clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Washington D.C.'s Odd Regulations and Laws

New, 4 comments

The Height Act and the controversy over whether or not it should be altered has brought to public consciousness that D.C. has some bizarre regulations. This particular law dates back to 1910, but there are also odd regulations dating back to L'Enfant's plan for the city in 1791 that still affect the District today. Here are a few oddballs that may come as a surprise but also might explain so much.

No Overhead Transit Wires: DDOT is currently talking about running a streetcar from Union Station to Georgetown. However, there's a federal law saying that there can't be overhead wires in the the L'Enfant City portion of D.C., so they're looking at other methods for propulsion.

No Dancing Within the Jefferson Memorial: People have been arrested for this more than once. Even weirder is the law that nobody can dance for more than twelve hours in a twenty-four hour period.

No Photographing a Public Location For More than Five Minutes: From the looks of it, this is a law meant to keep traffic moving throughout the city. That actually makes sense given how many tourists populate the District to snap pictures of our photogenic city.

Unequal Quadrants: Anyone who has been around long enough can figure out that North Capitol, South Capitol and East Capitol streets all lead to, obviously, the Capitol Building. Even though it is in no way the center of the city, that's the point from whence the four quadrants start. But did you know that it's this way because Pierre L'Enfant deemed that the Capitol should be longitude 0:0 in the city's design to draw to this new center of legislative power? Even in the much smaller L'Enfant City of 1791, the southwest quadrant was the smallest!
· DDOT Picks Streetcar Transitway for K Street [GGW]
· Washington, D.C. [Stupid Laws]
· Silent Dancing Protesters Arrested at Jefferson Memorial [DCist]
· L'Enfant Plan [Wikipedia]