Maryland State Del. Bill Frick (D-Montgomery County) sent a letter Monday to the superintendent of Rock Creek Park as an appeal to close Beach Drive to car traffic for an extended period. Currently, the park road popular with cyclists, Rollerbladers, runners, etc., opens at 7 p.m. That’s all well and good when it’s winter, but with an early Daylight Savings upon us, Frick wanted to throw his weight, or at least his letterhead, behind keeping cars off for longer.
This is not an original idea. Frick came to it as a regular reader of everyone’s favorite anti-car blog, Greater Greater Washington. The blog aggregated a rant from Mount Pleasant ANC Commissioner Jack McKay:
Who decided on 7:00 p.m., and why? Why not 8:00 p.m., or even later, to make certain that recreational users are off the road before the cars are turned onto it? It’s Sunday, there’s no weekday rush of traffic, and there are no large numbers of automobile drivers needing to take Beach Drive through the park to the Maryland suburbs. The cars can take 16th Street and Connecticut Avenue, and don’t need Beach Drive on Sunday evening. Let the cars stay on those roads, and keep Beach Drive safe for weekend recreational use, at least until darkness falls.
Frick says he was moved by McKay’s logic. In a phone call, he says he grew up in Kensington, “a stone’s throw” from the park and Beach Drive, and has many happy memories of riding the road on a bike with his parents. “We should let other families enjoy their time there,” he says. Plus: “It didn’t take much effort on my part” to send the letter. (Read: ANC Commissioners’ letterhead=not that impressive.)