NATO Summit back in DC; expect road closures and traffic delays

Residents, commuters, and those visiting D.C. next week are urged to be aware of traffic and delays due to the 2024 NATO Summit.

When does the 2024 NATO Summit start? 

The U.S. will be hosting the summit from July 9 through July 11, with meetings chaired by the NATO Secretary General taking place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. 

NATO – or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization - is a political and military alliance of 32 countries from Europe and North America, and the upcoming summit in D.C. will mark its 75th year. 

On Monday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser was joined by the Metropolitan Police Department, the U.S. Service, the FBI, and the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority to discuss the traffic plan and security measures that will be in place.

"Of course, we have a lot of experience hosting large-scale security events in the District. We are here to ensure this week is a safe and smooth experience for the 37 world leaders who will be here," Mayor Bowser said, adding the general community needs to plan ahead.

The areas that will be the heaviest impacted will be the Washington Convention Center, Carnegie Library, Mount Vernon Square, Mellon Auditorium, and around the White House Complex. 

Residences and businesses inside the affected areas will generally be accessible, according to D.C. leaders. However, cars and pedestrians may be required to undergo security screening prior to entering. Members of the community are encouraged to plan accordingly and expect delays throughout the week.

Robert Lawrence works at the Convention Center but commutes from Maryland for work.

"It means I have to get up almost two hours early. Yeah, for the traffic that’s going to occur from the roads being closed off," Lawrence told FOX 5.

Similarly, Joycelyne Hammond Ebson works for the Conrad Hotel in D.C. on the housekeeping staff but lives in Laurel, Maryland. Hammond Ebson said she would typically drive or take the metro to get to work and is already thinking about the best routes for next week.

"I might have to leave the house early, so that I can make it to work," she said. "It’s going to be hectic, but I’ll still be there for work."

What streets will be affected by the 2024 NATO Summit?  

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Though the summit starts next Tuesday, July 9, temporary road and sidewalk closures will be in effect intermittently beginning July 8 as temporary security measures, including anti-scale fencing, are installed.

Official closures will begin July 10 and run through approximately July 11 in the area around the Washington Convention Center, Carnegie Library, and Mount Vernon Square.

Official closures around the Mellon Auditorium will be in place in the morning of July 9 and will conclude late that evening. Enhanced security measures, including intermittent street closures, around the White House complex will occur in the afternoon and evening of July 10.

Secured areas for the event are divided into a Vehicle Screening Perimeter shaded in blue on the public security map released Monday, while the Pedestrian Restricted Perimeter is shaded in red.

What the perimeters mean, per D.C. officials:

Vehicle Screening Perimeter: Residences and businesses inside the Vehicle Screening Perimeter will be accessible to the public. Pedestrians and bicyclists will be able to freely enter the Vehicle Screening Perimeter from any area. Vehicles will be permitted to enter the Vehicle Screening Perimeter, though they must enter through a vehicle screening point, which are marked as black circles on the map. Rideshare/taxi drop-off and hot food delivery will be permitted in the Vehicle Screening Perimeter; drivers will just need to enter through a vehicle screening point.

Pedestrian Restricted Perimeter: The Pedestrian Restricted Perimeter will be accessible only to credentialed individuals, such as Summit attendees or staff. Pedestrians must enter through one of the pedestrian checkpoints. Personal vehicles, as well as bicycles and small scooters, will not be permitted to enter the Pedestrian Restricted Perimeter. Rideshare/taxi drop-off and hot food delivery will not be permitted in the Pedestrian Restricted Perimeter.

According to the FBI Washington Field Office, there are no known threats to the event at this point.

For more information, click here.