Inauguration-Bound? Just Walk, Metro Says.

By Lena H. Sun
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Here's the latest from Metro on attending the inauguration festivities for President-elect Barack Obama: If you live or are staying within two miles of the Capitol, walk.

"It will be faster than standing in line and trying to get on a train," said Metro spokeswoman Candace Smith. That includes an area roughly bordered by the Woodley Park, Foggy Bottom, Navy Yard, Stadium-Armory and Rhode Island Avenue stations.

With estimates of attendance ranging between 1.5 million and 4 million, Metro is warning of unprecedented crowds and lines. It is bracing for a crush on the rail system, meaning 120,000 people an hour. Metro will open at 4 a.m. Jan. 20. So by noon, crush loads for eight hours would mean nearly 1 million people, Smith said.

Even though Metro is encouraging riders to spread out their trips, few people are likely to be riding at 4 a.m. to get to festivities before the noon oath-taking.

"What do you think they're going to do? Take the train at 9 a.m.," Smith said.

Metro is also expecting thousands of tour buses to be in the area -- perhaps as many as 10,000 -- and is trying to set up bus-only shuttle service to carry people from outlying areas to drop-off points near the Mall.

The transit agency is strongly recommending that people buy Farecards ahead of time. And large banners and signs must be folded or rolled to no greater than 18 inches by 18 inches.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company