Operation Fast Forward II in DC
| 07.12.2006 | 07:37:51 | Views: 2712 | ID:
July 12 '06: Washington DC police practiced emergency evacuation drills using the crowds departing the city after the Fourth of July celebrations this year, the Washington Post reported last week. "This is the second year that officials tested their ability to move people out of the city in a hurry. They kept traffic lights on green, used police officers at intersections and coordinated the flow with Maryland and Virginia officials."
Though the total number of people leaving the city was smaller than an average weekday population, DC officials said there were still hundreds of thousands of people needing coordinated evacuation guidance.The Post reported that, "because so many people left the Mall at the same time, the Fourth of July event provided an opportunity to see how effectively crowds could be moved, officials said. ... After last year's test, some changes were made for Operation Fast Forward II. This time, agencies from Maryland and Virginia joined the exercise. In the District, authorities kept roads around the Mall closed for 30 minutes after the fireworks ended to allow pedestrians to walk to cars and Metrorail stations before vehicles were back on the streets." Global Security Newswire quoted US Park Police Chief Dwight Pettiford saying, the changes made this year were necessary because "we had vehicle traffic and pedestrian traffic mixing. ... That was the wrong thing to do." Douglas Nobel, the chief traffic engineer for the DC Department of Transportation said the operation received an A-minus. "This is a test, and exercise. ... The point is not to get it right but to learn from it and apply what we learn for emergencies and the next time we have special events."
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