Capitol Hill Classic May Get Relief from MPD’s Parking Ban

Route of the Capitol Hill Classic 10 K

Route of the Capitol Hill Classic 5 K

Capitol Hill Classic May Get Relief from MPD’s Parking Ban

by Larry Janezich

Roberta Stewart, representing organizers of the 39 year old Capitol Hill Classic, appeared before ANC6B’s Planning and Zoning Committee last night, seeking the ANC’s support for the annual race which benefits public schools on Capitol Hill.  This year’s race is scheduled for May 20.

Organizers are concerned that the race will be affected by the MPD’s “Clear Streets Initiative” which requires cars to be removed from the routes of all races and events because of perceived threats in the wake of tragedies in Charlottesville and Boston.  MPD will impose the ban on the 26 miles of District streets comprising the route of the March 10 for profit Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.

Stewart told the Committee that the “Clear Streets Initiative” requiring the removal of all cars along the 33 blocks of the race is a “big deal for us  – MPD requires race organizers to pay for the removal of any cars left on the route the night before the race, it would cost us $10,000 to implement measures involving towing, MPD personnel, and sand trucks to block intersection.”

Stewart and representatives of Capitol Hill Classic took their concerns to the Mayor’s office and found them sympathetic to their plight.  The petitioners cited their nonprofit status, the benefit to public schools, and the fact that half the race participants live on Capitol Hill.  Stewart said that organizers have worked hard with residents to minimize the inconveniences caused by the race and after 39 years, they fear the new rules would cost them the support of the community.

Stewart told the ANC Committee that the Mayor’s office had committed to a process whereby residents and churches would be allowed to park on the race route by displaying a placard, though how the process would be implemented remained uncertain.

The ANC Committee voted to support the Capitol Hill Classic, and recommended that the Mayor’s office make parking at RFK Stadium available for cars which must be moved from the route.

Yesterday, CM Charles Allen cautioned about the feasibility of the placard plan.  Late last night, Allen responded to an open letter from Capitol Hill resident Daniel Buck who criticized the MPD’s imposing the Clear Street Initiative by fiat and decrying the inability of the Mayor and City Council to do anything about it.

Allen said he has been critical of the MPD program since it was announced, and as the result “they are working on a proposal to create a placard program that would allow residents to request and place a temporary pass on their dashboard and leave the car on the race route. I think this is an unworkable idea though. It would likely be onerous to administer by government, put new requirements on the residents to comply, probably create a lot of confusion overall, and then at the end of it all, this alternative would still leave cars on the race route (which is what they say creates the safety challenge in the first place).

I am quietly exploring other ways to force a change in policy, and have my staff attorneys looking into the feasibility of such an action.”

ANC6C Commissioner Scott Price, also a critic of the Clear Streets Initiative, said in an email to constituents that “this change is aligned with practices in other USA cities to limit the damage an Evil Doer might inflict on runners and crowds along the race route,” adding “It is very disappointing that DC government has not broadly announced this change, nor appears to have made any accommodation for the inconvenience (e.g., arranging for free parking in Senate and House parking spaces)…This change makes the R+R event unendurable for Capitol Hill which is the only densely-populated portion of the race route surrounded on three sides….”

For an earlier post on the Clear Streets Initiative, see here:

For more info on the Capitol Hill Classic, see here:


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6 responses to “Capitol Hill Classic May Get Relief from MPD’s Parking Ban

  1. Golem18

    If the race raises the threat of car bombs or other violence, then the issue is not whether residents should be not be allowed to park their cars on the streets that they live and that make up the course of the race. Rather, it is the race itself that presents the danger and attraction of car bombs and therefore should be canceled. The imbroglio raises the question of whether residents of any neighborhood, particularly the Hill which appears to be the preferred site of these races, should be so inconvenienced that the Mayor considers reasonable that they should have to park their cars a mile away at the stadium. If there is a threat, it is the race itself, not the residents whose cars would too easily be identified by parking permits, VIN numbers, license plates and inspection stickers were they unlikely to be used for a threat. Cancel the race. And permit no more.

  2. Mark Ugoretz

    Cancel the race. I will not vote in November for anyone who continues to support this gross interference with the lives and threat to the safety of residents.

  3. We already have a “placard” system in place — it’s called a Residential Parking Permit, zoned by neighborhood. Allow cars to park along the race route in their permit zone. I’m having a hard time understanding how the mayor’s office, city council, etc., cannot figure this out. This is not rocket science. Dan

    PS I’m also having a hard time figuring out why terrorism is a threat with one race but not another. The logic of this entire “Clean Streets Initiative” defies, um, logic.

  4. In case you’re not irritated enough, from Wikipedia — — details on the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, owned be a Chinese conglomerate and mired in controversies about, among other things, co-mingling profit and non-profit funds.

    More here, “SLU Professor Sues Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon for Fraud, Exploiting Volunteers”

    • Mark Ugoretz

      So the race is a fraud? Another reason to cancel it and refer the matter to the DC Inspector General.

  5. Walking down East Capitol St, Saturday morning during the RnR Marathon I noticed any number of unticketed, untowed cars parked on the street. I asked a police officer standing by a car parked by a no-parking sign what happened to the ticket and tow plan. He knew nothing about it, he said.

    I emailed MPD-1D, asking if whether the confusion caused by conflicting reports from Councilman Allen, Hill Rag, and MPD about the ticket-and-tow plan had resulted in a marathon eve decision to scupper the idea.

    No reply. I’ll take that as a yes, the plan was scuppered.

    Thus, all’s well that ends well, especially for those who procrastinated and left their cars on the street.

    Funny thing is, most sporting events in DC, for example Redskins and Nationals games, invite cars. They have these things called parking lots that make it convenient for people to drive right up the the event and mingle with the crowds.

    Getting back to marathons, there have remarkably few terrorist incidents around the world, and all but one involved spectators. Yet no one has suggested banning spectators. There are more than 30,000 running races in the US annually, from 5k to marathon. And only two terrorist incidents I’m aware of, Boston in 2013, and a failed attempt in Seaside Park, NY, in 2016, both perpetrated by spectators on foot. Likewise, worldwide among who knows how many races a year, more than 100,000 I’m sure, there have been few terrorist attacks. Cricket, on all things, attracts more violence. Go figure.

    Perhaps in anticipation of future marathons, not to mention sports events, community parades, patriotic celebrations, etc., the mayor and city council might take a better, more common sense approach to security. Banning residential parking along a marathon route seems to be the most annoying, least effective tactic. Dan