Large crowds are expected to flock to the Mall on Saturday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
The day’s events include a rally and a march along the Mall tracing the historic route used in 1963.
A prayer service will kick off the celebration at 8 a.m. Following that will be speeches from Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Rev. Al Sharpton, among others. At 12:30 p.m., marchers will leave the Lincoln Memorial, pass by the memorial to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and travel to the Washington Monument.
The celebration is expected to last until 4 p.m.
There will be a swath of streets closed on and around the Mall to accommodate those attending the event. Sgt. Paul Brooks of the U.S. Park Police said it would be comparable to the road closures seen around the Fourth of July each year.
Key road closures include Independence Avenue SW, which will be blocked between 15th and 23rd streets; 17th Street between Constitution and Independence avenues; and the Arlington Memorial Bridge, according to the National Park Service.
The only way for participants to get to the rally at the Lincoln Memorial will be by traveling west from 17th Street NW near the World War II Memorial toward the Reflecting Pool, officials said.
The District Department of Transportation will have traffic control officers deployed to help deal with congestion. Public transportation remains the best option.
Metro will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m., with trains running on a regular Saturday schedule.
There is track work scheduled at the Franconia-Springfield station at the end of the Blue Line, so trains will leave that stop every 24 minutes rather than every 12 minutes.
Participants heading toward the Mall could use the Farragut North, Farragut West, McPherson Square, Smithsonian or Arlington Cemetery stations. Those stops will likely be crowded, though, so riders could also consider the L’Enfant Plaza or Archives stations.
The Arlington Memorial Bridge, which connects Arlington Cemetery and the Lincoln Memorial, will be closed to vehicles between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. But it will remain open for pedestrians, so Metro riders can get off at the Arlington Cemetery station and walk to the Mall.
Standard-size bicycles will not be allowed on Metro between 7 and 10 a.m. on Saturday. The transit agency has posted a guide for riders at http://wapo.st/MetroMarchGuide2013.
“Just like always: no weapons, no alcohol, no fireworks,” Brooks said. “Just like any day in Washington, D.C.”
Drivers who may be heading out before the sun rises should be warned: New York Avenue will be closed in Northeast Washington between Florida Avenue and Penn Street until 5 a.m. on Saturday.