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14th Street Reopens; Sporadic Closures Possible

updated 10:26 a.m.
It remains unclear who originally proposed that a busy stretch of 14th Street NW in downtown Washington be closed Monday for a 13-hour stretch.

But the request has been rescinded, and traffic for the most part is whizzing smoothly along 14th Street between Constitution and Pennsylvania avenues, which officials originally said would be closed from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The closure began as scheduled but was over by 7 a.m.

D.C. transportation department spokeswoman Karyn Le Blanc said the U.S. Secret Service requested the unusual, extended shutdown, apparently to provide security outside a U.S.-China economic conference where President Obama was making a morning address. But the agency later realized "they did not need to close all day," Le Blanc said.

However, Secret Service spokesman Darrin Blackford told Washington Post reporter James Hohmann that the agency "did not request the closure of 14th Street for any extended period of time. The only closure anticipated by the Secret Service was for the brief period of time prior to the arrival and departure of [Obama's] motorcade."

Blackford referred inquiries to D.C. police.

Temporary street closures to accomodate the president's comings and goings are common in Washington.

In addition to Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and several top-level Chinese officials are attending the first U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

Original Post
Fourteenth Street NW between Constitution and Pennsylvania avenues will be closed in both directions Monday from 5.a.m. to 6.p.m. for a special event, the D.C. Department of Transportation said.

Morning delays are predicted. DDOT is advising drivers to use the Memorial or Theodore Roosevelt bridges as alternative routes. Drivers should leave earlier or later than usual and allow for additional travel time, DDOT said, and telecommuting or taking Metro is recommended.

Drivers who usually travel northbound on the 14th Street bridge from Virginia should continue on the Southeast-Southwest Freeway and take the exit for 12th Street or Seventh Street to access downtown Washington. Traffic approaching the closed intersection at 14th Street northbound and Constitution Avenue will be directed to turn right on Constitution and make a left turn on 12th Street Northwest to get around the closure.

Those traveling southbound on the 14th Street bridge should use Ninth Street and then continue on the Southeast-Southwest Freeway outbound into Virginia. Drivers approaching the closure at 14th Street southbound and Pennsylvania Avenue will be directed to turn left on Pennsylvania Avenue and make a right turn on Ninth Street to get around the closure.

-- Yamiche Alcindor

By Editor  |  July 27, 2009; 10:26 AM ET
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What's the special event? I suppose it may not matter in the end, but for completeness, I wish DDOT would provide this kind of detail in their releases.

Posted by: lemworld | July 26, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Yeah what IS the event?

Ive been looking everywhere and I cant find it.

Posted by: jpl1019 | July 27, 2009 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Yes, if DDOT didn't provide the information, you'd think that the WaPo would *ask*, rather than just dutifully report the press release.

Having said all that, I don't believe the WaPo is *that* incompetent; I rather expect it is "voluntarily cooperating" with DDOT in not publicizing the nature of this "special event". And such a glaring hole in the story pretty much tells the world that this is some kind of "security" related event.

It's sad that we now have to read between the lines, like Soviet readers of Pravda, to try to divine the news that both editors and government feel they cannot say out loud.

Posted by: DupontJay | July 27, 2009 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Sure enough: a little digging shows that 14th street is being closed in order to provide a security perimeter for the Reagan Building, where talks between the US and China will be held today.

I guess the security Nazis -- and their willing accomplices at the WaPo -- didn't feel they could trust mere citizens with that piece of information.

Looking forward to the day when all government activity is cloaked in, not official secrecy, but a banally ubiquitous sense that "mentioning it would best be avoided". I think we're already awfully close to that sad state of affairs.

Posted by: DupontJay | July 27, 2009 12:52 AM | Report abuse

of course they are not giving out details in deference to requests from the security types. Its a very high level meeting with POTUS no less. But heck, this is on WaPo's on site:

"Geithner and Clinton will be co-leaders of the U.S. delegation, joined by their Chinese counterparts, Vice Premier Wang Qishan and State Councilor Dai Bingguo.

The meeting will include officials from various departments. On the U.S. side, Energy Secretary Steven Chu will be part of a team of officials from the Environmental Protection Agency, the White House and the State Department involved in the global climate discussions.

The Chinese are bringing a delegation of 150 officials, one of the largest ever to visit the United States. Highlighting the importance of the meetings, President Barack Obama will address the opening session. "

Posted by: Section107 | July 27, 2009 2:54 AM | Report abuse

There is no mention on of any disruption.

Buses don't exist as far as metro is concerned.

Posted by: chunche | July 27, 2009 4:59 AM | Report abuse

Another goddam dirty bomb.

Posted by: blasmaic | July 27, 2009 5:50 AM | Report abuse

If the local transportation agency COULD provide more detail, the WOULD. You should be directing your questions to the Secret Service. If they request the information not be shared to the public, your local authorities will not release it. AND, if you inquire, they will more than likely brush you off with the coldness of dry ice.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | July 27, 2009 7:16 AM | Report abuse

as it turns out, it was all a bunch of hooey for nothing. I sailed right up 14th Street this morning with no problem. and this was at 7:30 am.

Posted by: jwg9004 | July 27, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

well it's 8:10am - I got 2 two email alerts yesterday from the automated DC Traffic Alert system last night that 14th St would be closed all day. Nothing so far that it is going to be open instead.

Posted by: hohandy1 | July 27, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe you didn't catch this...The U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue begins today at the Ronald Reagan Building, with Mr. President giving opening.

Posted by: alaiyo626 | July 27, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if Obama is trying to rein in the heavy-handed tactics of the jackbooted thugs called Secret Service.

I, for one, believe Mr. Obama will overrule his overweening caretakers and re-open Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House, take down the concrete bollards, and make this an open city and open government again after years of Reagan-Bush-W-Cheney policies of paranoia!!!

Posted by: bs2004 | July 27, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

All evening PRTC OmniRide buses that normally take 14th St will be detouring along 15th today. Missed and alternate stops are as follows:

Dale City-Washington, Lake Ridge-Washington, Route 1

Stops Missed:
• 14th & New York
• 14th & F (Hamilton Square)
• 14th & Pennsylvania (Commerce Dept)

Alternate Stops:
• H & Madison
• 15th & H (Metro stop)
• 15th & F (Metro stop)
• 14th & Independence

Montclair, South Route 1

Stops Missed:
• 14th & F (Hamilton Square)
• 14th & Penn (Commerce Dept)

Alternate Stops:
• 11th & G (Metro Center)
• 15th & F (Metro stop)
• 14th & Independence

Posted by: nevermindtheend | July 27, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I doubt Pennsylvania at the White House will ever be opened to vehicle traffic again. It is really close to the front of the White House, not to mention that the pedestrian mall that has been created is paty of the tourist attraction, allowing people place to gather and take pics of the White House.

What I would like to see re-opened is E Street. If it were restricted to cars buses or trucks, I don't see why that can't happen. It is much further from the White House than Penn. Ave. Only real reason it is closed is to provide parking for the Secret Service.

Posted by: thetan | July 27, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

So then probably thousands of motorists took alternate routes or avoided the area today because of an apparent miscommunication between DC Police and the Secret Service?

Posted by: DCUMD | July 27, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

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