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: http://bit.ly/2BO028V
For more info on the Capitol Hill Classic, see here: https://www.capitolhillclassic.com/