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Fourth of July: Activities & Access

Public Safety on the 4th of July

Dwight Pettiford
Acting Director, U.S. Park Police
Friday, July 2, 2004; 11:00 AM

Dwight Pettiford, acting director of the U.S. Park Police, was online Friday, July 2, at 11 a.m. ET to discuss public safety and security concerns, access and mobility in and around the city, road closures and checkpoints for the Fourth of July festivities in the nation's capital.

A transcript follows.

Editor's Note: Washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Live Online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions.


Washington, D.C.: How early is there going to access granted to Lady Bird Johnson park in Arlington, Va. for the 4th?

Dwight Pettiford: The park will have normal hours, no restrictions.


Reston, Va.: I have a 10:00 a.m. event in town on the 4th, and will be driving in on Rte. 66. Will I have any trouble getting on/through Constitution Ave. at that hour?

Dwight Pettiford: Con. will be closed at 6 am, however there will be access off TR Bridge to E street expressway which can take you Norht of the closures.


washingtonpost.com: Dwight Pettiford, welcome to washingtonpost.com on the kickoff the weekend's July 4th holiday festivities in the nation's capital.

Reports are saying that this weekend tourists are in Washington in record numbers. What plans do you and the National Park Service have to manage all the people who will be attending the events on the Mall and Monument grounds?

Dwight Pettiford: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak with you about July 4th events.
Since 9-11 the USPP have used a very detailed operation plan for this event that ensures a safe and secure environment with an open atmosphere. We welcome all to attend the fantastic festivities sponsored by the National Park Service.


Washington, D.C. :
What time will the fireworks on the Mall start, and will the security measures be basically the same as last year?

Dwight Pettiford: The fireworks start at 9:10 pm and the security will be very similar with improvements from years past.


Washington, D.C.: Will the grounds of the Washington Monument be open so people may view the fireworks from there?

Dwight Pettiford: Yes, the grounds will be open.


Washington, D.C.: What items are not allowed to be brought onto the West Lawn for the NSO show? Backpacks? Beach towels? Wine? Cameras? Food? Radios? etc. ... Thanks

Dwight Pettiford: You can not bring glass containers, weapons, no grills, no alcoholic beverages or fireworks. All coolers, backpacks and packages will be subjected to inspection.


Washington, D.C.: What's the best place to view the fireworks and not have to deal with 500,000 of my closest friends?

Dwight Pettiford: Any place in the National Mall, please come join the party.


Picnic: Can we bring in a bookbag with food to have a picnic or are bags not allowed? What about folding chairs and umbrellas? I've never been there for the 4th and am not sure what is allowed. Thanks. Happy 4th.

Dwight Pettiford: Yes, you can bring a book bag with food, but all bags and coolers are subject to inspection.


Falls Church, Va.: What time will the Capitol grounds be open for access for the concert and where will the security checkpoints be this year?

Dwight Pettiford: The gates open at 3pm and the security checkpoints will be the same as last year.


washingtonpost.com: Map: Getting There


17th and Penn. NW, Washington, D.C.: is there a map or list of the street closings available?

Dwight Pettiford: Yes, follow the link below to see a map of the entire area.


Long Island, N.Y.: Hoping you know this one -- will it be televised nationally?

Dwight Pettiford: The concert on the US Capitol grounds will be , but the fireworks will NOT.


Dwight Pettiford: Thank you this opportunity I hope that some of the information I provided is useful. Please come out this weekend and enjoy the celebration of our Nations birthday. NO RAIN!


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