Organizers of the 39th Annual Capitol Hill Classic have announced that the Clear Routes Initiative, which forbids parking along the route of events held on District streets, will be fully enforced for the May 20th fundraiser.
The event is a major annual fundraiser for the Capitol Hill Cluster School, a group of three District Public Schools including Peabody Primary Campus, Watkins Elementary and Stuart-Hobson Middle Schools. The race is run entirely within the Capitol Hill neighborhood and is expected to draw 3,500 participants. The event includes a fun run, 3K course and 10K course. The enforcement of the Clear Routes Initiative means cars must be removed along both sides of the street for approximately 33 residential blocks, said race Chair Jason Levine.
Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and the Executive Office of the Mayor (EOM) have informed race organizers that the Clear Routes Initiative will be enforced along the entire race route on both sides of streets. No cars may park along the race route. Cars left on the route may be ticketed and/or towed by MPD and the Department of Public Works (DPW).
Levine said that Capitol Hill Classic organizers are obligated to pay for ‘no parking’ signage along the route, to place the signs or to pay the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) to do so, and to pay for the removal of vehicles left along the course before the start of the event as well as the large, sand-filled dump trucks that would block vehicular entry to the raceway. He said that the costs of doing so for the Capitol Hill Classic would be about $10,000 –which he felt was a tremendous amount of money to ask from the public-school fundraiser.
The fundraiser usually brings between $50,000 and $90,000 for the Capitol Hill Clusters Schools. This year, Levine is estimating $50,000 but adds that it is hard to determine prior to the week leading up to the race. “In DC, runners traditionally sign up very late,” Levine said, “20% of the runners will sign up in the last week.”
No Concessions to Be Made
MPD has enforced the Clear Routes Initiative this year during events held on District streets in an effort to prevent acts of terrorism that utilize vehicles as weapons. It was first enforced during the Cupid’s Undies Run on Feb. 10.
The no-parking ban was not enforced on Capitol Hill during the March 10th Rock n Roll Marathon, a for-profit event organized by the Chinese-owned company Competitor Group (CGI). That event drew 25,000 people running on about 26 miles of District streets. It seemed that parked cars were treated according to the understanding reached between Councilmember Allen, the Mayor’s Office and Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) as a result of public feedback.
Levine expressed concern that the restrictions imposed by the Clear Routes Initiative would affect support for the Capitol Hill Classic and noted that organizers had made every effort to have the restrictions ameliorated or lifted completely, adding that Councilmember Charles Allen (Ward 6-D) had been “one of our strongest advocates.”
“My guess is that most of the work that has been done at the Mayor’s office has been as a result of his efforts,” he said.
However, Levine said that the Mayor’s Office was not able to negotiate any exemptions with MPD. “There were no concessions to be made,” he said.
Levine noted that a representative from the Executive Office of the Mayor (EOM) had offered to help mitigate the cost, which he appreciated.
“I’m not in a position to say if that is true or not. We will see,” he said, noting that bills associated with enforcing the initiative will only be received after the event.
A representative from the EOM said, “Our priority is always the safety of participants and spectators. This year, we are working with the Metropolitan Police Department and event organizers on the implementation of new safety measures ensuring that everyone can prepare for full implementation going forward.
The EOM had previously suggested providing placards to exempt residents and churches from the restrictions but was unable to negotiate any concessions on the parking restrictions with MPD, from whom the policy originated.
In response to a request for comment, MPD sent a press release noting the street closures related to the race and said that the Clear Routes Initiative was now a policy that had been applied to many events.
“This initiative applied to races and events of all sizes, to include the Capitol Hill Classic,” said the representative. “It was also enforced during the Rock n Roll Marathon, to the extent possible.”
“No Parking” signs will be posted by the DDOT 72 hours in advance, indicating roads along which parked cars must be relocated. A listing of Race Route Road Closures and estimates for their duration can be found on the Capitol Hill Classic website.
Road closures for each race include:
- C St NE from 5th St NE to 4th St NE
- Maryland Ave from 4th St NE to 2nd St NE/Constitution
- Constitution from 2nd St NE to 1st St NE
- 1st St NE from Constitution to Independence
- Independence from 1st St SE to 3rd St SE
- 3rd St SE from Independence to East Capitol
- East Capitol from 3rd St SE to 22nd St NE, going around the SOUTH side of Lincoln Park
- 22nd St NE from East Capitol to the entrance to RFK parking lots 6 & 7
- 4th St NE from C St NE to East Capitol
- East Capitol from 3rd St NE to 12th St NE, going around the SOUTH side of Lincoln Park
- 3rd St NE from East Capitol to Maryland
- Maryland from 3rd St NE to C St NE/5th St NE
The Fun Run:
- The loop around Stanton Park.
Hoping Neighbors Won’t Be Surprised
The Capitol Hill Classic has partnered with the Waze navigation app this year. Road closures for the race can be found on Waze.
“We have been hitting the neighborhood list-servs, school messaging boards and email lists of those who have previously registered [for the race],” Levine said. “We’re hoping neighbors won’t be surprised on race day.”
DPW did not immediately reply to requests for comment. This story will be updated as replies are received.
Learn more about the Capitol Hill Classic, its routes and how to volunteer on their website. To register questions or concerns about the Clear Routes Initiative, contact the Mayor’s Office at (202) 727-2643 or via email at [email protected]
Earlier versions of this story and previous stories on this topic have referred to the MPD policy as the ‘Clean Routes Initiative’. MPD has clarified it is in fact the ‘Clear Routes Initiative’. The Hill Rag regrets the error.