Sometimes in the news business, reporting the "big" picture obscures the "little" side effects on people. A "big" item such as subway construction, for example, can have the "little" side effect of disrupting the lives of motorists, residents and business people. The arrival or departure of a foreign dignitary in Washington by helicopter can snarl traffic for the common folk. The list goes on and on.
So, as a service to local commuters, MetroScene will report the little picture before the big picture. East Executive Avenue, that narrow artery between the White House and the Treasury Building running from E Street north to Pennsylvania Avenue, will be closed to traffic from 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays until at least April 4, according to the National Park Service. It's favored as a shortcut by many workbound drivers, notably from Virginia.
It will remain open during the evening rush hours.
Okay, now the big picture: The closure is necessary, park service spokeswoman Sandra Alley said, because of construction that began yesterday on a new $771,000 security screening pavilion for White House tourists.
The pavilion, to be located on the west side of East Executive Avenue, will be used to check visitors for guns, bombs, knives, munitions and other items that may be dangerous to the president. It will replace a small temporary structure in the same area.
The new building will complement the design of the White House's nearby East Wing, the newest part of the executive mansion. That wing was built in 1942 during the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration.