A part of Little Falls Parkway in Bethesda will close to vehicular traffic on weekends starting Saturday. It will be open only to bicyclists and pedestrians. Credit: File photo

This story was updated at 8:30 p.m. on March 23, 2021, to clarify the hours the closures will be in effect

Montgomery Parks will again close the section of Little Falls Parkway between Arlington and River roads in Bethesda to vehicle traffic on weekends. The road will be limited to bicyclists and pedestrians.

The restrictions will be in effect from 7 a.m. on Saturdays to 6 p.m. on Sundays starting this coming weekend, according to a press release.

Shortly after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020, the parkway was closed Fridays through Sundays between Arlington Road and Massachusetts Avenue. That allowed bicyclists and pedestrians more room to exercise while ensuring social distancing.

After Labor Day, the county reopened the stretch to vehicles on Fridays, and it was reopened to vehicles seven days a week in December.

The December reopening was due to reduced staffing and fewer park police officers working, caused by rising COVID-19 cases in the county, Trails Master Planner and Trails Program Supervisor Darren Flusche told Bethesda Beat at the time.

In response to the reopening of the road to vehicles on weekends, more than 1,000 people signed a petition opposing the decision.

Director of Montgomery Parks Mike Riley acknowledged that feedback in a press release on March 15.

“Over the winter, we temporarily returned Little Falls Parkway to vehicular use due to certain operational challenges. Since then, we have heard the many requests from the public to reopen it for pedestrians and bicyclists on the weekends, and we are happy to be able to do so,” Riley said in the press release.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com