- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 5, 2001

Federal and city officials are encouraging tourists to visit Washington, but the city is hardly a tourist attraction with barricades and snow fences around the District's most prominent landmarks.
Nearly three months after terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, jersey barriers border city memorials, some streets remain closed and some noted tours have been canceled.
"They are [very] ugly," Marybeth Guy of Davenport, Iowa, said of the barriers around the Washington Monument. "It makes me sad because it's a shame that they have to be here."
"If they were a more solid color, maybe if they were green, they'd blend in more," said Joseph Quiroz, a new resident of Manassas. "[The barriers] just don't go with the concept of the landscape."
Since the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa, large white jersey barriers have encircled the Washington Monument to prohibit vehicular traffic. A car ramp allows vehicles to penetrate the monument's perimeter for renovation purposes, but the ramp also serves as a barrier.
The barriers, which are considered temporary, have been in place for nearly four years, and U.S. Park Police officials have no timetable for dismantling them.
Park police officers patrolling around the monuments say they hear many complaints from tourists about the ugliness of the concrete barriers. While tourists generally accept the need for the added protection, many ask if there is a better way.
Meanwhile, Pennsylvania Avenue has been closed in front of the White House since the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. A dozen patrol cars block off E Street NW beside the White House from unauthorized vehicles, an added security measure since the terrorist attacks.
Streets around federal buildings like the Capitol, the State Department and the FBI building have been closed and reopened sporadically. Around the Ellipse, barricades join snow fences to protect one of the area's open spaces, as rows upon rows of walls crowd the area.
And the White House, which has urged Americans to go about their routines this holiday season, has canceled its holiday tours.
"It's outrageous," said D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat and the District's nonvoting representative in Congress. "They have created a morass of security checkpoints at one of the great parks in the District."
"This is a terrible, awful message to send to our visitors, tourists, anybody," Richard Friedman, chairman of Interagency Task Force on Security for the National Captiol Planning Commission (NCPC), said of the city's barriers and barricades.
Noting that the memorials were not built with security in mind, Mr. Friedman said the NCPC task force has submitted recommendations for making security measures around the monuments more aesthetically pleasing with accoutrements like large flower planters, benches and lamp posts.
NCPC will hold a public hearing tonight on these recommendations at its headquarters at 401 9th St. NW. Anyone wishing to attend should call 202/482-7200.
Officials are considering to create a wall around the Washington Monument similar to that on the Pennsylvania Avenue side of the White House, which gives tourists a clear view of the building but blocks their access to it. Such a wall at the Monument would be used solely to prevent vehicular penetration, one Park police officer said.
Raymond Castro of Lubbock, Texas, said he understands the need for security, but seeing barricades around the city does not honor what the nation's capital stands for. Mr. Castro, who was visiting friends in Virginia, said he hopes the barriers will be removed the next time he comes for a visit.
"Barricades aren't part of the nationol capital image," he said. "You see them everywhere and everyone is getting used to them. But it shouldn't become the custom, although I think that's happening."

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