4 Metro Stations' Parking Lots Closed to Public Jan. 20

By Eric M. Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 4, 2009

Metro plans to ban public automobile parking at four Metrorail stations on Inauguration Day to accommodate employees and charter buses.

The parking rules are the first in a series of Jan. 20 transportation plans expected to be released this week. How to get a crowd projected to be between 1.5 and 3 million people to President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration and move them around the city has become the most vexing and discussed aspect of the event planning, organizers said.

Metro said there will be no public automobile parking Jan. 20 at the Greenbelt and Morgan Boulevard stations in Maryland, the Van Dorn Street Station in Virginia and the Minnesota Avenue Station in the District. Minnesota Avenue parking will be reserved for Metro employees; the other three stations' lots will be reserved for charter buses.

The Shady Grove Station lot and the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU and West Falls Church-VT/UVA lots along Interstate 66 will accommodate charter buses and public automobiles.

All Metro parking lots will open at 3:30 a.m. Jan. 20, and drivers will be charged $4 to park for the day (daily parking usually runs from $4 to $4.75 depending on the station). Only cash will be accepted.

Reserved parking permits will not be in effect Jan 20. "If you think you are going to pull into your usual spot at 8:30 a.m. on Inauguration Day, it's just not going to happen," Metro spokeswoman Cathy Asato said.

To prevent anyone from snatching a parking spot the day before, Metro will close all public lots and garages at midnight, and remaining vehicles will be ticketed and towed.

Operators of charter buses who want to park at one of the six designated stations must register in advance at Information will available on the site starting tomorrow. Buses that arrive without registering will be turned away.

The Secret Service, the lead agency in coordinating transportation plans for the event, will release details this week on which roads and bridges will be closed or restricted, according to a spokesman.

Regional officials have said they expect certain roads to be restricted to charter buses and authorized vehicles. Also, as in past inaugurations, there will be a vehicle-free cordon around the swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol and along the Pennsylvania Avenue parade route.

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