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Should Beach Drive be closed to vehicle traffic for good?

The National Park Service is asking for public comment on the issue.

WASHINGTON — The National Park Service is seeking public input about what to do with the upper part of Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park. During the pandemic, the road was closed so people could enjoy the park. NPS officials are considering whether to reopen the road to traffic.

More than 28,000 people have been using the park and its road for recreation every month during the pandemic, according to People’s Alliance for Rock Creek.

Peter Harnik with People’s Alliance for Rock Creek has been in the fight for more than 40 years.

“When the pandemic came the new superintendent said, 'We should make this park available for people to be healthy, stay healthy,’“Harnik said. “And she closed the park 24/7 and people have just been flocking to the park and we think it should be continued into the future even when the pandemic is over”

RELATED: NPS: Beach Drive to be shut down starting July 12 until end of year

But not everybody agrees with this view for the future of Beach Drive.

Another option would be to reopen Beach Drive to traffic. Andre Lee is a Crestwood resident. His neighborhood could be directly impacted with traffic if Beach Drive remains closed to commuters.

“For the folks that commute and use the park, and use Beach Drive as a commuter route, they have built their lives around the commute to work like everyone else, right,” Lee said. “And they will take this road because is the fastest road no one is gonna take the slowest road.”

The National Park Service is asking for public comment on its website until August 22. They will present some options for Beach Drive in the fall after looking at the public’s opinions and put them up for comment one more time before making a decision.

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