The Parkway management plan proposes two important changes:
1) Focus parkway management and funding primarily on DRIVING
2) Place the Parkway on Historic Register
Neither of these changes is inherently bad, but both could result in closures or limitations for cyclists. By placing their management focus exclusively on driving, they can make management decisions such as restricting cyclists during summer months or certain times of day. They can also close certain sections of the Parkway to cyclists (and runners, hikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts).
By placing the Parkway on the Historic Register, they cannot make any future modifications to the road for bicycle safety without undergoing an arduous bureaucratic process.
Unless cyclists voice their concerns about the management plan now, managers can justify these future closures by saying, “The public had an opportunity to comment on the management plan, and we received no concerns from the cycling community about these proposed changes.”
Having worked with the National Park Service on other management plans, I can assure you that this is neither alarmist nor conspiratorial. It’s simple math. If the Park Service does not hear from cyclists and other supporters of a bike-safe, bike-friendly Parkway, they won’t act on their behalf. If the Park hears an outcry of support for cycling on the Parkway, they will listen.
We’ve received hundreds of responses from readers on this issue; make sure the Park Service also receives your responses before the public comment period closes on Friday.