Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Letter Requesting Delay of Beach Drive Closures until after Surge 10

The Chair of the T&E Committee and I sent this letter to the National Park Service asking for the delay of an upcoming rehabilitation project on Beach Drive in order to to avoid additional difficulties during Metro's Surge 10.

August 2, 2016

Tara D. Morrison, Superintendent
Rock Creek Park
National Park Service
3545 Williamsburg Lane NW
Washington, D.C. 20008-1207

Dear Superintendent Morrison:

We recently learned of the National Park Service’s plan to rehabilitate Beach Drive between the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway and the Montgomery County/District of Columbia boundary.  We understand that the project will take three years to complete and will require four sequential closures of segments of Beach Drive, starting shortly after Labor Day.  Along with its recreational functions, Beach Drive is an important commuter route for Montgomery County residents reaching their jobs in downtown Washington, and its closures will mean longer commutes for our residents and more congestion on many District streets for the duration of the project.

We understand the need for this project.  However, the first phase of the rehabilitation comes at a very inopportune time, coinciding with the upcoming closure of a portion of Metrorail’s Red Line as part of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s SafeTrack Program.  Specifically, it would overlap with SafeTrack’s Surge #10, which will shut down the Red Line between the Fort Totten and NoMa Stations for 23 days between October 10 and November 1.  Most of the rest of the Red Line will have much reduced service: 70% less between Silver Spring and Fort Totten; and 40% less between Grosvenor and NoMa.  WMATA estimates that Surge #10 will impact 108,000 trips every weekday during this period; this is by far the most impactive surge of the 15 WMATA has planned.

Although Montgomery County and Maryland are attempting to mitigate this lack of capacity by running free shuttle buses along the Red Line and are encouraging carpooling, biking, and other alternative modes of commuting, we suspect that a large proportion of the 108,000 weekday trips will be added to the street system, particularly Blair Road/North Capitol Street, Georgia Avenue, 13th Street, 16th Street, Connecticut Avenue, and Wisconsin Avenue.  This will slow down our residents’ commute and will further congest streets running through the District’s Wards 1-4.  The closure of Beach Drive between Calvert Street and Tilden Street—the first planned closure—will only serve to exacerbate the problem.

We urge you to postpone the first closure until after Surge #10 is completed on November 1.  We would like to meet with you very shortly to discuss how this can be accomplished.  My staff will be in touch to try to find a time this week.


Nancy Floreen
President, Montgomery County Council

Roger Berliner
Vice-President, Montgomery County Council
Chair, Transportation Infrastructure Energy and Environment Committee

The Honorable Benjamin Cardin, U.S. Senate

The Honorable Barbara Mikulski, U.S. Senate
The Honorable Christopher Van Hollen, U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Isiah Leggett, Montgomery County Executive
The Honorable Muriel Bowser, Mayor, District of Columbia
The Honorable Brianne Nadeau, D.C. Councilmember, Ward 1
The Honorable Jack Evans, D.C. Councilmember, Ward 2
The Honorable Mary Cheh, D.C. Councilmember, Ward 3
The Honorable Brandon Todd, D.C. Councilmember, Ward 4
Al Roshdieh, Director, Montgomery County Department of Transportation
Leif Dormsjo, Director, D.C. Department of Transportation
Montgomery County Councilmembers

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