Saturday, January 23, 2010

National Marathon: Good or Bad for SE?

The National Marathon is scheduled for March 20, 2010 and for the last two days my neighborhood listserv has been a buzz over whether the National Marathon is good or bad for SE. As someone who lives off Pennsylvania Ave, I can personally attest to being trapped on race day. Traffic on Penn Ave can back up all the way into Suitland, MD. SE is towards the end of the race, so Pennsylvania Ave is closed at Minnesota Ave from 8 something in the morning until almost 2 PM. For those of you that aren't familiar with this part of town, it basically means our access to 295 and Southeast/Southwest Freeway is cut off. To get to the other side of the river, you have to hobo your way down Good Hope Road.

Without bogging you down in the detailed (and at some moments comical) discussion, below are the basic arguments

Arguments for the Race is Good:
  • Brings visibility to Ward 7
  • Provides Ward 7 residents with an opportunity to see the marathon
  • Opportunity for Ward 7 business to make money (raises brow on this one)
  • Fosters Community

Arguments for the Race is Bad:

  • Cuts off access for Ward 7 residents
  • Some Metro Bus services are suspended, which makes it difficult for public transportation dependent residents to get around
  • Residents can't park on the street in an area where parking is already limited

I personally don't think the arguments on either side are pretty strong. One solution that was proposed was to alternate the location of the starting point. Because we are at the end of the race, we have the longest road closure (up to 4 hours). Where the roads towards the start of the race are only closed for an hour or two.

Although it is a pain in the butt for one day, I'm just honored that we are even on the route.


  1. I think it will prove to be a good thing :)

  2. this race cuts off the entire city. i got caught in adams morgan a few years ago. i think what really is needed is more info to make people aware. i think having the race come to our side of town is an awesome thing to give visibility to our neighborhoods...and to promote physical activity on our streets. We need some more races on our side of town...

  3. I get trapped in my H street NE every year too. I'm sick of DC being a playground. Every year, I hear that this race brings in $$$ for DC, but I can never find a single shred of evidence. You'd think that they would want brag about it. Wouldn't you>