The National Park Service announced today it will be “limiting all vehicular and pedestrian access” around the Tidal Basin once the cherry blossoms start to bloom, which would close down access to parking and paddle boats as soon as this weekend. Drivers will be asked to take alternate routes from the streets around the Basin, and several monuments will be closed.
Pedestrians will still be able to access the Tidal Basin and admire the flowers, the agency said, until crowds surpass a certain capacity. Once the area becomes unsafely crowded, the Park Service is prepared to shut down the Tidal Basin area entirely until the trees have lost most of their blooms.
The closure would be unprecedented, and would restrict pedestrian access on all trails around the Basin from Ohio Drive SW to Maine Avenue SW and along Independence Avenue SW. National Park officials are encouraging out-of-towners to enjoy the blossoms remotely via their “BloomCam” 24-hour livestream of the Basin, and DC officials have suggested locals check out the blooms in more spacious areas like the Arboretum, around the National Cathedral, and Oxon Run Park.