[dc-critmass-list] Act Now to Protect Rock Creek Park
gill at waba.org
Thu Jan 26 10:30:45 PST 2006
After nearly ten years of public input, the National Park Service has
decided what to do about the future of Rock Creek Park: almost nothing - or
perhaps even worse! Barring a last-minute reversal, NPS will adopt a
"general management plan" (GMP) that puts automobile commuter traffic
squarely ahead of recreation and environmental protection.
Despite overwhelming public comment in favor of weekday car-free recreation
zones along Rock Creek, the Park Service has decided to keep Beach Drive
open around the clock on weekdays. Instead, NPS plans to implement
controversial traffic-calming measures such as speed humps or speed tables.
The result, according to some cyclists and skaters, could be even worse than
the status quo.
But we still have a fighting chance during a final comment period now
underway through February 15. Please join the People's Alliance for Rock
Creek (PARC) and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) in
protesting the decision, and urge the Park Service to adopt a plan that
includes weekday recreation. For example, "Alternative D-1," would close
one segment of Beach Drive for recreation for six hours each day and offers
an alternative route for cars within the park.
The Park Service's year-end decision represents a complete reversal from its
2003 draft GMP in which the preferred alternative included three midday
recreation zones on Beach Drive on weekdays - the same three sections that
are currently closed to motorists on weekends. NPS buckled to pressure from
vocal neighborhood activists and politicians who cited fears of increased
traffic on residential streets.
Another approach advocated by PARC and WABA , called "Alternative D-1" would
close just one segment of Beach Drive between Military Road and Broad
Branch. This segment of Beach Drive, does not have a parallel bike path
and offers an alternative automobile route entirely within the park, yet
this alternative was dismissed out of hand as "premature" by NPS.
The final GMP document acknowledges that part-time closure of Beach Drive to
traffic for recreation is "environmentally preferred." Yet, with virtually
no explanation, the final GMP chose a plan that relies on traffic calming
measures to slow traffic, called "Alternative A."
As if to please recreational users, the Park Service announced that it plans
to maintain the popular weekend recreation zones on Beach Drive. But even
that promise rings hollow, since speed humps and tables will surely be an
unwelcome intrusion for many cyclists, skaters, and strollers. Can you
imagine learning to skate or ride a two-wheeler on a road with speed humps?
Help us keep the pressure on the Park Service to make the Rock Creek Valley
available for recreation on weekdays! To find out what you can do to help,
visit PARC's website: http://www.saverockcreekpark.org/. We'll make it easy
for you to send hard-hitting comments to NPS over the Internet, and it takes
only a few minutes.
Be sure to send in your comments by February 15! Thanks for your support!
People's Alliance for Rock Creek
Washington Area Bicyclist Association
PLEASE FORWARD THIS MESSAGE TO OTHERS WHO LOVE ROCK CREEK PARK!
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