Bowie Heritage Trail

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The Bowie Heritage Trail – Old Town Bowie to Bowie State University

Making Progress

Construction on Phase 1 of The Bowie Heritage Trail in Old Town Bowie began in September.  The work consists of construction of a 900 foot long, 10-foot wide, hiker-biker trail between 12th Street and 10th Street, including a pedestrian underpass of the MD Route 564 bridge over Amtrak.  The construction project was substantially complete as of the end of 2018.  The trail will be opened for public use in early 2019. 

Design plans for Phase 2, which will include cultural amenities at the Railroad Museum and creation of a new park/playground on 10th Street, as well as a 625 foot extension of the Phase 1 trail to 9th Street, are fully approved.  The Jericho Park segment (ultimately 1,415 linear feet) connecting Jericho Park to the Adnell subdivision achieved final design approval in FY 2017.  Additional segments of the trail system have been identified which will result in a continuous connection between the WB&A Trail and the Bowie State University/MARC Station.  When all of the City’s planned sections are completed, approximately 3.6 miles of new on-road and off-road hiker-biker trails will be added to the area trail network.  

The alignment of the Phase 1 and Phase 2 trail is shown below.

heritage Trail pic

History and Concept

The City’s Planning Department has been implementing a Walkable Communities program in Old Town Bowie and investigated the creation of a trail system that will link the neighborhoods of Old Town Bowie and provide connections to the Bowie MARC station and Bowie State University (i.e. The Bowie Heritage Trail). Two community input meetings were held regarding the Old Town Bowie Hiker-Biker Trail System, on May 6, 2008 and June 18, 2008, and a report was prepared by the City's consultant, Toole Design Group, making recommendations for the trail system.  The City Council held a public worksession on October 13, 2008 to review the consultant's recommendations and to receive further input from staff and the public, and held a public hearing on November 3, 2008 concerning the recommendations.  The City Council approved Resolution R-78-08, amending the 2002 Trails Master Plan to include recommendations from Toole Design Group.

The Bowie Heritage Trail concept was refined over the course of five (5) meetings held in May and June, 2009 with residents, business owners, City staff and planners from Toole Design Group.  Key themes that emerged from this planning effort included:

(1) The Bowie Heritage Trail should be developed as a destination in and of itself;

(2) Creation of a railroad heritage greenway will offer experiential learning opportunities that support the educational mission of the Railroad Museum, serve children, youth and families and attract the types of visitors sought by Old Town;

(3) The trail presents an opportunity to interpret the history and heritage of educating African American youth and the role of Bowie State University as a Historic Black College; and,

(4) The trail will demonstrate and educate about environmental best practices for dealing with stormwater runoff, often referred to as low impact development (LID).  

The proposed project will help address Walkable Communities, provide access to a major public transit line (Bowie State University MARC Station) and adjacent, planned mixed-use development, activate an underutilized public space, establish a sense of place through design, preserve and promote community heritage, provide recreational facilities and a natural play area for youth of Old Town Bowie, and enhance economic development and tourism opportunities in conjunction with the adjacent Railroad Museum and commercial retail businesses.  The proposed project will enhance the quality of life for Old Town Bowie residents.

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