News & Politics

Here’s How to Navigate Downtown DC During the NATO Summit

Starting as early as this Saturday, expect security to cause major Metro and traffic disruptions.

Washington, DC, will host international leaders next week for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit, setting off a number of disruptions and restrictions downtown. Among them are closed train stations, detoured buses, and checkpoints erected to identify and potentially search people entering the summit’s security perimeter, including those who live or work in the area. Traffic is expected to pile up, and the closures may change as the summit progresses.

The summit will stretch from Tuesday, July 9 to Thursday, July 11, but disruptions start sooner, some as early as Saturday, July 6. The Washington Convention Center will be the center of the meeting, with additional events in the Mellon Auditorium and the White House. Each building will be surrounded by what the Metropolitan Police Department described as “multi-layered buffer[s]” consisting of physical barriers, law enforcement, and checkpoints.

The summit is a National Special Security Event (NSSE), so the US Secret Service is running security. Local safety will be headed by MPD, unarmed DC National Guardsmen, and the DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency. The Federal Bureau of Investigation will monitor for terrorist threats. The US Air Force also released an advisory warning of increased military aircraft noise as foreign dignitaries arrive and depart.

“Let me put it simply. Next week is not going to be a regular week in DC,” DC Police Chief Pamela A. Smith said at a Monday press conference. Smith also noted that MPD expects protests and supports “individuals peacefully expressing their First Amendment rights,” but “will not tolerate violence of any kind.”

A detailed list of the closures can be found here, and the MPD released an interactive map. DC and federal officials also set up a real-time text line for alerts about the summit, which can be accessed by texting “NATODC” to 888-777.

Ahead of time, here are some of the most notable changes to be aware of:

If You’re Taking the Metro

Station closures, route detours, and traffic delays will affect Metrobus, Metrorail, and MetroAccess service throughout the week.

Two train stations—Federal Triangle and Mt. Vernon Sq—will experience closures. Federal Triangle will be closed on Tuesday and Mt. Vernon Sq will be out of service from 11 AM on Tuesday, July 9 through 5:00 AM on Friday, July 12

From 8:00 PM on Monday, July 8 until 5:00 AM on Friday, July 10, several buses will take altered routes. The affected routes are the 3F, 3Y, 11Y, 16E,16Y, 32, 33, 36, 52, 59, 63, 64, 70, 74, 79, D4, D6, G2, G8, P6, S2, X2, and the Red Line Shuttle.

MetroAccess, Metro’s door-to-door service for disabled customers, will not enter the security perimeter and will instead drop passengers off nearby, outside the barricades.

If You’re Walking

Businesses and homes within the security perimeter will only be accessible by passing through security checkpoints. Pedestrians will be required to show identification at the checkpoints, and may be searched by law enforcement officers within the perimeter. The pedestrian access points are:

  • 7th Street and K Street, NW
  • 7th Street and M Street, NW
  • 7th Street and New York Avenue, NW
  • 9th Street and N Street, NW
  • K Street and Techworld Plaza, NW

If You’re Driving

Drivers will also have to pass through checkpoints to reach businesses and homes. Vehicle screening points are:

  • 6th Street and New York Avenue, NW
  • 6th Street and M Street, NW
  • 6th Street and N Street, NW
  • 6th Street and L Street, NW
  • Alley on 6th Street and O Street, NW
  • 7th Street and O Street, NW
  • 7th Street and I Street, NW
  • 9th Street and O Street, NW
  • 10th Street and L Street, NW
  • 10th Street and O Street, NW
  • 11th Street and K Street, NW

Many streets around the Convention Center will be closed to vehicles from 9:30 AM Tuesday until noon on Friday. They are:

  • 7th Street from I Street to O Street, NW
  • 8th Street from N Street to O Street, NW
  • 9th Street from H Street to O Street, NW
  • 10th Street from H Street to O Street, NW
  • I Street from 8th Street to 10th Street, NW
  • I Street from 6th Street to 8th Street, NW
  • K Street from 6th Street to 11th Street, NW
  • Allen Y Lew Place from 7th Street to 9th Street, NW
  • L Street from 6th Street to 7th Street, NW
  • L Street from 9th Street to 11th Street, NW
  • M Street from 6th Street to 11th Street, NW
  • N Street from 6th Street to 11th Street, NW
  • New York Avenue from 6th Street to 12th Street, NW
  • Massachusetts Avenue from 6th Street to 11th Street, NW

Other streets, around the Mellon Auditorium and the White House, will be closed on a daily basis. In all three areas, emergency parking restrictions will be posted widely.

Josie Reich
Editorial Fellow