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Gray Calls For Reprieve From Street Closures For Visiting Dignitaries

Getting trapped behind a motorcade can make you very, very late.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/91499534@N00/3442199655
Getting trapped behind a motorcade can make you very, very late.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray is calling for changes to Secret Service protocols for visiting dignitaries to avoid downtown gridlock.

In a letter to the Secret Service, Gray says the prolonged closures near the White House and convention center are disrespectful to residents and visitors.

This week's road closures and motorcades stemmed from a conference, where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke. Police say motorists were stuck in backups lasting up to two hours.

Blair House, which is reserved for the President's guests, is being renovated, but Gray, who is running for re-election, questioned having dignitaries stay in a hotel that leads to paralyzing much of downtown.

The Secret Service notes it does not select dignitaries' hotels, but says it will meet with District officials to discuss improvements.

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