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Mayor Bowser Hosts Public Safety Briefing for Fourth of July

Friday, June 30, 2017
Washington, DC to Welcome Nearly 700,000 Visitors for National and Local Celebrations

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Mayor Bowser hosted a public safety briefing on the District’s preparations for the city’s upcoming Independence Day Celebrations. This year’s celebrations, which will be broadcast nationwide, are themed A Capitol Fourth. The events will be coupled with local celebrations across the city, including the annual Palisades and Barracks Row Fourth of July parades. The District’s public safety response includes increased staffing levels for the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services (FEMS), along with collaboration with the National Park Service and federal partners. The Mayor was joined at the briefing by Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham, DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services Chief Gregory Dean, Office of Unified Communications (OUC) Director Karima Holmes, and Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) Interim Director Brian Baker.

“Over the next several days, we will welcome thousands of visitors to Washington, DC and we want to ensure that everyone is able to enjoy our city safely,” said Mayor Bowser. “Our public safety agencies are prepared for a busy Fourth of July, and now we want to ensure that everyone celebrating knows what they can do to have a safe and enjoyable holiday.”

“Celebrating the Fourth of July in the nation's capital is a special occasion and the Metropolitan Police Department is committed to facilitating a safe, welcoming and inclusive celebration,” says Chief of Police Peter Newsham. “The safety of all District residents and visitors will remain a top priority.”

“There is no better place in the world to view the fireworks on the Fourth of July than from the National Mall. We urge all residents and visitors to the nation’s capital to leave the lighting and use of fireworks to the professionals,” said FEMS Chief Gregory Dean.

Preparations for the holiday celebration include street closures and modified schedules for WMATA bus and rail transportation and DC Circulator buses, along with additional bike corrals to accommodate visitors at the National Mall. A list of scheduled service adjustments in place for Tuesday, July 4, 2017 is provided below. Scheduled street closures and other contingencies are subject to change. Residents and visitors will be able to receive important and emergency information from HSEMA and the National Park Police by texting JULY4DC to 888777. Anyone experiencing an emergency should call 911. Residents seeking non-emergency city services should continue to call 311.

“Our call takers and dispatchers are ready for the big day,” said Karima Holmes, Director of DC’s Office of Unified Communications, which handles all emergency and non-emergency calls for the District. “We are providing additional resources to make sure anyone who needs to call for services is taken care of quickly and efficiently.”

“The Independence Day Celebrations here in the District are a perfect example of the close collaboration between District, federal, and regional partners to ensure safe, well planned events here in the nation’s capital. Throughout the July 4th events, District Emergency Operations Center will be activated and staffed by representatives from key District and Federal response agencies,” said Brian Baker, Interim Director at HSEMA.

MPD and National Park Police Road Closures

Closed from 6 am until approximately 10 pm.:

  • Arlington Memorial Bridge and Arlington Memorial Circle on the Virginia end, to and including Lincoln Memorial Circle in the District
  • Rock Creek Parkway south of Virginia Avenue, NW to Lincoln Memorial Circle, including all approaches and ramps
  • Parkway Drive from Rock Creek Parkway to Lincoln Memorial Circle
  • Henry Bacon Drive, NW
  • Daniel Chester French Drive, SW
  • Lincoln Memorial Circle and all approaches and ramps into and out of Lincoln Memorial Circle, including Henry Bacon Drive N, Daniel Chester French Drive SW, 23rd Street, NW and 23rd Street, SW
  • Ramp from Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge to Constitution Avenue, NW and Independence Avenue, SW and Ohio Drive, SW; all inbound traffic from the bridge will be directed to the E Street Expressway
  • Constitution Avenue, NW from 23rd Street, NW to 14th Street, NW
  • 7th Street NW from Constitution Avenue, NW to Independence Avenue, SW
  • 4th Street NW from Constitution Avenue, NW to Independence Avenue, SW
  • 15th Street, NW from E Street, NW south to Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW
  • 17th Street, NW from E Street, NW south to Independence Avenue, SW
  • 18th Street, NW between Constitution Avenue, NW and Virginia Avenue, NW
  • 19th Street, NW from Constitution Avenue, NW to C Street, NW
  • 20th Street, NW from Constitution Avenue, NW to C Street, NW
  • 21st Street, NW from Constitution Avenue, NW to C Street, NW
  • 22nd Street, NW from Constitution Avenue, NW to C Street, NW
  • Virginia Avenue, NW from Constitution Avenue, NW to 18th Street, NW
  • C Street, NW from 17th Street, NW to 18th Street, NW
  • D Street, NW from 17th Street, NW to 18th Street, NW
  • Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW to Maine Avenue, SW
  • Independence Avenue, SW from 14th Street, SW to 23rd Street, SW, including merge with Rock Creek Parkway
  • Madison Drive, NW from 15th Street, NW to 3rd Street, NW
  • Jefferson Drive, SW from 15th Street, SW to 3rd Street, SW
  • Ohio Drive, SW from the Inlet Bridge to Independence Avenue, SW
  • West Basin Drive, SW from Ohio Drive, SW to Independence Avenue, SW
  • East Basin Drive, SW east of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial to Ohio Drive, SW
  • Ramp from southbound and northbound George Washington Memorial Parkway (GWMP) to Memorial Avenue /Circle
  • Ramp from northbound Va. Route 110 to Memorial Avenue/Circle
  • Ramp from Va. Route 27 to Memorial Avenue/Circle
  • The right lane of northbound George Washington Memorial Parkway from the 14th Street Bridge to Theodore Roosevelt Island.

Closed from 6 am until approximately 10 pm:

  • 6th Street between Pennsylvania, NW and Constitution, NW
  • 9th Street between Pennsylvania, NW and Constitution, NW
  • 10th Street between Pennsylvania, NW and Constitution, NW
  • 12th Street between Pennsylvania, NW and Constitution, NW

Closed from 11 am until approximately 10 pm :

  • 3rd Street from Pennsylvania Avenue, NW to Maryland Avenue, SW
  • Constitution Avenue, NW from Pennsylvania Avenue, NW to 14th Street, NW
  • 14th Street, NW from Pennsylvania Avenue, NW to Independence Avenue, SW
  • Closed from 3:00 p.m. until approximately 12:00 a.m., July 5
  • Eastbound U.S. Route 50 ramps to GWMP and roads in the immediate area of U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial;
  • Southbound GWMP ramp to 14th Street Bridge (9:00 p.m. – 9:45 p.m. as necessary)
  • Northbound GWMP ramp to 14th Street Bridge (9:00 p.m. – 9:45 p.m. as necessary)

Lane Restrictions

  • DDOT will not run normal weekday reversible lane operations on the following corridors:
  • Connecticut Avenue, NW, between Legation Street and Woodley Road
  • Canal Road between Chain Bridge and Foxhall Road, NW
  • Rock Creek Parkway (controlled by the National Park service)
  • Independence Avenue between 4th Street, SW and 2nd Street, SE
  • 16th Street, NW, between Arkansas Avenue and Irving Street

Construction Restrictions

DDOT has established a moratorium on all permitted work in public space starting noon Monday, July 3 through Wednesday, July 5. Construction can resume Wednesday, July 5 under permitted hours. This moratorium does not apply to emergency work.

Public Transit

Residents and visitors are encouraged to take public transportation on July 4. Metrorail will operate on or near rush-hour service levels before and after the fireworks. Metrobus will operate on a Saturday schedule and some routes will be detoured around the National Mall. Metrorail service will end at midnight on July 4. For more information about Metro service this holiday weekend please visit WMATA.com

DC Circulator buses will operate on a modified schedule July 4. The National Mall (red) route will not operate due to road closures. The Navy Yard (purple) and Potomac Avenue (orange) routes will make detours to avoid the parade along 8th Street, SE. The Rosslyn-Dupont (blue) route may experience possible delays if MPD closes the Key Bridge due to high pedestrian activities. For more information, please visit dccirculator.com. DC Circulator also uses NextBus, and it can be found on the RideDC app.

The DCStreetcar will run normal service hours from 6:00 a.m. to midnight on July 4.

Capital Bikeshare will provide a bike corral at 10th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW on July 4 to accommodate the large number of riders expected to use the system to around the National Mall. The corral will be made available from 3:00 p.m. until one hour after the fireworks are over. For more information, please visit capitalbikeshare.com.


Attendees are advised to use public transportation for Mall events as parking restrictions will be enforced Tuesday, July 4 along Constitution Avenue, from 7th to 17th Streets, NW, in support of the annual parade, as well as areas outside of Nationals Park, which will have a game. Parking meters will not be in effect July 4, except the area near Nationals Park. Emergency no parking areas will be enforced throughout the District. Parking will also be enforced along the DC Streetcar route.

Emergency no parking areas will be enforced throughout the District, and parking near the National Mall will be extremely limited. Due to the heavy pedestrian crowds anticipated for the Independence Day-related events, motorists are encouraged to exercise extreme caution when traveling through these areas.

Travel Safety

DDOT and its regional partners remind pedestrians and motorists to obey all traffic laws, including crossing at designated crosswalks and following the directions of MPD and other law enforcement personnel. DDOT will deploy Traffic Control Officers (TCOs) to assist with the flow of traffic and pedestrian movements at key intersections around the District.

District Fireworks Regulations

Residents and guests are reminded that firecrackers of any kind or description are prohibited in Washington, DC. This prohibition includes the following:

  • any firework that explodes, such as cherry bombs, salutes, Roman candles, floral shells, artillery shells
  • any firework intended to move after the piece is placed and fired; such as bottle rockets, parachutes, buzzbombs, pinwheels, helicopters, jumping jacks
  • sparklers more than 20 inches (50mm) in length
  • any firework that contains mercury, arsenic, tetryl, phosphorous, sulphocyanide, magnesium, potassium picrate, gallic acid, chlorate of potash and sugar, or any highly oxidizing agent
  • any firework having a side fuse, or a fuse inserted at any point along the length of the firework
  • any firework found by the code official to be dangerous to the safety of persons or property

Items permitted in Washington, DC include:

  • toy paper caps containing not more than twenty-five hundredths (0.25) of a grain of explosive composition per cap
  • sparklers not more than 20 inches (50mm) in length
  • torches, cones
  • box fires, fountains
  • dip-sticks, non-poisonous snakes
  • paper novelty items, colored lights

Additional information on accepted and prohibited items can be found at mpdc.dc.gov.

Fireworks Safety

Residents are encouraged to use extreme caution when handling fireworks and keep them away from children. Fireworks safety tips are offered by Safety Kids Worldwide include:

Leave Fireworks to the Professionals: The best way to protect your family is to not use any fireworks at home. Instead, attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals. If you plan to use fireworks, make sure they are legal in your area.

  • Be Extra Careful With Sparklers: Little arms are too short to hold sparklers, which can heat up to 1,200 degrees. How about this? Let your young children use glow sticks instead. They can be just as fun but they don’t burn at a temperature hot enough to melt glass. Closely supervise children around fireworks at all times.
  • Take Necessary Precautions: Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass. Do not wear loose clothing while using fireworks. Point fireworks away from homes, and keep away from brush, leaves and flammable substances.
  • Be Prepared for an Accident or Injury: Stand several feet away from lit fireworks. If a device does not go off, do not stand over it to investigate it. Put it out with water and dispose of it. Always have a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby. Know how to operate the fire extinguisher properly. If a child is injured by fireworks, immediately go to a doctor or hospital. If an eye injury occurs, don't allow your child to touch or rub it, as this may cause even more damage.

Preparing for Heat

In the event of extreme heat, residents should take the following precautions:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible.
  • Turn on the air conditioner or fan.
  • Never leave children or pets in vehicles.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Wear light-colored, lightweight, and loose-fitting clothes.
  • Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going outside.
  • Limit exposure to the sun, especially between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
  • Watch for symptoms of heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
  • Check on elderly or sick neighbors and friends.
  • Those without access to cool shelter can visit one of the District's Cooling Centers. Cooling Center locations can be found on heat.dc.gov. (Note: East Potomac Pool (972 Ohio Drive, SW) and Happy Hollow Children’s Pool (2200 Champlain Street, NW) are closed for the season due to major renovations.)