Improving Rock Creek Park
I am a long-term four-day-a-week Beach Drive commuter and resident of the Mount Pleasant and Forest Hills neighborhoods. I have no preference between automobiles and bicycles in the park. I prefer pedestrians and horses.
Rock Creek Park needs redesign and construction as an urban park [District Extra, June 24, "Who Rules the Road?"]. That cannot be done by the National Park Service alone. A consortium is needed, including at least the National Park Service, the District, Montgomery County and the neighboring communities.
An important element of that plan would be improved pedestrian access to the park that addresses the lack of sidewalks on the following access roads: West Beach Drive, Sherrill Drive, Western Avenue, Rittenhouse Street/Bingham Drive, Military Road East, Broad Branch Road, Blagden Avenue, Park Road and Piney Branch Road. How is a mother with a baby in a carriage to get to the park?
The matter of speed is not a difficult design challenge: There are speed bumps, and more curves could be added between Military and Sherrill. Improving streets parallel to Beach Drive such as Oregon and Western avenues and 13th and 14th streets can alleviate traffic.
The National Park Service should be complimented on the job it is doing to bring fish back to Rock Creek and on the restoration of native plant material. The civic-sector organizations that help maintain the trails are also due a measure of thanks.