Underground parking proposed for the National Mall - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Underground parking proposed for the National Mall

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Tried to find parking recently on the National Mall? Many attending today's Easter Sunrise Service at the Lincoln Memorial drove around and around for half an hour or more. The same for tourists in town for the Cherry Blossom Festival, and natives just looking to enjoy the sights.

Now the non-profit National Coalition To Save The Mall is proposing several levels of underground parking between 9th and 12th Streets that will do double duty as a flood protection facility, as a reservoir during major storms, including separate irrigation cisterns below. There would be separate parking areas for tour buses and cars, and underground connections for metro and the museums, shower facilities for tour bus drivers and bathrooms for tourists.

Chairwoman Judy Scott Feldman says the coalition would like to see a public-private partnership, where the private lenders would recoup their money from bus and car fees. She says her group has taken the proposal to 30 federal and DC agencies and members of Congress and members of the DC Council. So far it has received a good reception. She says many of their suggestions were already proposed by the federal government, which couldn't afford them. She thinks the mall underground parking is a doable idea, but says they need someone to step up as a representative of the public interest, like the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation in the past and independent commissions set up to study the feasibility of things like the African American museum.

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