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Old 11-28-10, 02:45 PM   #1
Grillparzer
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PG County, MD - I got a ticket for being on a MUP at night.

I use a section of the Anacostia Tributary Trail System between the Langley Park neighborhood and Baltimore Avenue to commute to work. Last night at about 10:00 PM I was going through the Adelphi Mill Recreation Center and was stopped by a Park Police patrol officer who wrote me a ticket for being on park property after dark. Has anyone else ever received one of these and if so, did you contest it?
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Old 11-28-10, 02:57 PM   #2
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Are there signs saying that the park closes at dusk? (I've only been on the Anacostia Trail once, and I can't recall the signage there, but that seems to be pretty typical of MUPs in this area.) If so, I would imagine you're probably SOL on contesting the ticket. But maybe there's some dispensation for bike commuters, especially on trails they use heavily. Good luck.
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Old 11-28-10, 02:58 PM   #3
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Is the trail posted as closed after dark?
The W&OD and Mount Vernon trails are both posted, but I've heard the police look the other way for commuters and people stuck out late.
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Old 11-28-10, 03:10 PM   #4
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i've never been on that trail, but live in the area. it sounds like the rules for most trail around here. sucks that you gota ticket, i've ran into them late night on four mile run but no prob yet.
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Old 11-29-10, 08:03 AM   #5
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There are apparently two signs near the end of the trail, both are speeding sign sized and about ten feet off the ground. I have to check the trail head.
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Old 11-29-10, 08:51 AM   #6
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OP, PM me your email address and I can start action to get the restriction removed. And possibly get you something that will allow you to fight the ticket.

Basically our trails are built with Transportation Enhancement money, which must be used primarily for transportation and not recreation. Closing at dusk defines the primary purpose as recreational.
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Old 11-29-10, 09:47 PM   #7
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Hooray, Human Car! Go Get 'em!

Thanks for all your work for cycling. We appreciate it!
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Old 11-29-10, 09:52 PM   #8
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Is there any way to find out what funding was used to build trails here in Texas? I may need to know at some point.
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Old 11-30-10, 12:11 PM   #9
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Is there any way to find out what funding was used to build trails here in Texas? I may need to know at some point.
Personally I use Google with the trail name and "Transportation Enchantments" to find the supporting documentation. But by procedure I know a MD trail that is more then $30K is a TE funded trail.

Anyway official inquires:
http://www.enhancements.org/contacts.asp
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Rails to Trails might be able to help.
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Old 11-30-10, 12:41 PM   #10
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OP, PM me your email address and I can start action to get the restriction removed. And possibly get you something that will allow you to fight the ticket.

Basically our trails are built with Transportation Enhancement money, which must be used primarily for transportation and not recreation. Closing at dusk defines the primary purpose as recreational.
Clever, I like it!! So, has this ever worked yet -- I mean, as in having a formerly restricted trail made open? I'm trying to remember if the BWI and B&A Trails have "dusk closing" signs. But those trails are pretty old, perhaps they were built using other funds. ?

Does a trail have to be 100% funded with TE money for this rationale to work, do you know?
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Old 12-01-10, 07:38 AM   #11
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Basically if a State misspends any Federal money they just have to give it back. So whatever the State spent of TE is what they would be obligated to give back.

I will note that the Recreational Trail Program is exempt from the transportation requirement, and in other States they do use this program to build trails.

AA County (B&A trail) has a policy that the park closes but the trail stays open.

Washcycle's coverage: http://www.thewashcycle.com/2010/12/...fter-dark.html
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Old 12-17-10, 04:06 PM   #12
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Dear Grillprazer:

I am interested in hearing more details about your citation for traveling on the NW Branch Trail at night as well as from anyone else concerned with nighttime closure of trails. The reason for this interest is consideration of legislation that would require certain trails to remain accessible 24 hours per day in Maryland.
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Old 12-17-10, 04:53 PM   #13
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We had instances of that last year in Indy, on the Monon Trail. Commuters caught on it after dark, in the fall, when sunset was creeping earlier and earlier. Signs say "dawn to dusk", but the local bike advocacy groups rallied the Mayor's office to reverse the tickets as the cyclists were commuters.

Here the trails are part of the city park system and are considered "parks", so their standard "dawn to dusk" rules apply. Not sure where the funding came from to build them however.
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Old 01-01-11, 04:07 PM   #14
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Dear Grillprazer:

I am interested in hearing more details about your citation for traveling on the NW Branch Trail at night as well as from anyone else concerned with nighttime closure of trails. The reason for this interest is consideration of legislation that would require certain trails to remain accessible 24 hours per day in Maryland.
I apologize for the delay in responding to your inquiry.

I received the ticket at 10:00 PM on 27 November 2010, on the Anacostia Tributary Trail a few feet away from where it meets Lyndon Street. I entered the trail from Quebec Street off of New Hampshire Avenue. Both ends of the trail where I entered and exited are marked with signs in English and Spanish declaring the park closed after dark. The officer who issued the ticket, Patrol Officer Coe, Maryland National Capitol Park Police Department, of I assume the Prince George's County District, had blocked the trail with his patrol car and had me well lit by his high beams and his spot light as I came off the trail. During the stop, Officer Coe was professional, courteous, and as a formal police officer from another state, displayed better training then I received. Officer Coe stated that they were at the end of a period of extra patrols of the trails and made a reference to a Hyattsville trail being particularly dangerous. Investigating later I found a news article of a September 2010 shooting in Hyattsville so I assume the crack down was in response to it. He also stated I was in danger of being "raped, robbed and murdered" by using the trail after dark. As a fifty-one year old male I think my risk of sexual assault is minimal and consider the threat of being robbed and/or murdered pretty much equal on a trail or on a street in the D.C. area. After writing the ticket Officer Coe released me and I continued on to work.

The section of the trail where I was ticketed appears to have been built in the late 1980's. I'm not able to confirm it, but it appears to have been funded with an Environmental Protection Agency grant as part of the Chesapeake Bay clean up project. At least the trail was built during the same time period the property was set aside as the Anacostia Watershed.

I've since admitted my obvious guilt and paid this ticket, but, if possible, I'd like to be kept informed of efforts to open this and other trails for after dark use. Being restricted from the trail forces me to commute through the University Boulevard East/New Hampshire Avenue intersection and down University Boulevard toward the University of Maryland. Wikipedia at least considers the University/New Hampshire intersection the most dangerous in the state for pedestrians and I'd prefer an option to avoid it when possible. If there is anything I can do to support the intended legislation or anything else bicycle related please let me know. I'd be happy to help.


http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...02411&t=h&z=19
http://www.wtopnews.com/?sid=2055254&nid=708
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Old 01-12-11, 01:57 PM   #15
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Update:

I was in (via conference call) on MBPAC Discussion on Legislative Issues on 1/10. Fred Shaffer of PG County MNCPPC as well as a member of MBPAC was also there via cell phone but needless to say speakerphone on a cell to speakerphone on the desk was not a ideal and Fred's conversation was a bit hard to understand. So I'll give my impressions but it may not be letter perfect.

One topic we discussed is MBPAC supporting Bike Maryland's imitative (by law) "Trail Access in Parks after Dark for Bicycle Commuters" MBPAC is supportive of this in principle (which is the best we can get at this point) but needs to see the actual language of the bill before any official support is given. So that is very good news.

The best I could understand from Fred was that he still has not heard officially what MNCPPC concern is and why the limited hours. I believe he went on to speculate that the lack of funds for trail lighting, added security and the increased liability might be the issue. It seemed to me that MBPAC subcommittees were supportive of 24 hour access of the trails as is, with a ride at your own risk type of thing (in law it will probably be something like parks should take reasonable precautions to keep trail riders safe at night within their ways and means.) (The same patrol ticketing cyclists could be used to keep cyclists safe.)
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Old 01-13-11, 12:03 AM   #16
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Update:

The best I could understand from Fred was that he still has not heard officially what MNCPPC concern is and why the limited hours. I believe he went on to speculate that the lack of funds for trail lighting, added security and the increased liability might be the issue. It seemed to me that MBPAC subcommittees were supportive of 24 hour access of the trails as is, with a ride at your own risk type of thing (in law it will probably be something like parks should take reasonable precautions to keep trail riders safe at night within their ways and means.) (The same patrol ticketing cyclists could be used to keep cyclists safe.)
Apparently the Massachusetts Ashuwillticook Rail Trail has a similar closed during hours of darkness rule with an exception for bicycle commuters with "appropriate" lighting being permitted on the trail at their own risk. In this case I assume appropriate means being in compliance with Massachusetts state law for night time bicycle use. Would that type of explicit exception still entail legal liability for the MNCPPC?

http://www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/western/asrt.htm
http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/Ge...r85/Section11b
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Old 01-14-11, 08:27 PM   #17
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First off, kudos to Grillparzer in his cooperation in moving "Trail Access in Parks after Dark for Bicycle Commuters" legislation forward.

On liability, there is always a liability, it all turns around taking *reasonable* precautions (a unbarricaded open pit in the middle of a trail would probably still have liability issues after dark if the park service knew about it and failed to take any action.) The problem at the moment seems to be we are dealing with a park service that as policy if it is going to keep a ball field open at night it needs lights and a call box. So extending that "logic" a trail would also "need" lighting and call boxes every 1/4 mile. Since they can't afford to do that they are against bicyclists using the trail at night. We are trying to say that bit is not necessary (we have other trails without lights and call boxes that are used at night with no liability issues.)

We really need to find out what exactly are MNCPPC concerns before recommending a remedy. But thanks for the research on other states laws, that may come in handy.
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Old 01-28-11, 10:28 PM   #18
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Is there any way to find out what funding was used to build trails here in Texas? I may need to know at some point.
Transportation Enhancement spending (project names listed) by Congressional district: http://www.railstotrails.org/resourc...rWork/TE_pdfs/
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