The Maryland State Highway Administration tonight will reveal its latest plans for a sidewalk that would wipe out trees along Chevy Chase’s “Green Mile” section of Wisconsin Avenue.

An environmental group and cycling organization are at odds over the project, which would mean the removal of 53 trees along a three-quarter-mile stretch of the east side of Wisconsin Avenue between Grafton Street and Bradley Lane. The tree removal would allow for an eight-foot shared-use sidewalk.

The Little Falls Watershed Alliance says County Councilman Roger Berliner (D-Bethesda-Potomac) will attend tonight’s meeting (7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 4511 Cumberland Ave.). The group is against the proposed $1.5 million sidewalk because it says the removal of the 53 trees will hurt the already fragile watershed.

Berliner has urged the SHA to take measures to protect the trees, which would not be replaced on the same strip because the curb is not big enough according to SHA regulations. The LFWA has proposed an alternative plan for new bus pads and a smaller section of sidewalk.

Now, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association is urging area cyclists to rally in support of the sidewalk, which would be federally funded:
While too narrow to be considered a shared-use path, the sidewalk would provide a safe place for pedestrians to access the three bus stops on the east side of Wisconsin Avenue. In addition, bicyclists who do not feel comfortable riding on the road could carefully use the sidewalk. With Capital Bikeshare expanding in both Washington, D.C. and Bethesda, a safe place to ride along Wisconsin Ave. is especially important.
The sidewalk would connect Friendship Heights and Bethesda, two major pedestrian areas. In September, the SHA announced it would be removing five large, decaying elm trees along the Green Mile.

Photo via State Highway Administration