Bashon Mann and his children sled down a hill at the Capitol as snow falls in Washington, Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
In anticipation of the snow now blanketing the Northeast, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton on March 4 petitioned the U.S. Capitol Police to allow sledding on Capitol Hill grounds from March 5 to 8.
With seven to eight inches of snow expected in Washington, D.C., the D.C. delegate urged U.S. Capitol Police Board Chair Frank Larkin to grant a waiver of the sledding ban implemented in 1963 under the “Traffic Regulations for the United States Capitol Grounds.”
“This could be the last snowstorm the D.C. area gets this winter, and may be one of the best for sledding in years,” Norton said in a statement. “Children and their parents should able to enjoy sledding on one of the best hills in the city. This is a one-time waiver that will allow D.C. kids to sled while we await a more formal review of the ban, which will likely come after the last snow has fallen in our region. Have a heart, Mr. Larkin, a kid’s heart that is.”
The Capitol Police initially denied the request but promised to “review the request and implement updates as necessary.”
Still, dozens of parents and their children turned out March 5 to successfully sled on the forbidden slope, in the name of D.C. rights, with some holding up signs that read “Sled Free or Die.”
Norton thanked the Capitol Police for not stopping the sledders.
“My thanks to the U.S. Capitol Police, who did not interfere with sledding on the Capitol Grounds today,” Norton said. “I wanted it to be clear that today’s sledding resulted from spontaneous organizing by parents for their kids. There could have been no better showing of the strong community support for overturning—or not enforcing—the sledding ban. Neither the waiver that I requested nor old fashioned commonsense policing about when to use the heavy hand of the law matter to kids. All kids know that D.C. is not Massachusetts and we rarely get enough snow to make having a sled seem worth it. Today, parents who saw the snow could not bring themselves to say, ‘do not touch,’ or worse, ‘keep off America’s front lawn.’ Thank you, Capitol Police.”