Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Public Opinion Sought On Temporary Closures of Colonial Parkway

The National Park Service (NPS) at Colonial National Historical Park wants to hear from citizens regarding a proposal to implement recurring, temporary closures of a seven-mile section of the Colonial Parkway to motor vehicles.

The proposal comes in part following the popularity of the use of the Colonial Parkway by cyclists and pedestrians last spring and summer after a portion of the parkway was shutdown at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. The parkway was closed to vehicle traffic for roughly three months to provide a safe, socially distanced activity for citizens to enjoy while being outside.

The section of Colonial Parkway that would be affected is a seven-mile stretch between Route 199 at Kingspoint in Williamsburg and Route 359 near the entrance to Jamestown Island. That stretch of the parkway is also routinely closed for a day each May for the annual Pedal the Parkway event in honor of National Bike Month, although this year the event was held over a three-day weekend period at the end of April. NPS partners with the BikeWalk Williamsburg organization for Pedal the Parkway.

The purpose of the proposed recurring, temporary closures would be to offer more such recreational opportunities to experience Colonial Parkway free from vehicle traffic.

Among the proposals being considered are closing off that section of the Colonial Parkway one Saturday or Sunday a month from spring to fall; one entire weekend a month from spring to fall; one weekday a month to prevent impact to weekend visitors, but also facilitate use by local visitors for bicycles and pedestrians; and an entire day or half day closures.

NPS is seeking public input for consideration on the proposal in general and for specifics about timing and frequency of the closures. For more information, visit the NPS planning website. Comments are being accepted through May 24 and are being accepted online here.

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