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Sledding Ban On U.S. Capitol Grounds Remains In Place During Snowstorm

Despite a Thursday snow dump in Washington D.C., there will still be no sledding on U.S. Capitol Grounds.

Capitol Police have denied a call from Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) for Capitol Police to lift its sledding ban on Capitol Grounds from March 5-8.

Earlier in the day, Holmes Norton wrote a letter to Capitol Police Board Chair Frank Larkin requesting a waiver for the four expected snowy days.

“This could be the last snowstorm the D.C. area gets this winter, and may be one of the best for sledding in years,” Norton explained Wednesday. “Children and their parents should able to enjoy sledding on one of the best hills in the city.”

Her call received the support of members of Congress, including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

Later Wednesday, however Larkin responded that in fact he could not lift the ban as “Traffic Regulations for the United States Capitol Grounds” prohibit the practice.

The regulation states: “It shall be the duty of the Capitol police on and after April 29, 1876, to prevent any portion of the Capitol Grounds and terraces from being used as playgrounds or otherwise, so far as may be necessary to protect the property, turf and grass from destruction of injury.”

According to Larkin, the Capitol Police Board cannot provide exceptions to the regulations, but it will review them as Norton requested last week.

Norton said she was encouraged to hear that the Board would continue to review the regulations, but expressed frustration that the sledding ban will continue to be enforced.

“I will follow up with the Board urging them to direct officers, as they have for years now, not to enforce this arcane regulation during the four-day period following tomorrow’s snowstorm,” she said. “Because the Board did not enforce the sledding ban for many years, it is clearly within its power not to enforce it again during a four-day period.”

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