The Washington Post's Dr. Gridlock explains how to prepare for the inauguration in Washington, D.C., as traffic and road closures increase. (Elyse Samuels/The Washington Post)

Green Line service restored (1:15 p.m.)

Green Line service has been restored between Anacostia and Branch Avenue stations, following a police investigation stemming from an unauthorized person on the Metro tracks. Police had had not found the man, according to Metro spokesman Dan Stessel, but concluded he was no longer in the rail system.

About noon, Metro workers cut power to the rails after a man began running down the tracks near Naylor Road. The power-loss stalled a train about 1,000 feet outside Naylor Road station. Stessel said about 20 passengers had to be evacuated from a train onto the track bed, where they walked safely to Naylor Road station.

Police were still investigating the incident and would review security footage in an attempt to identify and find the man, Stessel said.

Service on Green Line partially suspended after man begins running down tracks (12:05 p.m.)

Green Line service is suspended between Anacostia and Naylor Road after a man began running down the tracks.

Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said third-rail power was taken down while Metro Transit Police chased after the man.

The man entered the tracks between Naylor Road and Southern Avenue, Stessel said. Trains are turning around at Naylor Road and Anacostia. Shuttle service is being established to ferry passengers to stations in between.

Metro Ridership lowest for an inauguration in at least 12 years

Metro’s ridership numbers from this morning illustrated what many riders were seeing: sparse crowds and less hassle than usual for an Inauguration Day.

By 11 a.m., Metro said 193,000 trips had been taken on Metro on Inauguration Day. By contrast, ridership for President Obama’s 2009 inauguration was nearly three times that: 513,000 trips by 11 a.m. Friday’s ridership was the lowest for an inauguration in more than 12 years, with 2005 figures edging out this morning’s by about 4,000.

Clashes break out as authorities try to divert demonstrations, snarling traffic (11:10 a.m.)

Clashes broke out between demonstrators and authorities near Franklin Square shortly before 11 a.m., as dozens of uniformed officers attempted to divert the protests south and east from downtown.

Two bus shelters were smashed near 13th and K streets. Newspaper boxes were overturned and the street was littered with loose papers. Dozens of squad cars and police vans created a barricade on L street, and officers on motorcycle and bikes swarmed the area as the demonstrators marched through downtown.

At least one man appeared to have been subdued with chemical spray.

Metro spokesman Dan Stessel referred questions about smashed bus stops to DDOT.

“Metro does not own or maintain bus shelters on DC streets,” he said.

He would not say if the agency has seen other bus stops vandalized across the city.  The good news, he said, is bus detours are already in place around the area where the two stops were smashed early Friday.

The Woodley Park-Adams Morgan line of the D.C. Circulator was detoured as a result of the rolling protests near McPherson Square. The stops at 13th and K Street and 14th & I Street were not being served.

Update: A Capital Bikeshare station at 14th and L streets was shut down for cleanup after the scuffles.

Traffic slowed by demonstrations (10:40 a.m.)

Demonstrations are slowing travel in multiple locations, according to D.C. Police. Police said protests are disrupting traffic flow in the locations below:

Near Franklin Square, smoke could be observed pouring out of an overturned newspaper box, and traffic was tied up at 13th and K streets. Authorities extinguished it and quickly cleared the scene.

FAA reminds Inaugural crowds: D.C. is a ‘No-Drone Zone’ (10:28 a.m.)

The Federal Aviation Administration is reminding visitors they can’t bring drones to the District.

The District and surrounding areas are a no-drone zone, the FAA said in a tweet. The FAA’s prohibition against flying drones covers any area within a 15-mile radius of Reagan National Airport.

More details on prohibited items can be found below:

Plenty of space at Metro garages, charter bus lots (9:05 a.m.)

Most Metro parking lots and garages were less than half full by 8:30 a.m., the transit agency reported. Only East Falls Church and Van Dorn climbed above 50 percent — with the lots 65 percent full at East Falls and 55 percent at Van Dorn by that time.

Meanwhile at RFK Stadium, where charter buses were staging, 220 buses had applied for permits, according to District Department of Transportation spokesman Terry Owens. The capacity was 1,200. At President Obama’s 2009 inauguration, more than 3,000 charter buses were registered for parking permits in the city.

Some trouble spots crop up downtown (7:51 a.m.)

Traffic Friday morning appeared lighter than usual across the Washington region, with a few trouble spots near the road closures in a wide strip of downtown Washington for the inaugural celebration.

City transportation officials said no major incidents had been reported, but city traffic cameras are showing moderate to heavy traffic.

A signal malfunction at H Street and Massachusetts Avenue at 3rd Street NW was causing delays and city officials said signal technicians were on the way to resolve the issue.

There are numerous road closures and parking restrictions in and around the Mall, some of which began as early as 3 a.m. Thursday. The restrictions and closures Friday affect streets around Capitol Hill, the National Mall, and the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Drivers have to go around large perimeters and plot out alternative routes in advance.

More than 300 traffic control officers are out Friday to facilitate wayfinding and traffic control from RFK Stadium, the drop-off point for charter buses, to the National Mall, officials said.

Green Line traffic ‘lighter and whiter’ on Friday (7:48 a.m.)


Inauguration attendees stop to take a picture at L’Enfant Plaza about 7 a.m. (Photo: Arelis R. Hernández)

On most work days, the Green Line train from Branch Avenue  is full of different kinds of people heading to office jobs, service jobs in the many city businesses, outdoor labor jobs and government jobs — their ID badges hanging from their necks.

The deeper the train heads into the working class inner-Beltway neighborhoods and into Southeast Washington, the volume usually increases.

But on this Inauguration Day, the typical human flow from the majority black jurisdiction of Prince George’s was different on the Green Line. It was lighter and whiter. Only a trickle of folks boarded the trains at Congress Heights, Suitland and Naylor Road.

There were more first-timers holding out their Smart Trip cards anxious of dropping them. Absent was the cool confidence of veterans who had a secure and easy-to-reach compartment for their cards.  The newcomer eyes darted across the train while the few frequent riders closed their eyes, popped in headphones and let the rumble of the train carry them as it had week after week.

At the station, red was the color of choice for inauguration goers along with american flags draped around necks as scarfs and handkerchiefs or jackets and hats. Upon reaching L’Enfant plaza, the inexperienced riders formed bottlenecks to take pictures while Metro workers urged them to keep moving.

– Arelis R. Hernández

No Metro garages more than 40 percent full (7:18 a.m.)

Early morning traffic was light at the Friendship Heights station on Metro’s Red Line with fewer than a dozen passengers on the platform. Trains were arriving at a steady clip — one every five to seven minutes. The cars had plenty of seats.

Inbound orange line trains from New Carrollton, however, had very few people getting on until Stadium Armory, the dropoff point for charter buses.

An hour after the system had opened, traffic was light at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. The lower two levels of seven in the parking deck had about a dozen cars each. A dusting of red hats and jackets add flair to the scene. Groups crowded around the SmarTrip machines, hinting that many are making their first trip on Metro.

In Greenbelt, Metro’s Green Line terminus, had several hundred cars parked, but hundreds of spaces still open. Metro has 60,000 parking spots at lots and garages across the region and as of 7 a.m., the transit agency said parking is available at all stations with lots/garages.  The agency said no station is more than 40 percent full.

On the roads, not everything was going smooth Friday morning.  The closures were causing some delays on the Roosevelt Bridge and backup at E Street exit ramp, which is shut down.

Luz Lazo, Lori Aratani, Clarence Williams, Joe Heim, Robert Thomson, Mark Miller

Beltway a sea of green (7:12 a.m.)

Here’s something you don’t see often. It’s 7 a.m. on a Friday, near the height of the morning rush, and the beltway is a sea of green.

Did we mention it’s Inauguration day? Aside from the downtown street closures slowing traffic, no significant road problems have been reported. It appears many D.C. area commuters have heeded warnings to stay off the roads — so far.


Screenshot: Google Maps

Some Metro station entry or exit only (6:45 a.m.)

Some Metro stations are entry and exit only this morning to accommodate for Inauguration Day crowds. Metro advises the following:

Union Station‘s 1st Street entrance is exit only until 10:30 a.m., but customers can enter and exit through the Massachusetts Avenue entrance.

Metro Center is exit only until 10:30 a.m. at the following entrances: 13th & G, 11th & G and 12th & F

L’Enfant Plaza‘s 7th and Maryland Ave. entrance is exit only until 10:30 a.m.

Gallery Place‘s 7th and H and 9th and G entrances are exit only until 10:30 a.m.

And Stadium-Armory‘s RFK entrance is entry only until 1 p.m.

Original post

It’s here, Inauguration Day. Nearly a million visitors are expected for the Inaugural festivities and demonstrations. We know many of you are starting your journey bright and early. So whether you’re walking, biking, busing, taking Metro, braving the traffic — or something else — we’ve got you covered.

Here’s your guide to getting around during today’s rush. Check back often for updates on how things are going.

Street closures:

For hundreds of thousands, the trickiest part of Inauguration Day travel will be navigating a massive security perimeter around the festivities. The Inauguration is a “National Special Security Event,” meaning drivers and downtown commuters will encounter extremely tight security, with dozens of road closures that will snarl traffic and transit access. The strictest measures can be expected for the  Inauguration ceremony and parade along Pennsylvania Avenue.

The perimeter extends from Capitol Hill down the Mall and a through a swath of downtown roughly bounded by Massachusetts Avenue and K streets to the north, 23rd Street NW to the west, Independence Avenue and E Streets SW to the south and 2nd Street SE to the East. Full street closures are in effect in the red zone; the green zone is limited to residential and business access. Parking is restricted throughout the perimeter. Driving is not advised, but we know some of you will do it anyway.

[D.C. prepares for a million inauguration visitors — and protesters]


Driving:

Beware: street closures will likely stall downtown traffic and snarl travel into the District from Northern Virginia and Maryland. Delays can be expected throughout the region, as thousands of visitors flock to the Beltway, Interstates 95 and 66 and other major entry-points into the District, such as Rhode Island and New York Avenue NE .

For those commuting from Northern Virginia, be advised: northbound high-occupancy vehicle lanes on I-395 are closed through the conclusion of the parade. But HOV restrictions have been lifted on I-66, and main lanes on I-395 and I-66 are open to all traffic, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation. Vehicle traffic on the Memorial Bridge is not permitted, but the Key Bridge, Chain Bridge, Woodrow Wilson Bridge, and American Legion Bridge are all open, VDOT says. Meanwhile, I-95 Express Lanes will begin “reversing” an hour sooner than normal, at 10 a.m., to accommodate for traffic headed south by about noon, VDOT says.

Drivers should expect long delays and bumper-to-bumper traffic, paired with the added frustration of detours and rolling street closures.

Parking: In all, Metro has about 60,000 parking spaces available for use, across 29 lots and 22 garages throughout the region. Many of them are near major highways like I-95 and the Capital Beltway. Drivers will be charged regular weekday prices, and garages are expected to fill up quickly.

Charter buses: Charter buses are restricted to RFK stadium on Inauguration Day. The cost to park is $175 per vehicle, organizers say, and parking is available from 5 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. And if you happen to lose your bus, there’s a handy app to track it down. Drivers are advised to access RFK Stadium from the east, using I-295. Visitors can reach inaugural festivities by taking Metro’s Orange, Blue or Silver lines from Stadium-Armory to any number of core stations — namely L’Enfant Plaza, two blocks from the Mall.

Metro: D.C.’s subway system will run rush-hour service through 9 p.m. On most lines, that means trains should be expected to arrive within six minutes (and maybe sooner on the Red Line). Riders can purchase a commemorative SmarTrip card for $10 that comes preloaded with a one-day unlimited use pass for Metrorail and Metrobus today. Otherwise, expect to pay peak fares — anywhere from $2.15 to $5.90 — depending on the length of your trip.

Keep in mind that for security reasons, the following five stations will be closed:

Archives and Mt. Vernon Square (Green, Yellow), Pentagon (Blue, Yellow), Federal Triangle and Smithsonian (Orange, Blue, Silver).

The Yellow Line is running Rush-Plus service, meaning additional trains will operate between Greenbelt and Franconia-Springfield. While authorities are not expecting the record crowds from the 2009 inauguration — Metro’s busiest day ever — the transit agency advised passengers to expect long lines, crowded trains and intermittent delays. Metro also recommends avoiding transfers for the smoothest trips. Further guidance on how to use Metro to navigate the inauguration and parade can be found in the “Pedestrians” section below.


Five stations will be closed for security on Inauguration day. (Screenshot: Metro)

The bus: Metrobus will operate on a Saturday schedule, with bolstered service on some routes. But about 30 routes, listed on Metro’s website  here, will have shortened service because of road closures. Eight routes that normally run on Saturdays will not operate.  The 30-line, which stretches through the perimeter across the Mall, will be the hardest hit.

While routes 30N and 30S will not operate, Metro recommends a number of alternatives: passengers can use the 31 and 33 for service between Friendship Heights and Washington Circle, or the 32, 34 and 36 for service between Eastern Market and the Naylor Road and Southern Avenue Metro stations. Some 30-line routes will operate in two segments. Metro has the details here.

The 96, P6 and D6 will add detours due to road closures. Details can be found here.

In Northern Virginia, the Pentagon Transit Center will be closed for security reasons. Bus routes serving Pentagon will start and stop at Pentagon City Metro station.

On the D.C. Circulator, service will be suspended on four routes: Union Station-Navy Yard, Mall, Rosslyn-Dupont and Georgetown-Union Station.

DC Streetcar: Still in its inaugural year, the D.C. streetcar will serve up extended hours for its first presidential inauguration. Trolleys will run from 4 a.m. to 2 a.m. The 2.2-mile route serves the H Street corridor, running eastward from Union Station.

MetroAccess: Though MetroAccess will stick to the same operating hours as Metro, riders of the paratransit service should expect detours, delays and service adjustments. Metro says subscription trips are canceled for Friday. Metro also warns that access to pickup and dropoff points may be severely limited, as vans can only reach points several blocks from the Mall and parade routes.

Pedestrians: Revelers can access the Mall from Constitution Avenue at Seventh, 12th and 17th streets NW, and Independence Avenue at 12th, 15th and 17th streets SW. For parade access, Metro recommends taking the Red Line to Farragut North or the Blue, Orange or Silver line to Farragut West — about a mile walk from the Mall. L’Enfant Plaza, served by five of six lines, is about two blocks from the Mall.

Consult this Metro Guide for the best route to the Inauguration.

If you’re watching inaugural ceremonies from the Mall, you won’t need tickets. The non-ticketed area stretches from Fourth Street NW past the Washington Monument to 17th Street NW. Bags will, however, be checked.

The following items will be prohibited: Aerosols; ammunition; animals other than service or guide dogs; large backpacks; balloons; bicycles; coolers; drones; explosives; firearms; glass, thermal or metal containers; laser pointers; mace or pepper spray; packages; selfie sticks; structures; supports for signs and placards; toy guns; weapons of any kind; and any other hazardous items.

Biking: Cyclists will find free bike parking at 16th and I streets NW. 

Capital Bikeshare has a $2 single-trip option instituted ahead of Metro’s yearlong SafeTrack repair program, that has proven popular with riders. But Bikeshare stations around the Mall will be closed today. Bike “corrals” will be set up at two popular locations; 17th and K streets NW and Fourth and E streets SW.

Hailing a ride: You should be able to take a taxi, Uber or Lyft as far as the inauguration perimeter. Taxi stands will be set up in the following locations: Hill East, L’Enfant Plaza, Mount Vernon Square and the Kennedy Center.

To hail an Uber or Lyft, afterward, you might have to do a little walking. Because of a “geofence” set up around the Mall, you can’t ping the services from inside the perimeter. Uber has created designated pickup zones, which are mapped below. Expect delays and potential price surges.


A “geofence” will prevent Uber cars from being hailed from inside the inauguration perimeter. (Screenshot: Uber)

 

Metro security: For obvious reasons, security will be heightened inside the Metro system during today’s festivities. A memo sent by the Metro Transit Police chief to employees this week referred to “certain groups who have expressed a desire to disrupt Inaugural activities.”

“Specifically,” he said, “we are aware of unconfirmed statements by a small number of individuals within these groups regarding plans to disrupt Metrorail service.”

Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said that Transit Police are “well aware” of rumors about potential disruptions planned by protesters for Metro. “They are prepared to address any contingency,” Stessel said. There are more than 140 transit police officers from around the country who arrived Wednesday to assist with Inauguration Day, Stessel said. Each officer is paired with a Metro Transit Police officer and fanned out throughout the system. The force has about 500 transit police officers, and Metro says every available officer will be on duty.

Weather, Umbrella policy, other considerations: Today’s forecast calls for gloomy weather, starting with showers in the morning, and on-and-off rain through the afternoon. Temperatures are expected to be in the 40s. One upside: The National Park Service has reversed a policy banning umbrellas. Small, collapsible umbrellas will be allowed on the parade route and on the Mall. Those on Capitol grounds are still out of luck, however.

The best advice we can give offer: be patient.

And stay tuned — we’ll be with you throughout the day.