The National Zoo to Install Security Fencing, Consolidate Entrances

The National Zoo to Install Security Fencing, Consolidate Entrances

The National Zoo is looking to improve security with new measures such as security fencing.

The Smithsonian National Zoo will be boosting security by consolidating the amount of entrances to the park as well as adding security perimeter fencing to currently open areas, according to a new plan approved by the National Capital Planning Commission last week.

The National Zoo has been trying to update security measures for the park for over six months. An earlier proposal to build security checkpoints at the entrances of the zoo received public backlash and forced a delay on the vote to seek more feedback form the community. 

Residents at the time argued that free, unrestricted access to the park is what makes it such a special part of the city. Too much security, the argument goes, destroys fundamental character of the National Zoo. 

The original plan was born at the height of fear of vehicle ramming attacks last year and an increase in security at other Smithsonian facilities around the D.C. area.

The new plan would consolidate the zoo's 13 pedestrian entrances to six total entrances. Three that are official entrances to the zoo and three that serve as more informal entries that provide access to main parking lots.

The zoo also wants 4,205 feet of fencing around the zoo to "close gaps in the perimeter," according to the proposal. Ornamental black fencing resembling what already exists inside the zoo will be used "in any area that can be seen by the public, and chain-link fencing will be used in areas in dense vegetation or otherwise hidden from view."

A spokesperson for the zoo said conconstructiontruction on the fencing will begin sometime in 2019.

About the Author

Sydny Shepard is the Executive Editor of Campus Security & Life Safety.

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