Inauguration officials said they are doing everything they can to ensure that there will not be a similar ticket fiasco for President Obama’s second swearing-in.
This month, they announced that the Third Street tunnel will be closed. They will also be increasing the number of signs directing ticket-holders, adding more civilian volunteers as guides, bringing in backup generators for security checkpoints and establishing a social-media hub where law enforcement agencies can monitor Twitter and other sites for problems as they play out in real time.
“We’re committed to fixing what went wrong to make sure everyone who had a ticket gets to their place on time,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, which oversees the day’s events at the Capitol.
Overall, officials have said they expect the crowd for the Jan. 21 ceremony to be much smaller than the 1.8 million who attended last time — perhaps closer to 1 million. But Schumer’s committee will be distributing a similar number of tickets for standing and seated spots on the Capitol lawn, about 250,000, which are given to lawmakers to distribute to constituents. Last time, about 241,000 tickets were distributed with color codes for various entry points — orange, yellow, blue, silver and purple. At the time, they said 5,000 were shut out, but the number was probably higher.
They’ll use the color-coded system again — but no purple tickets.
Schumer said the committee has created a wide-ranging signage system that will direct the flow of people beginning at Metro stations and major landmarks to their ticket gates and send those without tickets to the general assembly area on the Mall, where the inauguration ceremony will be broadcast on large screens. There will be three to four times the signage in January compared with 2009, when there were about 30 banners and message boards.
In other measures, the committee and law enforcement are adding generators. Last time, one of the power sources failed in the cold, adding to the chaos. There will also be more magnetometers — metal detectors — at security checkpoints, about 160 in all.
“Although we cannot discuss the means, methods, specific resources, or numbers we utilize to carry out our protective responsibilities, we can say there is a tremendous amount of advance planning and coordination,” Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said in a statement. Agents have been undergoing a variety of training initiatives to prepare, including medical emergencies, scenario exercises and field exercises, Leary said.