Senate Resolution 254

2nd Session
S. RES. 254

To express the sense of the Senate regarding the reopening of Pennsylvania Avenue.

MAY 14, 1996

Mr. GRAMS submitted the following resolution; which was referred to
the Committee on Governmental Affairs


To express the sense of the Senate regarding the reopening of Pennsylvania Avenue.



The Senate makes the following findings:

(1) In 1791, President George Washington commissioned Pierre Charles L'Enfant to draft a blueprint for America's new capital city; they envisioned Pennsylvania Avenue as a bold, ceremonial boulevard physically linking the U.S. Capitol building and the White House, and symbolically the Legislative and Executive branches of government.

(2) An integral element of the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania Avenue stood for 195 years as a vital, working, unbroken roadway, elevating it into a place of national importance as `America's Main Street'.

(3) 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the White House, has become America's most recognized address and a primary destination of visitors to the Nation's Capital; `the People's House' is host to 5,000 tourists daily, and 15,000,000 annually.

(4) As home to the President, and given its prominent location on Pennsylvania Avenue and its proximity to the People, the White House has become a powerful symbol of freedom, openness, and an individual's access to their government.

(5) On May 20, 1995, citing possible security risks from vehicles transporting terrorist bombs, President Clinton ordered the Treasury Department and the Secret Service to close Pennsylvania Avenue to vehicular traffic for two blocks in front of the White House.

(6) By impeding access and imposing undue hardships upon tourists, residents of the District, commuters, and local business owners and their customers, the closure of Pennsylvania Avenue, undertaken without the counsel of the government of the District of Columbia, has replaced the former openness of the area surrounding the White House with barricades, additional security checkpoints, and an atmosphere of fear and distrust.

(7) In the year following the closure of Pennsylvania Avenue, the taxpayers have borne a tremendous burden for additional security measures along the Avenue near the White House.

(8) While the security of the President is of grave concern and is not to be taken lightly, the need to assure the President's safety must be balanced with the expectation of freedom inherent in a democracy; the present situation is tilted far too heavily toward security at freedom's expense.


It is the sense of the Senate that the President should order the immediate, permanent reopening to vehicular traffic of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House, restoring the Avenue to its original state and returning it to the People.

Pennsylvania Ave. Closure || Peace Park