Dear Coalition Friends:
What would you do to change America’s front yard?
This letter below is in response to The Washington Post’s July 4th “Topic A,” “What would you do to change America’s front yard?”
The parking issue — for tour buses as well as cars — will not go away until we address it, all parties at the table, in an open public dialogue. Why is that not happening for the National Mall?
THE WASHINGTON POST
By Don Dilworth, Silver Spring
With all due respect for the luminaries who shared their ideas about an expanded and improved Mall [Sunday Opinion, Topic A, July 4], none of these dreams will improve a visitor’s experience until we solve the area’s parking problem, and the answer is right under our feet.
Some years ago, I was driving a rental car up and down a broad avenue in Barcelona, fruitlessly searching for a parking space, until I realized that every two or three blocks I’d been passing entrances to underground parking. In fact, the entire avenue was the roof of one huge parking garage.
Since we now have similar parking technology at countless shopping malls and hotels, why not put a parking garage under the entire central portion of the Mall between, say, Third and 14th streets? No improvement to the Mall would be more appreciated by visitors than access to secure, nearby, out-of-sight parking.
The “comments” section on the Post’s website includes a reference to Budapest, where an automated underground parking garage transformed the cathedral area from an unsightly parking lot into an attractive open public plaza.