I was astounded to read that the Navy determined that adding 900 parking spaces at Walter Reed in Bethesda would have a “negligible effect.” [The Gazette, Sept. 26]
I live in the Wyngate neighborhood of Bethesda and work in the Air Rights Building in downtown Bethesda. My staff has noted that over the past three years traffic has seriously deteriorated since the consolidation of the Walter Reed Medical Center onto the Bethesda campus. An employee who lives in Gaithersburg noted it takes longer to go the first 2 miles than to finish the last 10 to her home. The same is true in the morning. If you have not driven on Route 355 between downtown Bethesda and the Beltway during rush hour I urge you to see it for yourself.
I cannot believe that any intelligent being could consider adding more traffic with the horrible situation we have in place today. I love the simpleton logic that looks only at the incremental effect on traffic for each isolated project. But it’s already a parking lot. How can we allow any new construction? No, it is not just Walter Reed. The NIH campus has expanded by leaps and bounds and it too is creating hundreds of new trips on the local roads.
I am very disappointed in my political leaders — local, state and federal. They chase federal jobs and dollars without any regard for the residents who already live here. Bethesda is a great place but meaningful traffic improvements have been nonexistent despite a huge influx of new traffic. It’s too late to undo the construction which means we need radical solutions like an elevated express lanes or a tunnel to get past Walter Reed and NIH. And yes we are talking big bucks. But the “studies” seem to show that it is not necessary. Well, stop looking at studies and get in a car. It’s a disaster and I feel my political representatives have dropped the ball.
Allan Freedman, Bethesda