Post Letter: Zigzagging Across the Mall

Dear Coalition Friends:

Today’s (Monday, October 6th) Washington Post contains the following excellent (and even highlighted) Letter to the Editor:

Zigzagging Across the Mall

The timing of Judy Scott Feldman’s Sept. 28 Close to Home piece, “We Must Save America’s Mall,” was on the money for me. I had just attempted to run a loop around all of the monuments that weekend. It had been a while since I ran that course, and I was stunned by the changes.

I discovered that you can no longer walk a straight line from Abraham Lincoln’s feet to the cool white stone of the Washington Monument and onward from there to the Capitol.

First, the way is blocked by what I call the “Monstrosity Project,” otherwise known as the World War II Memorial.

If you try going south around it, you find yourself on Independence Avenue. No, not on the sidewalk, on the avenue itself. No sidewalk remains unless you cross to the far side of Independence mid-block.

If you can circumnavigate all the orange construction mesh that cuts across the sidewalk, you come to a plywood barricade around the Washington Monument. The monument is now accessible only from the side opposite the Lincoln Memorial. Not that I could find a sign explaining this.

If you manage to get inside through that east opening, you might go around in a circle seeking another way out. I’d hate to be in a wheelchair for that, since there’s quite a slope. Continuing to the Capitol, you find more plywood, Jersey barriers and all manner of mess.

I saw a lot of confused tourists trying to get to the historical sites. They can’t even get a clean shot of the sites with their cameras without all of the junk in the scene. And don’t tell me the plywood is for security. My Miata could pierce it.

Where are the signs explaining what the plywood, construction mesh and chain link are for and how long they will be there? Where are the signs explaining how to get more information and how to detour around all of this? Has the Park Service forgotten that the word “service” appears in its name?

Good grief.


(c) 2003 The Washington Post Company


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