National Park Service Considering Reopening Park’s Beach Drive to Traffic

July 12, 2022 by Dan McCue
National Park Service Considering Reopening Park’s Beach Drive to Traffic
A multi-use trail at Rock Creek Park. (National Parks Service)

WASHINGTON — One aspect of the diminishing pandemic that bicyclists and pedestrians actually enjoyed could soon be falling by the wayside.

The National Park Service has announced that it is considering reopening Beach Drive in the District of Columbia’s Rock Creek Park to traffic.

But in a compromise, the Park Service is only proposing reopening the roadway, which accommodated as many as 8,000 vehicles a day pre-COVID, for part of the year.

It will be reclosed to vehicles seven days a week between Memorial Day and Labor Day.


Also, the Park Service said the longstanding practice of closing Beach Drive on weekends and holidays would continue under the new plan.

In a press release, the Park Service said after analyzing alternatives, including keeping Beach Drive closed to traffic year-round, it concluded the seasonal closure is “the best way to protect park resources and strike a balance of different uses — whether visitors are walking, cycling, commuting or scenic-driving.”

The summer closure would extend from Broad Branch to Joyce Roads; from Picnic Area 10 to Wise Road; and from West Beach Drive to the Maryland boundary.


Beach Drive would remain open to cars between Joyce Road and Picnic Area 10 but only to access picnic areas and parking lots. Ross Drive would remain open to traffic.

The public is being asked to comment on the proposal until Aug. 11, and comments may be offered during a park service virtual public meeting, which is set for 6:30 p.m. July 18.

Interested parties can join the meeting by following this link.

To connect via phone only dial, they should dial +1 202-640-1187, and enter 146280403#. 

A recording  will also be available to view here after the meeting.  

A final decision on the proposal is expected in early fall. The road will remain closed until then.


Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.

 

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