The Sept. 18 Metro article “Rush hour returns with a vengeance” reported that though rush-hour traffic has rebounded close to 2019 figures, Metro ridership is lagging at only 40-some percent of pre-pandemic levels. Metro faces a $500 million annual shortfall. The new Metro general manager is counting on improved ridership. Elected officials in Virginia, Maryland and D.C. should be rooting for the same thing before they inevitably are asked to kick in higher subsidies.
Given this background, why hasn’t there been a louder outcry from the area’s congressional delegation after a federal agency chose to encourage even more car commuters to abandon Metro and get back onto the roadways?
The National Park Service’s preliminary decision to allow cars for most of the year on upper Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park, where they have not been for the past 2 ½ years, probably shouldn’t be made based on anything outside of the park’s boundary. Once the NPS decided to stick its nose into the broader public policy issue of commuter traffic flow, one would hope it would also recognize how its decision affects Metro ridership.
Our state, local and federal elected officials presumably want to tell the public that all no-cost policy decisions to promote Metro use have been exhausted before asking for more high-cost public subsidies.
Stopping the NPS from letting cars on upper Beach Drive would be a good place to start.
Eric Brenner, Silver Spring