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For Immediate Release For Further Information Contact:
April 26, 2005 Kathy Arberg
Phone:  (202) 479-3211

Perimeter Security

In consultation with the D.C. Department of Transportation and other D.C. officials, as well as the U.S. Capitol Police Board and outside security experts, the U.S. Supreme Court has developed a plan for perimeter security enhancements that the Architect of the Capitol will begin to implement next month.

Construction of perimeter security enhancements on the East Capitol Street and Second Street sides of the building will begin in May 2005. The East Capitol Street work will occur concurrently with the Capitol Visitors Center work to take advantage of the current street closure and not inconvenience local residents a second time.


The Court submitted a perimeter security plan to the Capitol Police Board in 2002. Among other security enhancements, the 2002 plan proposed closing Second Street to all but local traffic during heightened security alerts and during peak hours of building use, as well as closing the south half of Maryland Avenue. The final plan differs from the 2002 plan in that it does not propose any street closures or limits on vehicular or pedestrian access. The final plan includes the installation of in-ground pop-up barriers, similar to in-ground barriers that have been installed elsewhere in the Capitol Hill complex, in three locations: on Second Street just south of Constitution Avenue and just north of East Capitol Street, and on A Street just west of Terrace Court. These barriers would only be used in an emergency, based upon specific threats to security, or during national security events.

East Capitol Street

On East Capitol Street the courtside curb line will be extended 3 feet into the street and bollards will be installed along the new curb line. This will not affect parking, traffic flow, the bus stop or bike lanes on the street, but will make it possible to save the trees along the current curb line.

Second Street

On Second Street, bollards will be installed along the existing courtside curb line. They will extend from the corner of East Capitol and Second Streets to the corner of Constitution Avenue and Second Street. The Bradford Pear trees lining the courtside of Second Street have reached the end of their life span; they will be removed and will be replaced as part of an overall plan for landscaping and grounds improvement, scheduled to be completed by 2008. In-ground pop-up traffic barriers will be placed in Second Street slightly south of Constitution Avenue and slightly north of East Capitol Street. When in place, these barriers will only be raised in an emergency, based upon specific threats to security, or during national security events, similar to in-ground barriers that have been installed elsewhere in the Capitol Hill complex. Security experts recommend that bollards be installed to flank each side of the in-ground barriers. The Court will contact the neighbors on Second Street and A Street where additional bollards have been recommended. When the work is completed, traffic patterns and parking will remain as they are now. However, during the construction work to install the bollards and barriers, some temporary impact on traffic flow may occur.

A Street

On A Street, an in-ground barrier will be installed just west of Terrace Court, and traffic between Second and Third Streets will be converted to one-way eastbound. This change in traffic flow has been coordinated with the D.C. Department of Transportation and the Capitol Police, who, together with security experts, determined the change in traffic flow to be a necessary security measure, in large part because Second Street will remain open to traffic. This work will be completed during the summer of 2005.

First Street and Maryland Avenue

In the fall, bollards will be installed in front of the building on the First Street sidewalk to create an arc in front of the plaza. Perimeter security enhancements on the Maryland Avenue side of the building will be completed at the end of the Court's modernization project, scheduled to be completed in 2008. The existing courtside curb on Maryland Avenue will be extended 13 feet into the street, with bollards installed along the new curb line. The footprint will include the area now encompassed by the construction fences. Parking on the north side of Maryland Avenue will not be affected; parking on the south side of Maryland Avenue will be available for the neighborhood in the evening and the entire extended area will be landscaped, consistent with the L'Enfant Plan, with trees, plants and grass for the enjoyment of the community. Maryland Avenue will remain one-way, but the flow will be changed to eastbound.

Please contact the Court's Public Information Office with any questions or concerns about the Court's perimeter security enhancement plans at 202-479-3211. Thank you.

View Perimeter Security Design


SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES 1 First Street, NE Washington, DC 20543