Hill Talk: Norton Seeks Better Lighting on Mall

Posted July 23, 2008 at 4:37pm

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) toured the National Mall earlier this week as a part of her ongoing effort to improve lighting and safety in the 309-acre park.

The tour, Norton’s second this tourist season, began around 9 p.m. Monday in the Hirshhorn Museum’s Sculpture Garden. The Delegate was not happy with what she saw.

“I was very disappointed that on my second tour this tourist season that there had been no improvements in basics,” she said. “The basic that most interests me is lighting because lighting is better at deterring criminals … than police are because police can’t be everywhere and lights are on all the time.”

Norton has been vocal about improving lighting on the Mall ever since a rash of muggings in 2006. After Monday’s visit, she is penning a letter to the head of the National Park Service asking that he and his staff replace the bulbs in several broken lamps and also clean those that are so dirty that they barely emit light.

On Monday, scores of Washingtonians took to the Mall to watch “The Candidate” as a part of the annual Screen on the Green program. Their safety late at night is of concern to Norton.

“They came for this movie on the Mall and then they spread out and they go walking,” she said. “The muggings on the Mall occurred in dark portions of the Mall. That’s why I stress lighting.”