DC, Md. extend traffic closures in parkways for recreational use

D.C. is extending the closure of a section of Beach Drive to vehicle traffic, and Montgomery County, Maryland, is opening up parkways on weekends for recreational use.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and the National Park Service announced Saturday that a section of Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park will be closed to vehicle traffic through April 30.

“It’s closed between Broad Branch Road and Military Road, from the picnic Grove 10 to Wise Road and from West Beach Drive to the Maryland line. The southern third of Beach Drive is open between Rock Creek Parkway and Broad Branch Road, just like it normally is on weekends. This is the most heavily traveled section, and it remains open to drivers as of late Monday,” WTOP traffic reporter Dave Dildine said.

Beach Drive is normally closed on weekends, and the additional closure will provide more recreational space and cut down on higher demand for that space by making it available every day, Bowser said.

U.S. Park Police and National Park Service staff will monitor the area to make sure that social distancing is being maintained, and they may also temporarily close some parking areas as needed to minimize congestion.

In addition, Anacostia Park and Fort Davis Drive in Fort Dupont Park in D.C. will be closed to traffic from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily through April 30 to provide more recreational space. U.S. Park Police will monitor the areas.

Starting on Friday, April 17, more than two miles Beach Drive from Connecticut Avenue to Knowles Avenue in Kensington, Maryland, and more than one mile of Little Falls Parkway from Massachusetts Avenue to Arlington Road in Bethesda, will be closed to vehicle traffic starting at 9 a.m. on Fridays through 6 p.m. on Sundays.

“Opening our parkways to people provides a safe venue for healthy activities including walking, running and biking while allowing adequate space for social distancing,” Mike Riley, director of Montgomery Parks, said in a statement.

Pedestrians, bicyclists and other park users are allowed to the use parkways on weekends.

Montgomery Parks started opening other parkways for recreational use during the weekend earlier in April, including sections of Sligo Creek Parkway at Old Carroll Avenue to Piney Branch Road and Forest Glen Road to University Boulevard West.

Montgomery Parks facilities, including playgrounds, basketball courts, athletic fields and tennis courts are closed; and all events, classes and programs have been canceled until further notice.

For a list of trails in Montgomery County, visit the county’s park website.

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Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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