By Dan Malouff – Arlington County transportation planner who blogs independently at BeyondDC.com. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.
Do teenagers have a right to be in the city? Are they entitled to use the Metro? Are movie theaters and ice cream parlors reasonable places for them to hang out?
Herbert Miller, the developer of Gallery Place, answered “no” to all those questions when he recently installed a “mosquito device” at the Chinatown entrance to the Gallery Place Metro station. The “mosquito” emits a high-pitched squeal that people older than about 25 can’t hear, but gives teenagers headaches. The idea was to discourage teens from coming anywhere near the heart of one of the city’s busiest entertainment and transit destinations.
What a despicable thing to do.
Putting aside the most obvious criticism, that teenagers have as much right to public infrastructure like the Metro as anyone, just where exactly does Miller expect teenagers to go if not public entertainment districts like Gallery Place? If teens aren’t allowed to congregate there, just where are they allowed to congregate? Only in special teenager ghettos? Mom’s basement? Nowhere?
Discrimination against an entire group of people because of the actions of a few bad apples is not acceptable. It is harmful to the long-term well-being of society to tell an entire generation that they are not welcome in good company.
Until the mosquito comes down, I won’t be spending any more of my money at Gallery Place. I urge other responsible adults in Washington to make the same promise.