Ban on Capitol Hill Sledding Continues
The Capitol Police Board opted not to allow sledding on Capitol Hill, despite pleas from the District of Columbia’s representative to temporarily lift the ban as D.C. awaits a major winter storm promising several inches of snow.
“If the forecast holds true, there are many families who will want to enjoy the snow tomorrow,” Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Frank J. Larkin, chairman of the Capitol Police Board, said in a statement Wednesday evening. “Although, for security reasons, the Capitol grounds are not your typical neighborhood hill or playground. “Unfortunately, the Board cannot grant exceptions to the Traffic Regulations for the United States Capitol Grounds,” Larkin continued. “The Capitol Police Board will continue to review the regulations and implement updates as necessary.”
Larkin’s statement was in response to a request from Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton , D-D.C., who asked the Capitol Police Board to temporarily waive the ban from March 5 through March 8 so locals could sled on Capitol Hill, enjoying what could be the last snowfall of the season.
“Don’t blame Congress for the ban on Capitol Hill #sledding,” Norton tweeted after Larkin’s statement Wednesday night. “The Capitol Police Board owns its regulations and can waive them.”
Earlier in the day, Norton implored Larkin to “have a heart,” and allow D.C. residents sled on Capitol Hill in what could be the last snowfall of the season. According to Norton’s office, D.C. residents flooded the SAA’s office Wednesday with calls and emails about the Capitol Hill sledding ban.
But Larkin cited security risks and potential liabilities for sledding injuries (he noted reports of least 20,000 sledding injuries in the U.S. each year) as reasons to uphold the ban. Larkin also pointed to a provision in U.S. code that states it is the duty of the Capitol Police “to prevent any portion of the Capitol Grounds and terraces from being used as playgrounds or otherwise.”
Though current Capitol Police traffic regulations ban sledding on the Hill, the traffic regulations also state the Capitol Police Board has the power to waive those regulations, though it did not to exercise that power Wednesday.
Capitol Police had recently been enforcing the ban on sledding, reportedly after a top member of Congress insisted that sledding should be nixed. And the enforcement will likely continue this weekend.
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