Could Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park stay closed to cars after the pandemic?

Upper Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park has been closed to cars for most of the pandemic, and a lot of people would like to see that become permanent in D.C.

During an online Q & A with leaders from the National Park Service Thursday, hosted by D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, participants asked Rock Creek Park Superintendent Julia Washburn about keeping Upper Beach Drive closed to cars long term.

While she indicated that was unlikely, “We will certainly be willing to listen to the mayor and the city to determine a way forward, but at the moment, the plan is to reopen when the city returns to normal operations,” Washburn said.

There has been a lot of discussion among D.C. leaders about keeping upper Beach Drive
closed, but no time frame has been announced about making any kind of decision.

The roadway carried more than 5,000 cars a day before the pandemic.

Earlier this week at a D.C. Transportation Committee hearing, District Department of Transportation interim Director Everett Lott said he was open to keeping some car-free lanes in place.

“If Beach Drive were to continue to be closed to vehicular traffic, DDOT is prepared to provide the necessary support and expertise to facilitate this decision.” Lott said.

Lott called the closure of Beach Drive to vehicular traffic “a successful strategy of repurposing public spaces for the benefit of people.”

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Kyle Cooper

Weekend and fill-in anchor Kyle Cooper has been with WTOP since 1992. Over those 25 years, Kyle has worked as a street reporter, editor and anchor. Prior to WTOP, Kyle worked at several radio stations in Indiana and at the Indianapolis Star Newspaper.

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