Sequester Closes Capitol Doors, Vehicle Access Points

Posted March 6, 2013 at 1:52pm

If you’re coming to the Capitol, expect a longer wait.

Less than week after the Capitol Police Board said the sequester would mean fewer entrances and checkpoints around the campus, the board sent a memo Wednesday to the congressional community that includes a list of entrance closures and modifications that will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday, March 11.

Last week, the board announced that the sequester would necessitate closures and modified hours of access for certain entrance doors and exterior checkpoints around the Capitol complex — a move that would allow management to cut back on overtime pay to officers typically stationed at those posts.

“As a follow-up to our March 1, 2013, notice regarding access changes … we have continued our effort to match limited law enforcement resources with necessary security requirements,” reads the letter from the board, comprised of House and Senate Sergeants-at-Arms Paul Irving and Terrance Gainer and Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers.

Besides the longer wait times outside, the board warned of other changes inside the complex that are also likely to increase inconvenience.

“Please be aware that there are additional Capitol Police interior posts and other services affected by sequestration not listed on this message which may increase wait times but not negatively impact security,” the letter continues. “We regret any inconvenience.”

According to the memo, each House and Senate office building would be affected by the changes to some degree, along with the Capitol, the Ford Building, a handful of congressional garages and “vehicular access points” around the campus. It also notes that all doors would be available for “emergency egress.”

The memo came out just a few hours after Speaker John A. Boehner said the sequester would not curtail Capitol tours and invited the public to take full advantage of access to the Capitol complex.

Below is a full list of the changes outlined by the Capitol Police Board on Wednesday.

The following doors will be closed:

• Capitol: Lower West Terrace door

• Cannon House Office Building: Northeast door (Independence Avenue and First Street Southeast) and Southwest door (New Jersey Avenue and C Street Southeast)

• Rayburn House Office Building: First Street pedestrian door

• Dirksen Senate Office Building: Dirksen visitors entrance; North Dirksen garage entrance

• Russell Senate Office Building: Rotunda door; First Street and C Street door; courtyard entrance

• Ford Building: Third Street door

The following doors will operate on a modified-reduced schedule:

• Rayburn House Office Building: C Street door, 5 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• The Hart Senate Office Building: Constitution Avenue door, 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

• Russell Senate Office Building: First Street and Constitution Avenue door, 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The following vehicular access points will be closed:

• Independence Avenue and South Capitol Street

• South Capitol Street and D Street

• Independence Avenue and First Street Southwest

The following garage entrances will be closed:

• Russell East Legislative Garage (entry/exit Delaware Avenue Northeast)

• East House Underground (Lower D Street) Garage Door (entry/exit Upper D Street Garage, E Level)