CHAMPS and our business members urge our elected officials to consider ways to protect the Capitol without imposing limitations on our business and economic development.
Permanent fencing around the Capitol and associated buildings is a detriment to our neighborhood and makes Capitol Hill a less appealing destination. Capitol Hill is not only the Capitol complex, it is a thriving multigenerational neighborhood where approximately 40,000 residents live, work, and play. Permanent fencing with razor wire is not a welcoming gateway to our neighborhood.
We are particularly concerned about the closing of Constitution and Independence Avenues, which creates a huge separation between the Capitol Hill neighborhood and downtown. The fencing impacts visitors, tourists, and residents stopping by retail businesses and restaurants. Permanent closure of these roads will hamstring customers’ access to our small businesses at the same time that vaccine availability gives us hope for bringing more people into stores and restaurants. Additionally, permanent fencing gives residents and visitors alike a feeling of imminent threat and can deter people from coming to the neighborhood. Shoppers and diners have many choices across DC, and as we seek to emerge from this pandemic that has decimated small businesses, we ask that decision makers consider safety options that strike a balance with the traditional openness of our neighborhood and access to retail and dining.