Large crowds descended on the nation’s capital Wednesday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Here are some things to keep in mind for navigating the trip home once the events are over. UPDATE, 3:30 p.m. — Metro officials are reporting there may be delays on the Red Line. An earlier situation was cleared, but officials had to offload a train at White Flint, which could cause delays. We’ll update the situation as we learn more.

(LIVE BLOG: Thousands flock to the Mall)

As a result of the day’s events, which are scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., numerous roads and landmarks will be closed and overcrowding could be an issue. If you are taking Metro, officials recommend that when leaving the Mall, you go back to the same station where you arrived this morning.

Here’s what you need to know to navigate the crowds, the traffic and Metro:


The Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the World War II Memorial and D.C. War Memorial will be closed through 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Those attending the ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial must enter the Mall from 17th Street, just north of the World War II Memorial.


The following roads and pedestrian walkways will be closed until approximately 6:30 p.m.:

  • Arlington Memorial Circle will remain open, however, Arlington Memorial Bridge will be closed
  • F Street traffic will be allowed to access the northbound lanes of the Rock Creek Parkway to eastbound Virginia Avenue
  • Rock Creek Parkway from Virginia Avenue to Parkway Drive. It is recommended that drivers utilize Connecticut Avenue or 16th Street as an alternate route.
  • Parkway Drive from Rock Creek Parkway to Lincoln Memorial Circle
  • Independence Avenue from 15th Street to 23rd Street
  • Ohio Drive from Inlet bridge to Parkway Drive, including the A, B and C parking lots
  • Theodore Roosevelt Bridge will remain open, however users of the Ohio Drive exit will be forced to U-turn north onto the Potomac Freeway
  • Maine Avenue from 15th Street to Independence Avenue,  including Tidal Basin parking lot
  • North and Southbound lanes of 17th Street between Independence Avenue and Constitution Avenue
  • Daniel French Drive
  • 23rd Street from Independence Avenue to Constitution Avenue
  • Henry Bacon Drive

Additionally, the following roads will be closed:

  • Westbound ramp from I395 to Maine Avenue SW: All traffic will be diverted to the 12th Street Tunnel.
  • Ramp from 9th Street tunnel to westbound Maine Avenue SW: All traffic will be diverted to outbound I-395.
  • 200 block Maiden Lane merge with Maine Avenue SW: All traffic will be diverted to northbound 14th Street SW.
  • Southbound Potomac River Freeway and ramp to Independence Avenue: Traffic will be diverted to the outbound Theodore Roosevelt Bridge.
  • Ramp from eastbound Teddy Roosevelt Bridge to Independence Avenue NW.
  • Parts of the Ninth Street tunnel.

No parking will be permitted on Constitution Avenue from 17th Street to 23rd Street on the north and south sides of the street. Motorists should expect detours in the area during both the morning and afternoon rush hours.

Federal agencies have been urged to allow employees to telework or use other work scheduling flexibilities on Wednesday because of the traffic impact of events related to the 50th anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. And it appears that many took that options. Commuters into the city reported light traffic and Metro officials said as of 1 p.m. their ridership numbers were about equal to a normal day.


Metro trains will run on a normal weekday schedule. Riders can use the following stations to reach events and related sites:

  • Assembly location for Wednesday’s march (600 New Jersey Avenue NW) — Union Station (Red Line) and Judiciary Square (Red Line).
  • National Mall — Foggy Bottom (Blue and Orange lines), Farragut West (Blue and Orange lines), Farragut North (Red Line), and Archives (Yellow and Green lines).

Metro officials are discouraging people from using the Smithsonian station because of the potential for overcrowding. Additionally, Arlington Cemetery is not a recommended station because the Memorial Bridge will be closed to pedestrian traffic. And again, when  you leave the Mall, they are encouraging riders to return to the same station where they arrived this morning.


President Obama will speak from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Wednesday, marking the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I Have a Dream” address and the March on Washington.

The president is expected to address the crowd at 3:05 p.m., minutes after the ringing of a historic bell from the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., will mark the time when King came to the microphone in 1963.

The church was the scene of a bombing in 1963 in which four girls were killed while preparing for youth day at the sanctuary.

Also in attendance will be former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter; entertainers Oprah Winfrey, Jamie Foxx and Forest Whitaker; and Robby Novak, a 9-year-old YouTube sensation better known as Kid President.

The day began with a 9 a.m. interfaith service at Shiloh Baptist Church for ticketholders only.

Musical performers will include Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey, who performed at the original march. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a speaker 50 years ago, will make an appearance.

Actor Hill Harper and broadcast journalist Soledad O’Brien will serve as emcees for the event, which will begin about 11 a.m.

The schedule is as follows, with personalities and performances listed in order of appearance.

11 a.m. to noon

● Geraldo Marshall (trumpet call).

● Pastor A.R. Bernard (invocation).

● Ambassador Andrew Young.

● Robby Novak, “Kid President.”

● National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.

● D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray.

● The Rev. Wintley Phipps.

● Sen. Angus King (I-Maine).

● Johnny L. DuPree, mayor of Hattiesburg, Miss., and secretary of the National Council of Black Mayors.

● Singers Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey.

● Charles Steele Jr., chief executive of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

● Melanie L. Campbell, president and chief executive of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation.

● Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.).

● Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie.

● A Junkanoo performance.

● Myrlie Evers-Williams.

● Kristin Stoneking, executive director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation.

● Mee Moua, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

● Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

● Singer Natalie Grant.

Noon to 1 p.m.

● Fred Maahs, chairman of the American Association of People With Disabilities.

● U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon (via video).

● Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and chief executive of the NAACP.

● Roslyn M. Brock, chairman of the NAACP.

● Alan van Capelle, chief executive of Bend the Arc.

● A performance by Maori dancers.

● The Rev. Joseph Lowery.

● Laura Turner Seydel, chairman of the Captain Planet Foundation.

● Eliza Byard, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network.

● Bill Russell.

● Mindless Behavior, performing “Future.”

● Clayola Brown, president of the A. Philip Randolph Institute.

● Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

● Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-Md.).

● Ingrid Saunders Jones, chairman of the National Council of Negro Women.

● Mark Tillman, president of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

● A performance by Step Afrika.

● Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the National Farm Workers Association.

● Lynn Stratford, senior vice president of UNICEF’s U.S. Fund.

● Judy Vredenburgh, president, and Shantia McCarthur, national scholar, from Girls Inc.

1 to 2 p.m.

● LeAnn Rimes, performing “Amazing Grace.”

● Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (D-Ohio), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

● Marc Morial, president and chief executive of the National Urban League.

● Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union.

● Jamie Foxx.

● Alayna Eagle Shield of the National Congress of American Indians.

● Sofia Campos of United We Dream.

● Sidney Poitier (via video).

● Shirley Caesar, performing “How I Got Over.”

● Phillip Agnew, executive director of Dream Defenders.

● The Rev. Al Sharpton, founder and president of the National Action Network.

● Julian Bond.

● Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.

● Lynda Bird Johnson Robb.

● Ambassador Caroline Kennedy.

● Forest Whitaker.

● BeBe, Marvin and Carvin Winans, performing “God Before Us.”

● Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund.

● A performance by the Children of the World choir.

2 to 4 p.m.

● Oprah Winfrey.

● Identity4Pop, performing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

● Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.).

● Jimmy Carter.

● Bill Clinton.

● Martin L. King III.

● Christine King Farris.

● The Rev. Bernice King, chief executive of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change.

● President Obama.

● A performance by the Commemorative Voices of Freedom Ensemble.


The National Park Service has banned items including backpacks, balloons, and coolers from its property, including the Mall, during the event.

Related50 years after March on Washington, economic gap between blacks, whites persists

RelatedHow the March on Washington shaped the Mall

Photos: Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington