Inauguration Watch

David Nakamura and Nikita R, Stewart
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, January 7, 2009; 11:00 AM

Washington Post Inauguration Watch bloggers David Nakamura and Nikita R. Stewart were online Wednesday, Jan. 7 at 11 a.m. ET to discuss all the events, hype and hoopla surrounding the swearing-in of Barack Obama and how the city is preparing for Jan. 20.

The transcript follows.


David Nakamura: Hi everyone. Sorry for the delay. Technical glitch. We're ready to talk inaugural. The latest news, breaking late last night thanks to a scoop by the Post's Lena H. Sun, was that it appears Bruce Springsteen will play at the welcome event Sun. Jan. 18.

_______________________ We're having some technical problems, and the discussion will resume at noon ET.


NW Washington: Have you heard what time the Lincoln Memorial concert is scheduled for on Sun., Jan. 18, or any other details about this event besides Springsteen's apparent performance? With 500,000 people expected, will Metro run rush hour service?

On a related note, I'm a bit surprised by how slowly inaugural event information has been released, what with the inauguration now less than two weeks away. Obviously it is a monumental undertaking but does this concern you?

David Nakamura: Hi NW -- Indeed the Presidential Inaugural Committee has been slow to release information. They appear to roll out announcements bit-by-bit each morning around 7 a.m., but not always with complete information. For example, how to buy tickets to the inaugural balls they announced yesterday (more on this later). As for the Springsteen concert, we only have heard that he's confirmed for the welcome event on Sunday, Jan. 18. Metro has not announced rush hour service for Sunday as of this time. It WILL run rush hour service from 4 a.m. through 9 p.m. on Jan. 20, inauguration day.


Penn Quarter: I live on the corner of 7th and E NW. What should I expect around the 20th in terms of security? There are rumors saying that there will be periods of times we won't be allowed out of our building due to security sweeps. If the gates to the public don't open until 8 or 9 a.m. on the 20th, can we just saunter over to the Mall before then since we'll be within the gates anyways? Thanks!

Nikita Stewart: Yes, I understand that there will be security sweeps and you'll have to play it by ear. Representatives of the Secret Service have been meeting with individual buildings to discuss such matters. You should check with your condo board or apartment management or neighborhood association. Also, the National Mall is always open. Crossing Pennsylvania Avenue, however, could be a problem.


Ocala, Fla.: I have tickets from my congressman and will stay with my daughter in McLean. What are the chances of getting in on the Metro? Any advice?

Nikita Stewart: Metro is actually your best bet. Leave plenty of time to squeeze onto a train. You may have to watch two or three trains pass you by because so many people will be on the Metro.


Arlington, Va.: We plan on walking, instead of taking the Metro. What bridges will be open to pedestrians?

David Nakamura: Hi Arlington -- The Secret Service is scheduled to make this announcement at 3 p.m. today. We'll have complete coverage online immediately following the announcement, as well as in tomorrow's newspaper. We're hearing that at least one Virginia bridge will be open to pedestrians and rumors are that it's Memorial Bridge. But that's far from certain. Stay tuned.


Alexandria, Va.: What are the planned activities for the welcome event at the Lincoln Memorial on the Sunday preceding the inauguration? I'm contemplating attending the event as a manageable alternative to the actual inauguration day festivities.

Nikita Stewart: When we know, you'll know. Right now, we just don't know. But HBO now has the exclusive rights to televise the event so it must be major. The Post's Lena Sun has a source who is sure that Bruce Springsteen will perform. When President Clinton put on a similar show for his first inauguration, Michael Jackson and Diana Ross were headliners. We don't have an exact time. However, we understand from sources that it will be in the afternoon, possibly starting at 1:30.


Washington, D.C.: I noticed recently that there are people on Craigslist selling inauguration tickets (some asking upward of $1,000 per ticket). What commitment has been made to try to stop this kind of thing, or is it more of a "condemn it, but no one can really prevent it so they'll pretend it doesn't exist" situation?

David Nakamura: Hi Washington -- Sen. Dianne Feinstein has introduced legislation to make it a federal crime to resell inauguration tickets to Obama's swearing-in. The legislation got held up in the Senate in December because the Presidential Inaugural Committee has been "selling" the tickets to donors who contribute up $50,000 for the inauguration planning. Now, Feinstein has revised her legislation to make the committee's selling okay but outlawing it for everyone else. (You may sell the ticket AFTER the ceremony as a keep-sake.) Feinstein has reintroduced the bill and expects expedited passage. How one polices this kind of thing, though, is another question.


Ilwaco, Washington state: Any word on tickets for the kid's concert on Jan. 19?

Also, does it make sense to try to get from the swearing-in to the parade?

Nikita Stewart: No word on tickets to that kids ball. No word on who's performing. The Presidential Inaugural Committee has been tight-lipped. Everyday is a surprise. As far as trying to get to the parade, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said from the beginning, when estimates were hyped at 4 million people, that spectators would likely have to choose between going to the swearing-in and going to the parade. Remember that the JumboTron is your friend. You can stand right where you are and see the day unfold.


South Riding, Va.: Back in November, I asked my congressman, Frank Wolf for tickets to the Inauguration. In his communications, he has indicated that I am one of thousands on the list and that he would have fewer than 200 tickets to distribute. He said he would have a lottery to pick who gets tickets, but I haven't heard anything. Are most of the congressmen waiting until the last minute to distribute the tickets? How can I plan ahead if I don't even know if I have a ticket?

Nikita Stewart: Unfortunately or fortunately, members of Congress are trying to avoid scalping. For example, Sen. Hillary Clinton is requiring winners to pick up their tickets during certain hours on the eve of the inauguration.


Frederick, Md.: I've done quite a bit of searching and cannot seem to find any information about what will be happening on the Mall on Jan. 20. Will anything be there besides big screens, speakers and people? Tents, activities, entertainment?

David Nakamura: Hi Frederick: You should keep an eye on our Inauguration Watch blog. We have reported on this several times. The schedule for the 20th is as follows: the Mall will open at 4 a.m. to the public; the security gates for the 240,000 ticket holders will open at 8 a.m. (those without tickets do not have to enter security and can stand farther back on the mall); the ceremony will start at 11:30 a.m. and Obama will be sworn-in at noon, then give his address. There will be 10 mega television screens and hundreds of loud-speakers on the mall. Then the parade will take place along Pennsylvania Ave. in the afternoon and the inaugural balls a night.


Chevy Chase: Any word on who was staying at Blair House or what is going on there this week and next such that the Obamas could not use the building?

Nikita Stewart: Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard.


Pawleys Island, S.C.: We are going to attend the inauguration and already have our swearing-in tickets. We have tried every possible way we could think of to purchase tickets to sit during the parade. Several years ago (before 2001) we bought tickets for the bleachers. Do you know how we can get these tickets? We are seniors and don't want to stand for the entire parade. Thanks in advance!

David Nakamura: Hi Pawleys Island -- I've heard that the Presidential Inaugural Committee sent an email to select folks (volunteers, donors) last night offering them a password to place ticket orders for parade seats (as well as swearing-in tickets and inaugural ball tickets). It appears, however, that they are not available to the general public. But if you are already attending the swearing-in, you will not be able to see the parade because the crowds are expected to be so big that you must choose one or the other -- there will not be enough space for people to make it from the mall to Pennsylvania Avenue.


Logan Circle: So I am one of the many district residents leaving DC for inauguration weekend. My question though is how difficult will it be returning on Tuesday night. I arrive at DCA at 8:30 and have to get back (unfortunately) to the convention center area). Is a cab totally out?

Nikita Stewart: Please remember that Tuesday is THE night for balls, plus all the folks who attended the swearing-in and the parade will be heading out. The convention center is the location for more than half of the official balls of the Presidential Inaugural Committee. You can likely catch a cab home, but it could take you forever to get home.


Columbia Heights: I've been looking all over the PIC2009 website and signed up for e-mail updates but still don't see anything that indicates what events will require tickets or how to get the tickets (ex: the Verizon Center "youth concert", the parade, the Neighborhood ball). Any idea when the information might be posted?

Nikita Stewart: When we know, you'll know. The Presidential Inaugural Committee is giving out very little information. This has been frustrating for the public and frustrating for us. We want to give you as much information as possible, but we just don't know.


Berlin: Hello. I'm going to be flying into Reagan National on the afternoon of the 19th en route to another city...Tried to reroute but no dice. How crazy do you expect DCA to be the day before the inauguration and have you heard any scuttlebutt about expected security delays? Wondering if an hour and 15 minutes is going to be enough time between flights - not sure yet if I have to go through the TSA line again. Thanks!

Nikita Stewart: Expect delays. An hour and 15 minutes is not enough time. Better to be safe.


Bristow, Va.: When will roads start to close? On or before the actual day?

David Nakamura: The roads will be closed to the general public on Jan. 20, inauguration day. Look for a major announcement from the Secret Service at 3 p.m. today. We do know that some downtown streets south of P Street NW will be closed for charter bus parking.


Silver Spring, Md.: Will it be possible to get to Reagan National on inauguration day? I have a flight leaving at noon, and I'll be coming from Frederick. Thanks for any advice!

Nikita Stewart: Leave extra early. Between the traffic and detours, you don't want to leave anything to chance.


Silver Spring, Md.: Do you know if there's a central Web site with maps of the mall where the big screen TVs will be? I know I won't be able to get close to the real thing, but would like to be near a TV.

David Nakamura: No such map has been released yet. We'll bring it to you asap.


Harrisburg, Pa.: I just bought some official memorabilia from the Inaugural Committee. What are the odds I will actually receive it? I am still waiting for the 1992 Inaugural License Plate I ordered. Any chance that license plate will ever arrive?

David Nakamura: Hi Harrisburg -- Hmm. My guess is you'll get something -- though it might arrive after Jan. 20 and it could possibly be a substitute item (if what you order gets sold out fast). I know from a friend who ordered Obama gear during the general election that she got it after Nov. 4 and didn't get everything she actually ordered.


Mount Pleasant: There is a "neighborhood/D.C. residents" ball scheduled for the Walter Washington Convention Center. The designation is in name only I assume; can those who are not from DC be barred?

David Nakamura: Hi Mount Pleasant -- A portion of the tickets will be specially reserved for D.C. residents, but others are able to come too.


Washington, D.C.: What is the status of the D.C. 51st state ball which you listed on Dec. 5th?

Nikita Stewart: It's a go. Tickets will be on sale at the Lincoln Theater and at council member's offices, according to Council member Harry Thomas Jr. It's black tie. Starts at 10 p.m. at the Wilson Building. Chuck Brown is set to perform, Thomas said.


Re: On the Mall 1/20: Thanks for your response, but you didn't answer my question. Will there be anything happening on the Mall besides watching the JumboTron? In '92, there was a festival with tents of activities and performers. Will there be anything similar this time?

Nikita Stewart: Oh, sorry about that. The inaugural committee has not announced such festivities, but there have been plenty of hints that it will be similar to Clinton's celebration.


Washington, D.C.: How do you buy tickets to one of the inaugural balls?

David Nakamura: As I mentioned before, it appears that an e-mail has gone out to special volunteers and donors allowing them to order tickets to the 10 official balls. The general public does not appear to be offered tickets at this time. There are dozens of unofficial balls, however, and you can find a list of them on our Inauguration Watch blog, under the heading "The Balls" on the left-hand column.


Washington, D.C.: Any ideas for what Metro is going to do with the 30s buses during the inauguration?

David Nakamura: My colleague Lena Sun, who covers Metro, says Metro has set up a special place on its website,, to list alli nformation about short-term bus detours. They will be posting information as they get details from secret service about road closures, including last minute ones on that day.


Frederick, MD: I've done quite a bit of searching and cannot seem to find any information about what will be happening on the Mall on Jan. 20. Will anything be there besides big screens, speakers and people? Tents, activities, entertainment?

Nikita Stewart: Not sure about any extra entertainment. The parade of floats and marching bands and youth groups will be on Pennsylvania Avenue, of course.


Boston: Could the Inauguration Ceremony be viewed from any of the Smithsonian buildings? For example, what about the National Museum of the American Indian on the 3rd or 4th levels?

Also, do you think it will be possible to exit a Mall Museum at 10am or so and get to the Mall or would visitors leaving Mall Museums be directed away from the Mall?

David Nakamura: Hi Boston -- we know that some Smithsonian museums have closed some entrances/exits. The National Gallery announced it will close the East Building, shops, restaurants, Sculpture Garden and ice rink on Jan. 20. However, the West Building's entrance at Sixth Street and Constitution Ave. NW will remain open to the public that day.

I also have heard that some museums have been reserved by groups for private events. I suspect it could be difficult to move in and out of those that remain open because of the crowds.


Washington, D.C.: Does the parade have a specific start time? Noon? 1? 2? How long does it last?

Any secret spots (just between you and us thousands) where a person might actually stand and catch a glimpse?

Aside from connections, how does a person get a ticket to the Neighborhood Ball and the Youth Ball? I went to the Obama Inauguration site and the Convention Center site and did not find any purchase-ticket info. Thanks.

Nikita Stewart: Traditionally, the parade is supposed to start at around 2 p.m., after the President-elect eats lunch with members of Congress. Traditionally, the parade does not start on time. Parade organizers have said that the parade has been timed to last less than three hours. As far as secret spots go, well, that wouldn't be a secret if I told you. I was assigned to the corner of 7th and Penn in 2005 and got a pretty decent view. And as I've said several times, we will report how to get tickets as soon as we know. We are as frustrated as you are.


Weather: What's the long-range weather forecast for Jan. 19-20? Yeah, yeah, I realize it's winter, but in DC that can encompass a wide range of temperatures.

David Nakamura: One of our reporters will be monitoring this beginning 10 days out -- so in another few days -- and will be writing stories about the weather forecasts. Ten days is when the weather forecasters begin to really hone their models. Stay tuned.

_______________________ Inauguration Forecasts


Washington, D.C.: What do you know about road closures on the 18th and 19th in the District? Will there be any for inaugural-related events?

David Nakamura: There have been no announcements of closures for those dates, but the 18th is when Obama will host the welcome event, with Bruce Springsteen, at the Lincoln Memorial. That's open to the public for free and they expect a crowd of 500,000, so I would suspect some downtown streets could be closed.


Odenton, Md.: I have a class at College Park on Inauguration Day from 3p to 6 p. How bad will the traffic be to and from class from Odenton, Md.? How about for my classmates who live in Virginia?


Nikita Stewart: Has anyone considered canceling the class. Traffic is expected to be impossible.


Washington DC: Hi, I have friends coming to stay with me for the Inauguration, and they're bringing their 4- and 1-year old. This adds a whole layer of complexity to plans! I understand strollers will not be allowed at the parade, but are okay on the Mall. Does this mean that they are only prohibited at official parade viewing stands? And can my friend (who has tickets to the ceremony) bring her kids with her too? So confusing...

David Nakamura: Children who are attending the swearing-in ceremony and expect to be inside the security zones (for ticket holders) must have a ticket, according to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. That committee sent out this e-mail last night:

"Strollers, baby carriages, backpacks and other large bags are prohibited within the ticketed areas. These prohibitions are for space, security and logistical reasons as every purse or bag entering the grounds will need to be hand searched.

"Parents should also be aware that the West Front of the Capitol is entirely outdoors - there will be no tents or other covered areas in case of inclement weather; the only restrooms are porta-potties; and there will be no refreshment stands.

"Inauguration day is typically cold-normally 37 degree F at noon-and occasionally wet. Attendees should check the local weather forecast for Inauguration Day and plan accordingly. In the event of rain, umbrellas will not be permitted within the security perimeter.

"All persons attending the inaugural swearing-in ceremonies should be prepared to wait in long lines to be screened through security, and spend many hours outdoors, both before the event and for the length of time it may take for people to leave the Capitol grounds following the end of the ceremonies.

"People who plan to watch the event from the non-ticketed National Mall may bring strollers and other items that are prohibited in the ticketed areas."


Washington, D.C.: I find it hard to believe that some already has their inauguration tickets in hand when they have not yet been distributed to members of Congress...

David Nakamura: No one has the tickets in hand. I believe they've simply been promised tickets and may have a seat/space assignment. The Congressional offices are not giving them out until the week before Jan. 20 for security purposes.


Rochester, N.Y.: I am a 69 year-old and will arrive via Metro very early at the Mall on Jan. 20. Will I be allowed to bring a folding beach chair so I can sit during some of the long wait until the ceremony begins that day? Thank you in advance for your reply.

David Nakamura: No chairs inside the security areas for ticket-holders. Go to this page of our Inauguration Watch blog for the complete list of What's Prohibited Where.


Fairfax, Va.: 1) If folks with tickets for the swearing in have to arrive by 9 a.m. at the latest, what are our options for food & water for breakfast/lunch? It sounds like no food vendors will be in this area past the security checks. Can they bring bottled water and snack foods? Will the vendors have enough food to sell lunch to all the hoards of people on the mall?

2) Is there any way that people attending the swearing-in ceremony can see part of the inaugural parade?

3) How do you get tickets for the parade?

4) Are there any places in DC within walking distance of the capital offering low cost floor space for people that want to crash overnight such as churches/schools in exchange for charitable contributions?

Nikita Stewart: There will be no food vendors within the swearing-in ceremony area. However, snacks are permitted. But the key word is snacks. Can't be some huge meal. The only restrictions on liquids appears to be that they can't be in a Thermos. As far as seeing both the parade and swearing-in, officials say it will likely be impossible to get through the crowds. You'll have to pick a spot and see what you can on a JumboTron. Information about parade ticketing has not been released. And as far as places to crash, I don't know of any places. We'll look into that.


Chester, Pa.: Is there anything special going on at the Newseum after 3 p.m.?

David Nakamura: This comes from the Newseum's Web site:

Advance Inauguration Day tickets to the Newseum, the world's most interactive museum, are sold out. Hours will be extended Jan. 20 from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. to accommodate the anticipated crowds. Some walk-up tickets may be available after 3 p.m.


London: I believe there has been concern that D.C. can't afford its part of the event. How are the costs split between D.C. and the federal government?

David Nakamura: The Feds have given the city $15 million, but the District, Maryland and Virginia have asked for $75 million in federal funds because they believe the costs will soar because of the large number of people and related security concerns. Four years ago, the District got stuck with a large bill after costs went well above the allocated amount.


Washington, D.C.: I have an optimist's outlook on the region's ability to handle the traffic and crowds. I was here and worked during the last Bush Inauguration in 2005.

Any feelings on how this will compare? Even if there are 2 million visitors (a high estimate in my opinion), D.C. has met the challenge of an event this large before and should this time around.

Nikita Stewart: You sound like inaugural planners who assure us that they've done this before. If any city can do this, it's Washington, they say. The big difference is the number of people, lots of out-of-towners who don't know how to get a Metro card, who won't know where they're going. And the weather is always the unknown.


West Chester, Pa.: What time are the bridges closing to traffic on the 20th? I'm going to a ball on the 19th that ends at 1:30 am on the 20th.

David Nakamura: Stay tuned for today's 3 p.m. Secret Service announcement about road closures.


Fairfield, Conn.: I'm driving down for the inauguration with my 2 kids. I am SO FRUSTRATED at the lack of information about pre-inauguration events, in particular the Verizon Center event.

I'll be staying within walking distance of the Mall but am worried about traffic in/out of the city. Any guess what it will be like? I'm going to drive down on Friday and may go back right after the parade to avoid the crowds.

Nikita Stewart: Sounds like you have a plan even if the Presidential Inaugural Committee hasn't announced one. Being within walking distance of the Mall, you're already ahead of the crowd. If you are driving in on Friday, you should come in with more ease than others. The big traffic days are going to Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Driving back right after the parade could be dicey. Good luck. As soon as we know about that kids concert, we'll report it.


Washington, D.C.: Do you know what DC is doing in terms of security in the Adams Morgan/Dupont/ U Street areas with the bars open all night? Last I heard, the DC Council voted for this without even checking with the MPD or Secret Service...

David Nakamura: Bars/restaurants and nightclubs will be allowed to remain open 24 hours a day for food service from Jan. 17-20. They will be allowed to serve alcohol until 4 a.m. each night, two hours longer than usual. The establishments must register ahead of time with the city and pay a fee to participate in the extended hours, and present a security/emergency plan. But the city's police union chief has expressed concerns about the manpower needed to police the nightlife corridors. Mayor Adrian Fenty and Police Chief Cathy Lanier have not announced special staffing plans.


Washington, DC: Rumor has it that federal employees in the Washington area will have the day off January 21 as well as the 20th, any knowledge of this rumor?

David Nakamura: I believe the 20th is a federal holiday for government workers in the Washington region. But I have heard nothing about the 21st.


Bethesda, Md.: I am thinking of biking to the inauguration with my two children. Our local bike trail (the Capital Crescent Trail) ends under the Key Bridge at Water St. in Georgetown. How much farther towards the Mall will be able to bike before we have to get off and walk? Will there be a place at that point to park our bikes safely? Bottom line: do you think bicycling is a feasible way of getting to the inauguration?

David Nakamura: Hi Bethesda -- The Washington Area Bicyclist Association is setting up bike valets near the Mall. They will take your bike and secure it and let you get it back after the event, for free. They expect to have two zones, the south one tentatively at the Jefferson Memorial Parking lot. (No announced site for the north lot). Here's their Web page: America Bikes to the inauguration.


I'm sure others have asked this: I understand that part of the Mall is ticketed--but the rest is first come first serve correct?

David Nakamura: You are correct. Federal authorities are asking that people refrain from coming to the mall before 4 a.m. on Jan. 20.


No chairs inside the security areas for ticket-holders: So are they discriminating against the handicapped?

Nikita Stewart: The swearing-in must be ADA compliant. This is a good question. We will get details about the arrangements that are being made.


Vienna, Va.: I'll be watching the festivities from the comfort of my own home -- but with so many people coming in town, will just driving in the burbs be bad? Will there be enough milk at the grocery store? Sorry if this is a dumb question but I don't remember this many people from previous inaugurations. Have all the crowds been this big?

David Nakamura: Hi Vienna -- shout out to my hometown! My guess is that driving won't be too back that far from D.C., unless you try to get to the Metro station out there. That's the start of the Orange line so a lot of folks will be boarding there to make sure they get a train seat (people at closer stations like Rosslyn might have trouble getting on packed trains). This is expected to top the record 1.2 million who watched LBJ get sworn-in in 1965.


L Street: Are you ready to strangle everyone asking about how to get tickets?

Nikita Stewart: Hee. Hee. I'm just as frustrated.


Sacramento, Calif.: I'll be in Philadelphia the weekend Obama takes the train to DC. Do you have any additional details as to where the event takes place and what time? Thanks for your response.

Nikita Stewart: We have no details. When we know, you'll know.


Norfolk, Va.: What time does the festivities start at the Lincoln Memorial on the 18th?

Nikita Stewart: We just know that it will be in the afternoon.


Fairfax, Va.: I am a member of the US Army Reserves and an OIF Veteran, any idea how to score tickets to the Commander-in-Chief's Ball?

Nikita Stewart: No. The tickets are free to those who are invited. Not sure how you get invited, but you must be enlisted.


Arlington, Va.: Will there be fireworks any of the nights?

Nikita Stewart: Good question. Don't know.


Traffic in the West: What about traffic on the Dulles Greenway/Toll Road that day? I haven't heard mention of that. I need to get from home in Leesburg to work in Sterling. Thanks!

David Nakamura: I think you should be fine that far away. We hear they might do some stuff on I-66, but nothing on Greenway. But again, more will be known at 3 p.m. today with the Secret Service announcement.


Baltimore: Do you have any information about the stop in Baltimore, or where I might find it? I was hoping to attend this event as it is closer, fewer transportation problems, etc. Also I am hoping (perhaps naively) that things won't be as crowded in Baltimore.

Nikita Stewart: We just don't know. I'm beginning to sound like a broken record. I'm sorry.


Friendship Heights, DC: This may be a question for the Going Out Gurus, but are there any parties planned to take advantage of the extended drinking hours around the inauguration? I don't think that I'm the only person who is excited for a DC version of Mardi Gras leading up to the big day.

David Nakamura: I'm sure bars are getting ready for a lot of events that week, but many might be closed/invite only/reserved by private parties. But with that many people in town looking to spend money, the bars and clubs will be open for business. We don't have a list, but the promoters will be getting the word out.


Capitol Hill: I have tickets to the Illinois State Society Ball on the 19th. Any chance the Obamas will make an appearance? I feel so stupid, I figured it was on the 20th until I got the tickets in the mail yesterday!

David Nakamura: Obama has pledged to attend the 10 official balls on the evening of the 20th, including a state ball of his own for his Illinois brethren (at the convention center, I believe). My guess is he won't show at the ball on the 19th -- though I could be wrong -- but planners of that one have promised quite a show anyhow.


Alexandria, Va.: What is the philosophy behind closing the 14th St and Key Bridges? I can totally understand closing the Memorial and TR since they both put you out onto the mall (Independence and Constitution), but the other two bridges is going a little overboard. For some people who have to earn a living, we don't have a luxury of taking a day off. Why not just completely close every road inside the beltway including I-395 (the only main road trucks can enter the city) and I-66?

Why are officials treating this event like some kind of national holiday? I'm as excited as the next guy that we're swearing in a new president, but GOOD GRIEF, let's not grind our country to a screeching halt!

David Nakamura: The rationale for the closings is for security and to allow official vehicles, police and emergency crews and charter buses to get through. Taxis might also be allowed. Again, more later today on road/bridge closings.


David Nakamura: Thanks everyone for the great questions. Please visit our Inauguration Central and Inauguration Watch pages on and stay tuned for hourly updates on all things inaugural. And feel free to email us with tips.


Nikita Stewart: Thank you for all of your questions. The running theme of this chat? We just don't know. When we have answers about tickets and street closings and where to plant yourself, we will do our best to get the information to readers as soon as possible. Thanks again.


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