NPS completes plans for the National Mall

Monday - 7/26/2010, 10:31am EDT

Bill Line, spokesman, National Park Service

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By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

After help from help from 20 federal and local agencies, 32,000 written comments from the American public and four years of effort, "we are basically finished," National Park Service spokesman Bill Line told Federal News Radio, with the National Mall Plan.

Line said the Plan is really "an environmental impact statement that's about 634 pages long and is available on the website for anyone to look at, but more specifically the National Mall Plan really delves into what the National Park Service is supposed to do and how to maintain and to manage and to conserve and to preserve the National Mall for the next 25 to 30 to 40 years."

The subject brought up most often in the comments, said Line, "are creature comforts." The most requested changes have to do with more rest room facilities and food service options.

Other comments addressed how difficult it is to push strollers and wheelchairs over gravel walkways, suggestions to generate money by charging visitor fees (which would require changing federal law), and how the changes might restrict the National Mall as a venue for political speech.

Among the areas to be studied, said Line are how increase sustainability, maximize public transit, increase bicycling, and how to make room for an estimated 500,000 tour buses a year.

There are close to 25 million visitors a year to the National Mall.

Line noted that the Plan does not come with any funding. As a result, the Park Service will try to seek funding from different sources.