges is obtaining property owner’s permission and easements for continuing the trail. Much of Phase 5 can be built on VDOT right-of-way and existing easements, but there are some spots where the permission of a property owner would be necessary. It is only through the generosity and civic mindedness of such owners, along with the commitment of residents and a shared vision for Great Falls, that we will eventually see a completed trail spanning the width of our community, and eventually an interconnected pedestrian trail system serving all of Great Falls.
For an NBC4 Video of the event, click here: NBC4 Report on Trail Dedication