D.C. area travelers should encounter few difficulties this weekend

January 17, 2013

Just about the only signs of inauguration activity near Union Station on Wednesday were the placards posted to direct ticket holders toward seating at the Capitol for Monday’s swearing-in. (Robert Thomson – The Washington Post)

I got a note from a Marylander who has to drive from Woodbridge to Rockville on Sunday. She asked whether inauguration traffic will spill over onto Interstate 95 and the Capital Beltway. Similar messages from travelers have expressed concerning about getting around downtown D.C. over the weekend.

So here’s some reassurance and clarification, I hope, for those folks.

President Obama will be sworn in for a second term on Sunday as required by the Constitution, but that’s not a public event. The big public events — the swearing-in ceremony, inauguration speech, parade and balls — are all on Monday.

Most of the road closings we’ve been talking about are for Monday only. However, drivers are likely to encounter many “Emergency No Parking” signs on streets in downtown D.C. from 7 a.m. Sunday through 7 a.m. Tuesday. Use this link to review the road closings and parking restrictions throughout the inauguration period.

Throughout the weekend, highway traffic is unlikely to be a big problem in the D.C. region. The Capital Weather Gang’s forecast looks good for local travel. For many, this is a three-day weekend, with Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, but it’s not a big getaway weekend for long-distance travelers.

Metro

No track work is scheduled for this weekend.

On Saturday, Metrorail and Metrobus will operate on a regular Saturday schedule.
Metrorail will open at 7 a.m. and close at 3 a.m. Parking will be free at Metro-operated lots and garages, and off-peak fares will be in effect.

On Sunday, Metrorail and Metrobus will operate on a regular Sunday schedule.
Metrorail will open at 7 a.m. and close at midnight. Parking will be free, and off-peak fares will be in effect.

The only planned service change on Sunday will affect Judiciary Square station. The F Street entrance will close at 4 p.m. for the remainder of the day, because of an event at the National Building Museum. Enter and exit the station using the Fourth Street entrance. Elevator service will be available at all times, Metro said.

Check the Going Out Guide’s review of weekend activities for inauguration visitors. And here’s a list of other postings and stories that may help you plan for Monday:

Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region.
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Ashley Halsey III · January 17, 2013