Tuesday, July 5, 2011

National Mall littered with tents and structures for fireworks

Last night The Mall was packed for the fireworks show, as it is every year.  You would think that the National Park Service would have July 4th circled on their calendar as they approve permits for festivals and other gatherings on the National Mall.

Yet we were surprised to see last night that the mall was still littered with large tents and other tall structures, which blocked the view of the fireworks for many.  It pushed the already large crowd to the sides, where it became even harder to see.

Concrete barricades, a large tent, and a particularly large structure (no telling what it is) left a gaping whole in the crowd at this location (to the right of where the photo was taken), which was already pushed between an area of the lawn that was blocked off and another large tent:

The National Park Service should have required that all structures be removed from The Mall by Sunday, July 3rd when they approved the permit for this festival.  Particularly when they saw the festival included many tents and some extremely large tents in the middle of the mall.

This added to the mismanagement of the fireworks display this year, including opening 14th Street as the farthest "checkpoint" (at least officially) open to the east (which really meant just walking between two buses and provided no security at all).  That left crowds of people walking west to 14th street, getting on the mall, and then walking back east again.

Then, the buses that were blocking the streets further east didn't move to allow crowds to leave at the end of the fireworks, when everyone is leaving at the same time:

After the crowd narrowed to get between the buses it then dispursed again, but when the crowd got to Constitution and Pennsylvania Avenues there was nothing to block off those streets.  Therefore streams of pedestrians entered the road from all angles without paying any attention to traffic signals while a tide of vehicles honked their horns and flashed their lights in front of helpless police.

The fireworks on The Mall attract a large number of people to our neighborhood each year--it's no surprise this year.  You would think they would clear the mall of structures that block views and have a better exit plan for the crowds.

1 comment:

  1. A better exit plan is definitely in order.

    But hasn't the Smithsonian event (tents and all) been held on the Mall through the Fourth of July since the 1960s or 70s? Poor planning it may be, but not a surprise at this point.