National Park Service proposes to reopen Beach Drive to traffic

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The National Park Service (NPS) on Monday proposed opening the upper portion of Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park to motor vehicles year-round except summer.

Under this proposal, the four-mile zone would be closed to motor vehicles from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, the press release reports. This designated area has been closed to traffic since the start of the pandemic in April 2020.

“Rock Creek Park provides endless opportunities for outdoor recreation, exploration and relaxation in the heart of Washington, DC,” Rock Creek Park Superintendent Julia Washburn said in the press release. “The preferred alternative is a compromise that will allow us to best protect natural resources, while allowing access to this beloved area of ​​the park for the greatest number of visitors.”

Other options to manage the area included full-time motor vehicle closures permanent or closing the area to traffic on weekends and holidays – the pre-pandemic system – according to the press release.

The NPS considers a seasonal closure to be the best compromise between the options.

“Adopting a seasonal closure schedule will allow visitors to take advantage of the park’s recreation and nature opportunities during the summer and allow drivers to travel through the park when there are fewer recreational visitors,” NPS said.

The seasonal closure, if implemented, would affect Bingham Drive, Sherrill Drive and Beach Drive in three sections:

  • Broad Branch Road to Joyce Road
  • From Picnic Area 10 to Wise Road
  • From West Beach Drive to the Maryland border

For more information on the details of the areas affected by the seasonal closure, visit here.

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