Inauguration Day travel: the essentials

January 20, 2013

Map shows viewing areas and restrictions for Monday’s inauguration and parade.

Here’s a summary of the things travelers must know for reaching Inauguration Day events, followed by links to more travel resources.

Walking:

For those on foot, the entrance to the National Mall at 7th Street and Constitution
Avenue is closed due to large crowds, officials said shortly before 10 a.m.,  according to The Post’s James Arkin. People trying to get to the Mall were being directed to the entrance at 9th Street.

No mode of transportation is going to get you right to your event. Some people will wind up walking more than a mile. The key barrier to north-south travel is the Pennsylvania Avenue parade route. You must walk around it.

Transit: Metro has generally been operating smoothly Monday morning, but crowding has been a problem at the Federal Center SW and L’Enfant Plaza stations. Metro has forced some trains to bypass Federal Center to allow the crowd in the station to thin out.

The throngs on the platform at Federal Center in the slow moving procession to the escalator were understanding, by and large, The Post’s Lyndsey Layton reports.  “So far, so good,” said Lori Cooper, a District resident, as she shuffled along with a friend.  Had she ever seen Metro as crowded? “Yes, the last inauguration,” Cooper said.

Police are positioned along the platform, trying to keep people away from the platform edge. “You guys can’t walk side by side – it’s single file” one man said to his two young boys. “Do not cut the line – keep the line moving!”a station manager implored.
“They need cattle prongs,”a man said to no one in particular.

Archives, Mount Vernon Square and Smithsonian stations are closed as scheduled.

Weather: The Capital Weather Gang says the temperature is likely to be about 10 degrees warmer than in 2009, when D.C. had a high of 30 degrees and a low of 19, with a noon temperature of 28. The gang says: “While those partaking in the outdoor festivities will most certainly want to dress warmly, it won’t be brutally cold or all that windy.”

Driving: Traffic outside of  downtown has been notably light, helped by the federal holiday. Traffic restrictions for downtown are not as severe as four years ago, but they still represent a substantial obstacle if you choose to drive toward downtown. Consider whether you really need to cross a bridge on Monday and don’t drive anywhere near downtown.

 

Biking: Thousands biked in 2009, and even more are likely to do it in 2013. There are corrals where people can drop off bikes before they reach the most crowded area.

The presidential inaugural ceremonial schedule starts at 11:30 a.m. Monday. The order of the ceremony is scheduled as follows, but all times are flexible:

11:30 a.m. EST:
The U.S. Marine Band Musical selections: P.S. 22, Staten Island in N.Y., and Lee University Festival Choir, Cleveland, Tenn.

11:45 a.m. EST:
Call to order and welcoming remarks: Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. Invocation: Myrlie Evers-Williams Musical selection: Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

11:55 a.m. EST:
Oath of office administered to Vice President Biden: Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor Musical selection: James Taylor

Noon EST:
Oath of office administered to President Obama: Chief Justice John Roberts
Inaugural address: President Obama
Musical selection: Kelly Clarkson
Poem: Richard Blanco
Benediction: the Rev. Luis Leon of St. John’s Church, Washington
The National Anthem: Beyoncé

2:35 p.m. EST:
Inaugural Parade Viewing stands and bleachers are lined along Pennsylvania Avenue
The Obamas and Bidens participate in a parade featuring floats and vehicles representing about 60 groups.

6 p.m. EST:
The Commander in Chief’s Inaugural Ball Washington Convention Center The gala honors service members and their families.

6:30 p.m. EST:
The Inaugural Ball Washington Convention Center

Other resources:

 

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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