Photo by Thetejon.
Last night the ANC met for its February session. And like many sessions, a good deal of it was spent complaining about race-generated street closures. And despite the fact that the closures in question were down to a single block, the resistance was strong as ever. Of course, that’s not all they talked about:
Starting back a couple years ago, the ANC decided to start pushing back more against all the requests to close roads for races. The argument was that too many organizations were trying to use Georgetown for their races and it was creating too much of a burden on the neighborhood.
In order to start making distinctions between “good” races and “bad”, the ANC starte insisting that all races be predominantly charitable in purpose. This led to an epic showdown with the controversial Charles Brodsky (a Fenty crony) over several of his DC Triathlon events.
Since then-and perhaps in response to the ANC’s efforts–most organizers of events calling for street closures in Georgetown have presented their case about how charitable their cause is. Moreover, organizers (with help from the city, no doubt) have learned to minimize the amount of street closures necessary in Georgetown.
But last night there were three such requests on the agenda. And that sort of concentration is bound to raise their hackles. The first request came from the Nike half marathon scheduled for April. The thing is, though, that the race won’t even take place in Georgetown. But the organizers will be staging most of their activities either at the Washington Harbour or the Nike store. Thus they’d like to close Thomas Jefferson for the day of the race.
It didn’t take long for the ANC to cut to the chase: while the overall race meets the charitable element, this particular closure had nothing to do with the race. It seems solely designed to draw runners and spectators into the store. The organizers tried to spin the closure as charitable since the street would be (supposedly) turned into a street fair. The commissioners weren’t buying it.
In the end, though, the commissioners told the organizers to come back next month after some more rounds of discussion. Essentially, the ANC challenged them to make this particular closure more explicitly charitable.
A second road closure request then came up. It was from WABA and called for Rock Creek Parkway to be closed early one Sunday for BikeDC. This request met no objection.