The bridge will run from Van Buren Street — which goes past Whole Foods through the center of the development — over the CSX railroad to Lafayette Avenue in the southern end of the University of Maryland research park.
“It appears that the agreement between CSX Railroad (which owns the air above their tracks) and the County (which will own the bridge) is still under negotiation, and that negotiation is likely to continue into the new year,” noted Riverdale Park Mayor Alan K. Thompson recently.
The bridge is designed to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists as well as cars, although it remains to be seen how bike-friendly it will ultimately be.
Though it will be one of a handful of railroad crossings in the area for Route 1 communities, the bridge is carefully designed to discourage overuse. Van Buren Street has a large median and on-street parking to slow down traffic through Riverdale Park Station, while Lafayette Avenue is in a back corner of the Discovery District.
Still, the crossing will tie together the two growing developments, making it easy for employees of some of the big employers in the Discovery District, such as NOAA and the USDA, to pop over for a quick lunch or to pick up some groceries.
The bridge will also be a short bike or walk from the Purple Line stop on River Road in the Discovery District, which means some residents of the townhomes at Riverdale Park Station may use it to connect as well.