Capitol Police to keep grounds closed for sledding despite Del. Norton’s request

Two children go over a ramp as they sled on Capitol Hill as a winter storm arrives in the region, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Despite D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton’s call to allow sledding on the U.S. Capitol grounds, the hills on the complex will remain closed.

With forecasts ranging between 4-6 inches of snow heading to the D.C. region on Sunday, Norton said in a statement that the west side of the Capitol is known as “the best place for sledding” in D.C.’s urban environment.

The congresswoman also said she has an annual provision added in the legislative branch appropriations bill that directs Capitol Police to allow sledding on the Capitol during individual snowstorms.

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

Shortly after Norton released her statement, Capitol Police confirmed with WTOP Saturday night that sledding would not be allowed on the Capitol slopes this time.

Officials cited security and COVID-19 concerns along with the fact that construction crews are still taking down inauguration platforms.

Despite the closure, Capitol Police says they “look forward to welcoming sledders in the future.”

In 2015, Capitol Police banned sledding on the Capitol grounds as a safety issue despite calls from Norton and an online petition asking for the hills to be open to the public. Families still arrived on the grounds and enjoyed playing in the snow with very little interference by police.

WTOP’s Jose Umaña contributed to this report. 

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