D.C.’s Black Lives Matter Plaza partially reopened to vehicle traffic on Sunday, nine months after its creation.
Drivers now roll over the huge yellow letters that spell out “Black Lives Matter” from curb to curb. One lane of traffic in either direction is open to cars on 16th Street NW between H and K streets NW.
The center of the plaza remains designated for pedestrians and is separated from traffic with yellow pylons.
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The setup will be safe, the D.C. Department of Transportation said in a statement Friday, when they announced the change.
“DDOT Traffic Control Officers and the Metropolitan Police Department will continue to monitor traffic conditions along Black Lives Matter Plaza to ensure the safety of all users of the roadway traveling through the corridor,” the statement said.
Northbound vehicles can access the previously closed blocks from H Street; southbound vehicles can access them from K Street. Drivers headed west on I Street can make a right but not left onto 16th Street.
The traffic changes are temporary and will end in mid-April, DDOT said. Information was not released on how traffic will then shift.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser created Black Lives Matter Plaza in early June, a week after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis set off global demonstrations. A city public works crew shut down 16th Street before dawn so painting could begin. The lettering is so large that the message can only fit into a single photo frame from high above.
"We want to call attention today to making sure our nation is more fair and more just, and that Black lives and that Black humanity matter in our nation," Bowser said at the time.