Hugh’s News: An imperial traffic jam

April 9, 2015

Local police block streets for a motorcade during an "official movement" near the University of Maryland. Photo courtesy Hugh Turley.
BY HUGH TURLEY

BY HUGH TURLEY —

One recent Saturday, I was driving my wife to an appointment in Laurel, 30 minutes away. We left our Hyattsville home allowing enough time to arrive 15 minutes early.

As we passed through College Park on U.S. Route 1 going north, I could see police were blocking the road ahead. I turned at Greenbelt Road to take another route. Near the beltway I tried to get back onto Route 1 and realized police were blocking every street and driveway. Traffic on the neighborhood streets was now jammed in every direction.

I turned on the car radio to hear a traffic report and learned the Baltimore Washington Parkway (MD 295), Kenilworth Avenue (MD 201), part of Interstate Highway 495, and U.S. Route 1, were closed for “an official movement.”

I had encountered these movements before in Washington, D.C. A main street, like Massachusetts Avenue, will suddenly close so that no traffic can cross the street at any intersection until after some “important” person passes by. It could be the president, secretary of state, or Israel’s president Benjamin Netanyahu.

Roads can be closed for 30 to 40 minutes or more, until the official passes by. There is never any advance warning.

County police cars blocked every street and driveway along the road. If a person had stopped at a gas station on U.S. Route 1 just before the closure they would be stuck there when police closed the driveway. Cars at apartment buildings, retail stores, and restaurants, were all blocked by the authorities.

Thousands of people trying to do errands, go to the airport, take a child to the doctor, attend a wedding, or visit the sick, using public roads were denied their freedom to move.

My wife arrived late for her appointment. On our return home we saw police cars parked along the route, ready to close the road again. Seeing so many police deployed, I wondered if someone called the police for an emergency, would they have to wait until after the official movement?

Later I learned that the First Lady attended a women’s basketball game at the University of Maryland with the president. Who do these people think they are, disrupting the lives of the American people?