Officers Continue to Block Lane on Pennsylvania Ave.
By Stephen C. Fehr
Secret Senice officers continued to block a lane of Pennsylvania
Avenue in front of the White House yesterday, and the agency
declined to say whether the move is temporary.
Without warning drivers or even the D.C. police, the Secret
Service late Tuesday closed the lane closest to the White
House--the right, east-bound lane of Pennsy]vania between the Old
Executive Office Building and the Treasury Department
head-quarters. The closure came as an advisory committee studying
White House security recommended closing all six lanes of
Pennsylvania between 15th and 17th streets NW.
At first, police barricades were erected, but those were removed
yesterday. In their place, agents parked seven government
vehicles along the two-block stretch, where parking is
prohibited. A uniformed officer sat on a motorcycle on the
sidewalk in front of the White House, and two Secret Service
cruisers were parked in the median of Pennsylvania Avenue.
Secret Service spokesman David Adams would not say yesterday
whether the lane closure was temporary or permanent. Keeping with
the agency's policy of declining to discuss how the president is
protected, Adams would not say what led to the decision.
"We don't like to show our cards, Adams said.
White House officials referred questions to the Secret Service,
but an administration official who asked for anonymity told the
Associated Press that the closing is temporary and does not
necessarily mean the street will be closed permanently as
the advisory committee suggested.
The panel's review of White House security was triggered by a
rash of incidents last fall, including the crash of a small plane
on the South Lawn and a shooting incident that involved a
Colorado man on the sidewalk in front of the executive mansion.
Now, with the bombing of a federal office building in Oklahoma
City, officials are concerned about a truck bomb exploding
outside the White House fence.
At least one organization representing commuters said yesterday
that drivers should have been notified of the agency's decision
and that traffic considerations must be weighed along with
"This is a big step to take precipitously," said Lon Anderson,
spokesman for the American Automobile Association's Potomac
chapter. "We already have enormous traffic congestion in the
Washington area and this will have severe consequences for
More details emerged yesterday about the effect on Metrobus
riders of closing the avenue. Metro officials said 10 bus routes
and five lines operate along Pennsylvania between 15th and 17th
streets. About 11,000 weekday riders travel on buses in front of
the White House.
If any part of the street is closed, "there would be a major
negative impact on Metrobus operations and on our passengers,"
Metro General Manager Lawrence G. Reuter said in a recent letter
to a D.C. civic association.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Pennsylvania Ave. Closure || Peace Park