We’re sort of breaking one of our own rules here, as Clara Barton Dweller pointed out just yesterday in the comments section we don’t allow the “you should move to the suburbs” responses on the blog. Yet in many ways that’s how this post is going to sound to some; we really don’t mean it that way.
We don’t dislike having security minded neighbors in Penn Quarter, we think the neighborhood would be less interesting without them. But there is one gigantic drawback to them as well, namely the strict security they impose to the detriment of PQ. Do you remember the days when tourists would line up outside the FBI building for one of the most popular tours in DC? Or how about when E Street was the fastest east-west through-way in the city? Or did you ever finish a late afternoon run to watch the sun set from the west steps of the Capitol Building?
We know these are scary times and we don’t want to see anyone, ever, get hurt. But most of us learn from an early age that you cannot live in a bubble, and some of us believe that no one life (blogger, elected official, or anyone else) is more valuable than another. If you truly believe the only way to protect yourself, your family, or your employees from harm is to keep them tucked away in a fortress, maybe that fortress shouldn’t reside in the downtown of a major city.
But we’re realists and know none of this is going to change overnight, and probably not at all. We do think a few small changes could make a would of difference in Penn Quarter. Some of those small changes could include: Letting hotdog stands, tourist stands, and/or food trucks utilize the vast sidewalk on the Pennsylvania ave side of the FBI Building; removing the jersey barrier-like planters from the middle of the sidewalk on 9th street by the DOJ (no more passing single file!); inviting the PQ Living bloggers to a meet and greet at the White House to discuss how to be a better neighbor (hey, as long as we’re dreaming) .