The northern section of Beach Drive has served as both a scenic north-south commuter route for drivers and as a recreational path for bicyclists and pedestrians for years. In April last year, the National Park Service gave the recreational uses priority 7 days a week, and is now considering permanently closing some sections of the roadway to motorists.
The temporary car-traffic closure has been extended until the end of the year while the Park Service looks at options. The process includes an environmental assessment comparing a full motor vehicle closure to returning to the previous system of car trips on weekdays and bike trips on weekends and holidays.
“We are also interested in learning what concepts you would consider,” Rock Creek Park Superintendent Julia Washburn told a July 8th virtual public meeting. Some examples given at the meeting include opening Beach Drive to commuters in the mornings and afternoons, seasonal or monthly full closures for recreation, extending weekend/holiday closures for recreation to include Friday and Monday, or some combination.
You can download the slides NPS presented here (scroll down to the “Documents” section at the bottom of the web page). And you can view the presentation and Q&A here or below.
And you can view the video of the meeting here.
The Park Service is collecting comments from the public until Sunday, August 22nd. Submit your comments here or mail them to:
ATTN: Beach Drive
Rock Creek Park
3545 Williamsburg Lane, NW
Washington, DC 20008
In November, the Park Service plans to present the environmental assessment to the public. And in late December, a decision document will be released.