Institute for Environmental Negotiation

Empowering communities to create shared solutions

Improving Washington & Old Dominion Trail Safety: A Stakeholder Workshop

(2014) The Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail, spanning 45 miles from Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C. into rural Loudoun County, is a popular recreational amenity, commuter corridor, equestrian path, and fitness resource for many diverse user groups. As the region has developed, the trail has become both more popular and more congested, posing numerous safety concerns. The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA), which owns and manages the trail, contracted with IEN to plan and host a stakeholder workshop, with the goal of developing a set of priority recommendations to guide enhancements to the trail and identify other methods for improving safety. IEN conducted pre-workshop interviews with key stakeholders and developed an online survey that garnered almost 1,700 responses. The results of these efforts informed the design of an all-day workshop, held at NVRPA’s beautiful Algonkian Regional Park in Sterling, Virginia. The 52 participants at the workshop heard informative presentations, met in small, facilitated groups to discuss specific safety strategies, and ultimately voted on each strategy as a large group, in terms of effectiveness for improving safety and feasibility for implementation. Five overarching priority recommendations emerged to provide guidance to NVRPA and its partners in continuing to make safety improvements on the trail. Workshop attendees expressed appreciation the NVRPA sought their input on this important issue.