Draft letter protesting closure of West Gateway Pedestrian NIH entrance



I am writing to protest the impending closure of the West Gateway Pedestrian entrance to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus in Bethesda, MD.  I understand the entrance is to close on September 30, 2018, and I am upset that we did not receive notice of this decision earlier. I am writing to request that the entrance remain open.


I am a resident of Huntington Terrace, which sits across from the NIH on Old Georgetown Road, and this entrance allows residents of my neighborhood to cross the NIH campus and access the Medical Center Metro station. Such access was not restricted until NIH built a fence around the campus in the mid-2000s, and in recognition of this prior use and to allow alternative access to the NIH campus to allow access to Medical Center metro, the West Gateway entrance was established.


This access is important for several reasons.  First, it makes the commute to the Metro more predictable, since it is not dependent on bus schedules, which can be delayed by traffic (which can be substantial in Bethesda). Secondly, it promotes walking, a healthy endeavor that the NIH should encourage rather than discourage. Finally, it increases our neighborhood’s property values since residents can walk to the Medical Center Metro in 15-20 minutes.  This is not true for the Bethesda metro


The NIH Campus Perimeter Shuttle, which operates from 6:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on weekdays, is not an adequate alternative. For onet, the bus arrival is unpredictable and affected by traffic (traffic along Old Georgetown Road and Wisconsin Avenue comes to a crawl during these times).  In addition, it does not accommodate those who wish to cross the campus after 9 a.m.


Please contact the appropriate person at NIH and reverse the decision to close this important access to public transportation for my neighborhood.


Thank you.


Amy Royden-Bloom

On behalf of the Huntington Terrace Civic Association

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