Local parks need local government
When you hear the words "national park" you might think of Yosemite or Ellis Island or any of the historic monuments like Concord's Minuteman National Historical Park at the Old North Bridge where the "Shot Heard 'Round The World" was actually heard.
But in DC, Dupont Circle is a federal park. So is the little triangle of grass at 17th and S near my apartment. So is the median grassy strip of Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast in Capitol Hill. This is because in DC, unlike every other city, the National Park Service manages most of the pocket parks and other areas, called "reservations", in the older part of the city.
But NPS is not really a median-strip mowing type of agency, and the Park Police give higher priority to protecting the National Mall rather than rounding up drug dealers in some random square, and Congress doesn't give them the funding to adequately protect local parks. Meanwhile, DC's police force only enters these federal parks if there is a crime actually in progress.
Until 1973, DC didn't even have a mayor, and the federal government was responsible for all decisions, no matter how minor. The parks situation is a relic of that, and it's silly. Local activist Cary Silverman (who is also running for Council) wrote a post calling for Home Rule over the local parks. I think that's a great idea.
- Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront
- By 2040, DC's population could be close to 900,000
- Baltimore's car-stuffed waterfront is poised to keep adding more cars
- The Park Service wants to fix a dangerous spot near Roosevelt Island
- Another way to see the US: Map of where nobody lives
- DC's 40-year out of date zoning code will get at least 6 months more stale
- How well do you know Metro? Can you guess the station?