MPD Plan for Major Parking Disruption on Capitol Hill a “Bad Idea” Says CM Allen
by Larry Janezich
Friday morning, CM Charles Allen criticized an MPD plan to clear marathon and other race routes of parked cars the night before the event as a “bad idea.” The new MPD policy – the “Clean Route Initiative” – will be first effective for the March 10 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon which includes 26 miles of streets many of which traverse the length and breadth of the city, including more than 60 blocks on or near Capitol Hill. Allen’s remarks came during his regular community office hours at Radici across from Eastern Market.
MPD has not provided a rational for the proposal nor has it asserted that there is a credible threat to the race. Allen said he wants a safe event but he doesn’t see how removing every vehicle from the race route guarantees that, adding, “I’m not interested in security theater.” He has asked MPD to reexamine whether the plan is necessary.
MPD policies are not subject to public comment or review, and CHC asked Allen if he is prepared to pursue a legislative fix if MPD insists on clearing the streets. Allen replied that he wants to give the Chief of Police a chance, and can better answer that question after his (Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety’s oversight) hearing on MPD next week.
MPD’s “Clean Route Initiative” would affect not only the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, but all other marathons and races, including the 33 blocks of the school fund raising event “Capitol Hill Classic” scheduled for May 20. Cars which have not been removed will be towed at the expense of the race organizer – in the latter’s case a group of three DC Public schools.
Capitol Hill residents have long suffered the imposition of outside for-profit races such as the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon (with 25,000 participants) in terms of inconvenience, difficulty in negotiating city streets, trashed start and finishing points, and noise of early morning event organizing. To ask them to find parking for some 1500 cars by pushing them out into neighborhoods beyond the race route seems unreasonable. It appears to be one more example of the city and its agencies prioritizing revenue over the quality of life of its residential community.
The Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety Oversight hearing will be on Thursday, March 1, at 9:30am in Room 120 of the Wilson Building at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.