Free Our Streets – Tomorrow!


“Road closed” – that is what the sign in the photograph of Ellsworth Drive says and that’s what PFA Silver Spring, LC, the developers of Downtown Silver Spring, said to photographers for years who thought about snapping a picture on this once fully public street. Until last month.

That’s when Chip Py started questioning the policy after he was harassed for photography. And when Metroblogging DC decided to organize a photo walk to visualize his concerns through Free Our Streets.

Now the developer has changed their policy, a first step in the right direction. But a policy statement subject to change at any time is not the answer. Welcoming photography, videography, and other filming on Ellsworth Drive, consistent with First Amendment rights as they would apply on any other public street is.

Or as Marc Fisher says:

Chip Py’s run-in with the picture policeof downtown Silver Spring has morphed into a good old American fight for the right to express oneself…

…The Peterson Companies, the developer that took advantage of $100 million in generous taxpayer support to get their lovely downtown retail strip going, is apparently running scared, and has offered what it terms a compromise.

But it’s an empty offer. Peterson will put up a “Welcome Photographers” banner, but the reality is that the company is in no way conceding that the street it controls is open to the public in any meaningful way.

So its time for you to join our good old American fight for the right to express oneself. Its time for you to Free Our Streets with a Downtown Silver Spring Photo Walk on the perfect day for a declaration of photographic freedom – July 4th!

Downtown Silver Spring Photo Walk
a declaration of photographic freedom
Wednesday, July 4, 2007, 12:00pm – Noon
At the Green Turf, the corner of Ellsworth and Fenton Streets

1 Comment so far

  1. Doug (unregistered) on July 4th, 2007 @ 6:20 pm

    FYI, the block of Ellsworth between Fenton and Georgia is always closed to vehicular traffic on weekends and holidays (and Thursday evenings in the summer when we have free concerts at the Silver Plaza). Personally, I would like to see Ellsworth turned into a pedestrian mall year round, with perhaps access for delivery vehicles and that sort of thing. And no restrictions on photography, assembly, and handing out literature of course!

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