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Comment Period Begins Tomorrow: National Park Service invites comments on future of Beach Drive

https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?documentID=113206


The National Park Service (NPS) wants to hear how you would like to see the northern part of Beach Drive NW in Rock Creek Park managed in the future. On July 8, the NPS will host a virtual public meeting and begin a public engagement process to inform the future management of the section of Beach Drive that runs from Broad Branch Road NW to the Maryland border. Beginning in late April 2020, the NPS temporarily increased socially-distanced recreational opportunities for pedestrians and bicyclists on the northern section of Beach Drive NW and adjoining park roads by limiting drivers' access during weekdays. Ross Drive NW and Sherrill Drive NW were also temporarily closed. Bingham Drive NW has been closed for construction. "We look forward to hearing people's thoughts on the future of Beach Drive," Rock Creek Park Superintendent Julia Washburn said. "We recognize that making any long-term change to the way we manage this part of Beach Drive would affect people who use, enjoy and care about Rock Creek Park - the oldest, urban park in the National Park System." To inform how it will manage this section of Beach Drive NW, the NPS will complete a public engagement process and environmental assessment. At the public meeting on July 8, NPS staff will present a range of alternatives for potential changes to northern Beach Drive NW, including an alternative for no change. Using the public feedback we receive, the NPS will further refine the alternatives. This fall, NPS staff will present refined alternatives, along with an analysis of the impacts in the environmental assessment and again ask the public for feedback. During this process, the NPS will continue to temporarily limit drivers' access to this section of Beach Drive NW. The NPS has closed the northern section of Beach Drive to cars on weekends and holidays since the 1960s. Prior to the COVID-19 public health crisis, traffic in this section of Beach Drive varied between approximately 5,500-8,000 vehicles per weekday. By comparison, the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway averaged approximately 50,000 vehicles per weekday. We invite the public's continued interest in this issue, and we look forward to the conversation. Attend the public meeting: The NPS will host a live, virtual public meeting on July 8 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. Attend the meeting by clicking: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_YjE1YTA0ODMtMzM0OS00NmQzLTk3ZjUtZGFjNzY2M2I4OTE1%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%220693b5ba-4b18-4d7b-9341-f32f400a5494%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%220a5e74c3-26d9-4282-8ef6-6d9112be2457%22%7d To connect to audio, use the meeting website link or dial, +1 202-640-1187, enter passcode 815310000#. A recording of the meeting will also be available to view at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/beachdrive after July 8. How to comment: Public participation is vital to the planning process. You are invited to review the proposal and provide comments and ideas from July 8 through August 22. To provide comments online or get additional information on the project, visit https://parkplanning.nps.gov/beachdrive. If you prefer to mail your comments, make sure they are postmarked by August 22, 2021, to receive consideration. Mail comments to the address below. Superintendent ATTN: Beach Drive Rock Creek Park 3545 Williamsburg Lane, NW Washington, DC 20008

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