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Just How Intense is the Security at the Nuclear Security Summit – Have a Look

by Prince Of Petworth March 30, 2016 at 2:55 pm 41 Comments

what the

“Dear PoPville,

Wondering if you or your readers know what this contraption is used for? Obviously with the nuclear security Summit security measures have been increased and put in place. I found two of these around the convention center, and totally unaware what this is used for. Is this some type of nuclear detection device? Or something related to EM fields?”


“Just a heads up about the security measures around the convention center (I’m sure that’s all anyone is sending you today). Certain sidewalks are totally inaccessible for handicapped folks, including fences dividing sidewalks in half and curb cuts blocked. The pictures of the sidewalk are from N Street at 9th heading toward 10th, and the blocked curb cut is the corner at 9th and N.

Nuclear summit fun times!”


Laura Hayes ‏(@BTMenu) tweets us:

“This is what #Shaw looks like. Just tried to lift a heavy planter so a guy on a wheelchair could get out.”

  • Philippe Lecheval

    That device is used to determine if they’ve sufficiently annoyed everyone who lives and/or works in the neighborhood with their security theater.

    • neighbor

      I actually think it warns back up teams if a barista in the vicinity is over-extracting their espresso shots. No astringent espresso for world leaders!!!

  • lawderly

    I understand this is high risk security event, but doesn’t blocking the sidewalk/curb cuts like this violate the ADA? Wheelchairs can’t make it down that street.

    • Anonymous

      I would imagine that a lot of everyday regulations don’t apply in situations demanding high security.

      • neighbor

        +1 If ADA access were required they’d probably just change it to no access for the whole street.

    • Survivor77

      Exactly my thoughts!

  • J.

    “Don’t Fence Me In” – Ella Fitzgerald

  • GoArmy

    To actually answer your question it is simply a short to medium range radio antenna used for small unit communication (Former communications officer)

    • textdoc

      Thanks — I was wondering if it was some kind of antenna.

    • anon

      Yup, actually looks like there are two antennae there. One larger biconical (maybe in the low VHF range?) then a smaller discone hanging off the side of the mast tuned for a higher freq (maybe UHF?)

  • anon

    Another question on my mind: how bad is traffic going to be driving from Cap Hill to Farragut North? My normal route is directly through where the road closures are. I’m thinking of going in and re-routing, but worried it will be a total nightmare. Has anyone had experience dealing with this in the past?

    • canadianexile

      given how busy that area around Mt. Vernon Square is (NY Ave / K St / Mass Ave) is on a normal day, and with all those cars being rerouted, mostly to the south, I’d expect bad traffic tomorrow. I’m not sure what bike route to take. I may just walk to union station and take the (ugh) red line.

      • Neighbor

        Since OPM told everybody they could telework, I think traffic might actually be lighter than usual. Feds don’t care where in the city their offices are. When they hear they can telework, they do. When the pope was here, the city was pretty dead, actually, aside from right where he was. If you stay a few blocks away from the closed areas you might be fine.

      • It’s just me

        There will also be the additional traffic issues with the motorcades – both the # of cars and their blocking intersections.

    • Christine

      Took me 35 min to get from 19th and L to NoMa driving at 10pm tonight, so imagine what it will be like during a busy traffic time of day..:

      • anon from above

        Ugh really? Wow what was all the traffic for at 10pm? I left my house around 7:20 this morning and arrived around 7:45, so it was pretty normal. I’m worried for the afternoon commute though…

  • Anonymous

    Can we decorate the pole as a Christmas tree?

  • Anonymous

    I’m pretty sure no one brings nuclear material to a nuclear security summit. People just talk.

    • Tsar Of Truxton

      Come on now, how can you prove whose bomb is bigger if you don’t bring the warheads with you to the meeting?

  • DM

    *Why* would they have this in the middle of downtown if it requires such a secure perimeter? This sounds like the one event that would be more convenient to toss over to National Harbor.

    • Anonymous

      Convenient for you. Something like 50 high-level representatives from around the world will be among those attending the summit. When you’re the president of the United States and you’re hosting 50 dignitaries, you don’t make them schlep out to National Harbor for meetings. You stay in DC, where they can also conduct other business easily while they’re in town.

      • sproc

        B.S. It’s not at all a schlep when you’ve got a traffic bulldozing motorcade. It’s also a much straiter shot from Edwards, plus it would have been much simpler to set up a very secure perimeter in National Harbor where both accommodations and meeting spaces are combined.

    • VW

      Or Camp David, better yet.

      • david

        have you ever seen a map of camp david? It’s a dozen cabins and a couple meeting rooms. Perfect for a small gathering to work through a bilateral peace treaty, completely inappropriate for a large group.

  • anon

    Another thing I noticed-they secured all of the manholes with something that looks like it will set of an alarm if it is removed.

    • FridayGirl

      Actually, that’s kind of cool.

    • transplanted

      They’re not risking a repeat of the 2009 TMNT protests.

    • jim_ed

      Well yeah, everyone knows the C.H.U.D.s are just biding their time to exact revenge.

  • Shaw

    This is why the Convention Center is an inappropriate venue for this activity. Next time, use Camp David.

    • Anon

      You didn’t think this one through very well. While Camp David is indeed isolated (thus easing security concerns), it’s nowhere close to being large enough to host 50 heads of state along with their delegations. Where would they all stay? Eat? Etc, etc.
      This is a fine site for such an event. You live in the middle of the capital city of the most powerful country in the world. You’ll be fine, I assure you.

      • ParkViewneighbor

        since the capital city of the most powerful country in the world isn’t able to have a functioning metro system, I wouldn’t be so sure. Wink, wink…

  • midwestboy

    How does MetroAccess work? I know someone in a wheelchair who lives inside this area.

  • Pixie

    They put these fences around the White House area for inauguration and for the Pope’s visit. They are super annoying because they block the curb cuts and sidewalks, making it difficult to get around especially for disabled folks. Plus it feels like you’re working in a prison.

  • Derek

    Will actually be nice skipping Mt. Vernon on my commute from U St. to Archives for two days.

    • sproc

      Brutal. Those 33 seconds shaved will be a Godsend.

  • Kim Kay

    Maybe the antenna is for a signal jammer to prevent any radio-controlled explosives from being detonated within a certain radius? I’ve heard of them but have never seen one in real life. I know jammers can be very small, but I’m not sure how big they would need to be or at what size to protect the entire area around the convention center.

  • Hill east

    I doubt this crossed anyone’s mind when they were planning this, but DPS and Congress are out this week, so IMO this is one of the best weeks during the year to do this. That said, “they” should put the fences in the street so people can actually use the sidewalk and give us free metro for these days, and free coffee and donuts for the inconvenience.

  • Lisa

    I think this whole thing is very DC cool. And I like that I own in the ‘danger zone’.

  • J


  • brantshali

    Having “lived through” this for the last couple days, I have to say that I am glad that they hosted the event at the Convention Center. In a world where nuclear security issues are only increasing, I am ok with a little bit of inconvenience in my daily life for a few days. If the worst problems I have had with the security theater was a walk to Chinatown to catch the Metro or a longer walk between trash cans while walking my dog, I think we’re doing ok. Granted, I’m not in a wheelchair and I don’t have a car being held hostage in a parking lot, but the Secret Service and others did a great job of letting us know what was coming and the people working the security checkpoints have all been professional, helpful and understanding.

    • Stop thinking through things before posting, it might catch on.


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