Entire Mall To Be Open To Public

By Nikita Stewart
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 5, 2008

For the first time in history, the entire Mall will be open to the public for an inauguration, the Presidential Inaugural Committee announced yesterday.

JumboTrons and an audio system will stretch from the steps of the Capitol, where President-elect Barack Obama will be sworn in, to the Lincoln Memorial, an unprecedented display for what federal and local officials say could be a record crowd for an inauguration.

For weeks, officials have been in talks about opening the Mall so that more people can be part of the day. The committee, which is in charge of handling inaugural festivities, has repeatedly said it wants to open the event to as many people as possible.

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) likened the Mall to "America's front yard."

"This will be an inauguration for all Americans," he said in a statement.

The expanded access requires moving the staging of the inaugural parade off the Mall. In the past, parade participants have assembled on the Mall between Seventh and 14th streets NW. Now they will gather at the Ellipse before setting off on their march.

During previous inaugurations, the viewing area for the swearing-in was bounded by Fourth Street NW for ticket-holders and by Seventh Street NW for the general public.

Organizers have printed 240,000 tickets for the event, to be distributed by members of Congress and the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

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