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Recordings & How To Support: Beach Drive, 9th Street NW, Anacostia Park

Recordings & How To Support: Beach Drive, 9th Street NW, Anacostia Park
By Gordon Chaffin • Issue #147 • View online
I’m Gordon Chaffin and this is my newsletter to friends and supporters. Follow my photography on Instagram and current events commentary on Twitter. I take freelance audio/video gigs such as virtual and hybrid meeting production or livestreams - bit.ly/GordonChaffinResume. Hit reply or email me at gordonchaffin@gmail.com if you have thoughts/leads/ideas.

IMAGE: Nat'l Park Service held a public meeting June 29, 2021 for stakeholders to see two concept plans for a much improved waterfront park near the new bridge spanning the Anacostia River. Project Info - https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?documentID=113171
IMAGE: Nat'l Park Service held a public meeting June 29, 2021 for stakeholders to see two concept plans for a much improved waterfront park near the new bridge spanning the Anacostia River. Project Info - https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?documentID=113171
BEACH DRIVE: Rep. Norton Meeting Held, NPS Meeting on 7/8
VIDEO: Keep Upper Beach Drive NW Closed to Commuting Drivers? Public Meeting by Rep Eleanor Norton 6.29.21
VIDEO: Keep Upper Beach Drive NW Closed to Commuting Drivers? Public Meeting by Rep Eleanor Norton 6.29.21
On June 29, 2021, Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) hosted a public meeting to hear from District residents on the proposal to continue closing Upper Beach Drive NW in Rock Creek Park (RCP) after the COVID-19 state of emergency ends. The Beach closure prevents access for motorists commuting, not vehicle access to more than a dozen parking areas.
The National Park Service (NPS), which makes the final decision on the future condition of Beach, has a public meeting next month and is accepting public comments for the record 7/8 through 8/22. The NPS determination for Upper Beach Drive is very much in doubt. Please participate in the public meeting and send in official comments via the project website below.
Dueling public petitions have 5,400 supporting permanent closure to car commuting and 1,200 signatures asking for commuting access to return for this park road (as of 6.30.21)
Overall, Upper Beach Drive’s closure attracts a much less-privileged, lower-income, and demographically diverse park visitor than its neighbors. along with NPS Anacostia Park and Fort Dupont in Ward 7, RCP is an amenity for non-car travel and outdoor recreation for all DC residents and neighbors from Maryland and Virginia. Concerns about the negative effects of Beach Drive closure must be considered in the context of equity and past actions by those residents.
Those residents of Upper Wards 4 and 3 live in mostly single-family homes valued higher than $1 million. They are higher-income and higher-percentage homeowning than DC as a whole. Many of these neighbors who want car commuters back on Beach Drive complain of traffic safety harms during its closure, but they frequently oppose safety improvements like sidewalks and protected bike lanes.
Rep. Norton asked NPS to continue the Upper Beach Drive closure, but that letter received pushback from RCP-adjacent residents. The Montgomery County Council supports the permanent closure of Upper Beach Drive NW to commuting drivers, as does the Rock Creek Conservancy – the official “Friends Of” nonprofit for RCP. DC Council supported commuting closure to Upper Beach, but only narrowly.
RAISE YOUR VOICE
  • Thursday, 7/8 | 6 PM: Public Meeting about Beach Drive Closure, by National Park Service; “NPS will host a virtual public meeting and begin a public engagement process to inform the future management of the section of Beach Drive that runs from Broad Branch Road NW to the Maryland border.” [Meeting Details | Link to Join Meeting on MSFT Teams | Dial-In: 202-640-1187 + enter passcode 815310000# | Recording Posted Here Afterward]
  • July 8 through August 22: Public Comment Period to NPS Regarding Upper Beach Drive Closure; “You are invited to review the proposal and provide comments and ideas from July 8 through August 22. To provide comments online starting on July 8, 2021, visit https://parkplanning.nps.gov/beachdrive. If you prefer to mail your comments, make sure they are postmarked by August 22, 2021, to receive consideration. Mail comments to the address below. SuperintendentATTN: Beach Drive Rock Creek Park 3545 Williamsburg Lane, NW Washington, DC 20008”
BACKGROUND
Upper Beach Drive NW is a two-lane, 25-mph road that runs through Rock Creek Park (RCP). The “Upper” portion refers to the section from Broad Branch Road NW to the border with Montgomery County, MD. RCP, a giant north/south park that follows Rock Creek in a stream valley down from Maryland, beside the National Zoo, and out into the Potomac River. It’s perhaps Washington, DC’s most popular park beside the National Mall.
For several decades, NPS has closed Upper Beach Drive to car commuting on weekend days and federal holidays. The Parks Service closed Upper Beach, and other park roads within DC, during weekdays for outdoor recreation and non-car commuting during the COVID-19 pandemic.
SIGN THE PETITION
People’s Alliance for Rock Creek (PARC) | Washington Area Bicyclist Association
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ANACOSTIA PARK UPGRADE: NPS Meeting Held, Public Comments Open about
VIDEO: Public Meeting for Anacostia Park Improvements by National Park Service - 6.29.21
VIDEO: Public Meeting for Anacostia Park Improvements by National Park Service - 6.29.21
From NPS:
The National Park Service (NPS) wants to hear from you as we develop a vision and goals for the future of Anacostia Park. We are creating a plan to study the existing conditions and develop a set of recommendations for park improvements that will provide an enhanced visitor experience, while continuing to protect natural and cultural resources.  
The goal of the plan is to provide recommendations to revitalize recreational opportunities at the park in a way that builds off of the 2017 Management Plan for Anacostia Park. You’re invited to attend a virtual public meeting on June 29 and to submit your ideas from June 29 through July 29. 
On the east bank of the river, Anacostia Park generally extends from the District of Columbia/Maryland border south to the mouth of the Anacostia River at Poplar Point. For this plan, the NPS is focusing on the portion of Anacostia Park on the east side of the Anacostia River between the 11th Street Bridge and the CSX bridge, north of the Pennsylvania Avenue SE bridge. 
Throughout the development of the plan, the NPS would like to hear from park visitors, neighbors and partners about current use of the space and your ideas for the future of this unique landscape in the heart of Washington, DC. During this initial planning phase, the NPS is asking for public input to develop a vision and goals for the plan. After reviewing public input, the NPS will develop concepts for potential uses and facilities for this area. These concepts will be made available for public review (anticipated in early 2022) prior to the plan being finalized. 
RAISE YOUR VOICE
How to comment: Public participation is vital to the planning process. There are several ways to get involved. You are invited to review the proposal and provide comments and ideas from June 29 through July 29. To provide comments online or get additional information on the project, visit: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/Reimagine_AnacostiaPark
If you prefer to mail your comments, make sure they are postmarked by July 29, 2021, to receive consideration. Mail comments to the following address: 
National Capital Parks – East 
Superintendent 
Re: Reimagine Anacostia Park 
Washington, DC 20020 
All comments submitted will be considered during the planning process. The NPS will provide additional opportunities to submit public comments as the project continues. Please check the project website: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/Reimagine_AnacostiaPark for future updates. For more project information visit: Anacostia Park Development Concept Plan 
9TH ST NW "EASTERN DOWNTOWN" CYCLETRACK: ANC 6E Meeting Held, Three Other ANCs Involved
VIDEO: 9th Street NW Protected Bike Lane Presentation - Transport Cmmte to DC's ANC 6E - 6.29.21
VIDEO: 9th Street NW Protected Bike Lane Presentation - Transport Cmmte to DC's ANC 6E - 6.29.21
This week, DDOT presented its intermediate design for a two-way, protected bike lane on 9th Street NW from Pennsylvania Avenue up to Florida Avenue NW. If you’re reading this, you’re probably very aware that key members of Mayor Bowser’s Administration have delayed this project from spring 2017 until last month. It’s not so much that the project’s opponents changed their minds about the “eastern downtown cycletrack,” as the Mayor gave her transportation agency the political cover to see the project through.
So, the opponents of this project remain and I hope you’ll join me in following DDOT’s public outreach process and expressing support for it at every step of the way. The video above comes from ANC 6E’s Transportation Advisory Committee. DDOT will go to the full ANC 6E meeting next week – Tuesday, July 6th. The 9th Street NW cycletrack also goes through ANCs 2C, 2F, and 1B.
All the project info, including detailed traffic and design study, is here - https://www.dccycletrack.com/eastern-downtown
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Gordon Chaffin

This is Gordon Chaffin's newsletter. By day, he's a local journalist and current events storyteller living in Washington, DC. The goal: produce writing and multimedia -- civic participation resources -- that include, inform, and equip stakeholders with the least power to improve their community. On evenings and weekends, Gordon is a freelance audio/video producer and photographer. Topics of interest: transportation -- especially non-car transit -- plus housing, environmental justice, social and gender policies like family-medical leave, and education -- especially early childhood. Please send news tips to gordon[AT]streetsensemedia[DOT]org and freelance job inquiries to gordonchaffin[AT]gmail[DOT]com.

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Gordon Chaffin, 3401 12th St NE #4466 Washington, DC 20017