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Get There: January 11, 2009 - January 17, 2009

Getting Around on Sunday During Opening Ceremony

The Inauguration   • Get There: RSS | Twitter• Live Traffic Alerts• Calendar | Maps• Inauguration Central It won't be anything like Tuesday, but there will be many traffic restrictions on Sunday, because of the inauguration opening ceremony scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. at the Lincoln Memorial. Traffic Restrictions The Roosevelt Bridge will be closed to all vehicles inbound to Washington from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Inbound traffic on Interstate 66 will be detoured to the 14th Street Bridge via Route 110 and Interstate 395 North. Pedestrians can use the sidewalk on the Roosevelt Bridge. The outbound lanes will remain open all day Sunday. HOV-2 is in effect eastbound on I-66 (far left lane outside the Beltway; both lanes inside the Beltway) until 3 a.m. Tuesday. Then, I-66 eastbound inside the Beltway will be open only to authorized vehicles. The authorized vehicles are buses, taxis, for-hire limos and...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 17, 2009; 4:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Metro Extending Fare Card Sales Hours

The Inauguration fare cards are very popular. When I came in on the Green Line today from Greenbelt, there were lines at every vending machine. Metro also had plenty of station agents on the scene to help people figure out how to buy them, which was good to see. In response to the demand, Metro has extended the hours for the Metro Center and Pentagon Sales Offices through the Inauguration on Tuesday. This isn't just good for Metro's revenue and for souvenir seekers after the Obama paper Farecards and plastic SmarTrip cards. It's also going to help us all during the crush on Tuesday when so many people are trying to get through the rail fare gates and aboard the buses. The sales office in the Metro Center Station will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. today and Sunday. It will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 10...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 17, 2009; 3:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Fairfax County Lifting Parking Restrictions on Tuesday

For Inauguration Day, the Fairfax County police will waive the Residential Permit Parking restrictions, starting at 3 a.m.Tuesday and ending at 3 a.m. Wednesday. On the other hand, police say they will monitor the traffic flow from the ramps coming from the Capital Beltway onto primary roads where gridlock is most likely. If they see traffic building up there, they may close off some ramps. In fact, that will be the case all around the Beltway on Tuesday. Police in Maryland as well as Virginia could close highway ramps at any time they think traffic threatens to jam local roads....

By Robert Thomson  |  January 17, 2009; 2:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Airport Travel on Inauguration Day

The Inauguration   • Get There: RSS | Twitter• Live Traffic Alerts• Calendar | Maps• Inauguration Central While I've gotten many questions about what time to leave home to reach the inauguration ceremonies and what's the best route, but one of the most frequently asked questions in the past months is, Will I be able to get to Reagan National Airport on Tuesday? There are two issues: The roads and the parking areas. If I had a flight on Tuesday, I'd reserve a cab or an airport shuttle, or take Metro. It's going to be very difficult to drive yourself. Driving There The George Washington Parkway, normally a main route to the airport, will be closed in both directions from the Capital Beltway on the American Legion Bridge side to the 14th Street Bridge.That means totally closed. Nobody gets to use it. Then it becomes more complicated. Buses and authorized...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 17, 2009; 2:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Metro Police Warn About Pickpockets

It's not that we're having a sudden problem, it's just that the crowding over the next few days creates a great environment for pickpocketing. "Pickpocketing is a crime of opportunity and the Inauguration and events associated with it will attract thieves from all corners to the Washington region," Metro Transit Police Det. Cedric Mitchell, an expert in pickpocket and identity theft crimes, said in a statement from Metro. "Crowded trains, train stations and bus stations are places where pickpockets like to ply their trade." Here's what happens: Most pickpockets work in pairs or small groups. They often cause a distraction by bumping into people or dropping things to draw attention away from the crime. Here's what the police recommend you do: * Keep handbags close to the body. * Carry wallets inside a coat pocket rather than in pants pocket. * Carry only the necessary amount of cash and credit...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 17, 2009; 12:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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The Weekend and Beyond

The Inauguration   • Get There: RSS | Twitter• Live Traffic Alerts• Calendar | Maps• Inauguration Central Well, not so far beyond this time. There's so much going on over this four-day weekend. So watch for many more postings here over the next few days. Metorail Service There's no track work scheduled for this weekend, but because of all the special events in Washington, Metro has made many adjustments to both train and bus service. Look here for the service plan for Sunday and Monday. Look here for bus service disruptions. And here's Metro's page detailing the entire service plan for Inauguration Day. Metro redesigned its Web site recently. The site has been doing a very good job keeping up with all the transit plans and all the adjustments to the plans, like which downtown stations will be open and at what hours. So keep looking at that. Going Seriously...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 16, 2009; 11:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Traffic Alert: Washington Boulevard Delays

Arlington County reports that traffic restrictions are in effect on Washington Boulevard at Glebe Road. There's a water main break. Washington Boulevard was down to two lanes west of Glebe Road. Traffic delays were very likely. Here's a map of the area. View Larger Map...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 16, 2009; 7:16 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Advisories  
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All Tuesday Train Tickets Sold

VRE, like MARC, has now sold out all its tickets for the reserved seat trains to Washington for Inauguration Day. Staff writer Jennifer Buske reports that VRE said that 8,750 tickets went to people going to watch the inauguration, 100 to people who are commuting to work for the day and 200 to 300 to uniformed officers who will be deployed in Washington. Inauguration Day trains will not make stops at Franconia-Springfield, Alexandria or Crystal City, but will stop at both L'Enfant Plaza and Union Station....

By Robert Thomson  |  January 16, 2009; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Traffic Alert: D.C. Streets Clear Around Obama Hotel

The District Department of Transportation announced this afternoon that the streets around the Hay Adams Hotel that were closed during President-Elect Obama's stay there have been reopened and the related parking restrictions have been lifted....

By Robert Thomson  |  January 15, 2009; 5:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Warning: Park at Metro Lots Early for Inauguration

The Inauguration   • Get There: RSS | Twitter• Live Traffic Alerts• Calendar | Maps• Inauguration Central Regular Metro riders and would-be visitors who are planning to park at Metrorail parking lots and ride the subway to inaugural events on Tuesday should be prepared to get to those parking lots early. Parking lots will be open at 3:30 a.m. and the trains will start running at 4 a.m. There are nearly 60,000 spaces, but the lots are expected to fill up by 5:30 to 6 a.m., according to Metro General Manager John B. Catoe Jr....

By Mike McPhate  |  January 15, 2009; 11:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories , Driving , Inauguration , Metro  
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Getting to Obama Event in Baltimore on Saturday

If we've made people think twice about heading into central Washington for the main inauguration events on Tuesday, they may be considering the Saturday afternoon gathering in Baltimore as their chance to see the president-elect this weekend. These are the basics from the Presidential Inaugural Committee. Where: War Memorial Plaza, 101 N. Gay St., Baltimore, MD Doors Open: 1 p.m. Event Begins: 4:15 p.m. Tickets: Open to the public. No tickets necessary. The thing is, the plaza next to city hall is no where near big enough to accommodate the 100,000 people that planners anticipate. The planners couldn't get a more logical venue, like the stadiums where the Orioles or Ravens play. Instead, they've got this site just north of the Inner Harbor. So the event is likely to provide a preview of some of the hassles spectators and city residents will go through on Tuesday in Washington. Streets will...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 15, 2009; 8:07 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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The 'Unprecedented' Challenges of Inauguration Day

Dan Tangherlini may have used the word "unprecedented" an unprecedented number of times in describing the region's Inauguration Day preparations. The D.C. city administrator said that the level of regional cooperation was unprecedented. But so was the scale of the event. "The region is going to be impacted at unprecedented levels," he said. One of the symptoms is the "unprecedented level of tour buses" likely to arrive by Tuesday morning. As part of the regional cooperation to control traffic volume, Virginia took the "unprecedented" step of announcing it would shut portions of two interstates and restrict other roadways. For its part, the District plans to take the "unprecedented step of opening up the Third Street Tunnel" to pedestrians on Tuesday. Virginia came right back at that, and "took the unprecedented step of providing free Metrobuses" on certain routes that would help get people to and from Tuesday's ceremonies. Get the...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 15, 2009; 7:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Live Q&A, Noon: Fisher Talks Inauguration Logistics

It's an all-inauguration edition of Potomac Confidential, as we look at the majesty and the scare stories, the logistics and the security issues, travel strategies and the essential question: Go or stay home? Marc will be online today at Noon ET to take your questions and comments. Submit your question before or during the discussion. Check out Fisher's blog, Raw Fisher....

By Mike McPhate  |  January 15, 2009; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Two Bridges Restricted on Sunday

Here's the lastest adjustment in the transportation plan for inauguration weekend: The Memorial and Roosevelt bridges will be restricted Sunday, because of the inauguration opening ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial. The rules on each bridge are different The Memorial Bridge is completely closed in both directions. No cars, no buses, no bikes no pedestrians. The Roosevelt is closed to inbound vehicles, but will be open outbound. And it has a walkway. If you could drive across the bridges, there would be no where to go once you got to the D.C. side. There are many streets closed around the Lincoln Memorial and in the blocks from Constitution Avenue north from 5 a.m. to about 5 p.m. Couple of things about getting to and from this Sunday afternoon event, which could draw several hundred thousand people: * Metrorail is a best best. Just remember that you won't be able to get...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 14, 2009; 3:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Suburban Buses Announce Jan. 20 Plans

Metro and the suburban bus systems have been working to coordinate their services on Inauguration Day, and the burbs are now announcing plans to get passengers to and from rail stations. Here are a few of those announcements, but we expect more. As soon as we compile a complete list, we'll post it here and put it in the newspaper. Fairfax Connector Fairfax Connector will provide free rides for all passengers on Jan. 20. It's a good way to avoid a parking hassle at one of the Metrorail stations, which are likely to be really crowded. Park at one of the designated Park and Ride lots and board the Connector, or pick ukp the bus at a stop along the route. The Connector will operate an enhanced Saturday schedule with more trips and additional routes. Routes serving Metrorail stations in Fairfax County will operate with more trips. Bus service will...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 14, 2009; 6:27 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Inauguration Update: Metro Adds Late Night Service Monday

These updates could become a daily event. On Tuesday, Metro modified the times some downtown stations would be open on Jan. 20. Today's update will tell you that Metro also has added late night service for Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, when there will be many parties in Washington related to the inauguration. Metrorail will open at 5 a.m. Monday and close at 2 a.m. Tuesday. Then just two hours later, the trains will start running again at rush hour service levels for Inauguration Day. Once again, closing will come the following morning at 2 o'clock. Many people were calling on Metro to add those Monday night-Tuesday morning service, but I'm not crazy about it. I thought Metro needed those extra hours to get itself ready for the unprecedented demands we'll put on it Tuesday. Metro says the Hotel Association of Washington, D.C., will pay for the late closing...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 14, 2009; 5:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration , Metro  
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Your Inauguration Lifeline

The inauguration promises to be a transportation ... um, what's the word? ... oh, nightmare. It's going to be a nightmare. Better your odds at surviving the festivities unscathed by getting live updates from Dr. Gridlock and the Post transportation team. We will be pounding the pavement to get you the latest on closures, traffic jams, escape routes and more leading up to, during, and after the swearing-in. Here are some options: Twitter Follow the Dr. Gridlock Twitter feed, which displays all transportation news and updates from the Post and Get There. (What's Twitter?) RSS Follow all transportation news and updates, including Get There, via RSS. (What's RSS?) Follow just Get There via RSS. Mobile Get inauguration-related text alerts on your phone. Just text "INAUG" to WPOST (97678). And, of course, you can always follow us right here and at Inauguration Central....

By Mike McPhate  |  January 13, 2009; 2:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Events , Inauguration  
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Metro Modifies Station Closings for Jan. 20

This morning, I said that Inauguration Day plans keep evolving. They just evolved some more. The transit authority announced that the Smithsonian Metrorail station on the Blue and Orange lines and the Archives Station on the Green and Yellow lines will reopen following the Inauguration parade at about 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 20. The old plan called for them to be shut down all day, for security and crowd control reasons. Reopening them in the early evening will help clear out central Washington after the day's events, but they're likely to be very crowded, like the other downtown stations. You can find more updates today at Inauguration Central....

By Robert Thomson  |  January 13, 2009; 12:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Inauguration , Metro  
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Traffic/Transit Alert: Connecticut Avenue Reopened

Connecticut Avenue has reopened following a morning rush-hour closure between Porter Street and Cathedral Avenue for a police investigation, the District Department of Transportation said. (See story.) Cleveland Park Metro station also has reopened. The Red Line station was closed for about an hour and a half this morning while police investigated a suspicious vehicle on Connecticut Avenue. The incident, which is what closed the avenue, began at 6:04 a.m. The station reopened at 7:39 a.m., Metro said. Here's a map. View Larger Map...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 13, 2009; 7:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Inauguration Transportation Plan Keeps Evolving

Either it keeps evolving or we just start to understand it better. A few things that changed on Monday: * Virginia officials announced they would provide some free bus services to Metro stations and Potomac River crossings. The plan sounds similar to the Maryland commuter bus program, only Virginia's will be free. (See details here.) * The Mount Vernon Square Metrorail station will close at 7:30 a.m. next Tuesday, and the Judiciary Square Station will close at 4 p.m., because they're close to inaugural ball sites. The transit authority had planned to close only the Smithsonian and Archives stations. (See blog entry.) * Extra B30 Metrobuses will run between BWI Marshall Airport and the Greenbelt Metro station from Friday through Wednesday. And 5A Metrobuses will operate a modified service from Rosslyn Metrorail station to Dulles Airport. The 5A normally stops at L'Enfant Plaza and Rosslyn stations, but will not stop...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 13, 2009; 7:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Look for Eight-Car Metro Trains

Metro will be running more eight-car trains today and Wednesday on all the lines as part of its continuing test for Inauguration Day. Pay special attention to the electronic information signs on the Metrorail platforms. Half of all trains will be eight cars long during the peak periods, the transit authority says. During the off-peak hours, all trains are scheduled to be eight cars. This is a continuation of the tests Metro has been doing to prepare for the heavy demands of Inauguration Day service. But I've noticed that on the previous test days this month, many riders got confused about where the trains would stop. No matter how long they are, the trains will stop at the head of the platform on the test days. That's part of the test for the operators. But if the train is six cars long, the last cars will pass by the platform...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 13, 2009; 5:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Inauguration , Metro  
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Metro to Run Extra Airport Buses for Inauguration

Metro is doubling the number of passengers it can carry on its buses that serve the Washington region's major international airports for Inauguration Weekend, the agency announced. Metro will run additional buses from Friday, Jan. 16, through Wednesday, Jan. 21, on the B30 Route, which runs from the Greenbelt Metrorail station on the Green Line to the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and on the 5A Route, which will run a modified service from Rosslyn Metrorail station on the Blue and Orange lines to Washington Dulles International Airport. Metro says the expansion will help air travelers heading to the Washington region for the Jan. 20th Inauguration. The 5A normally stops at L'Enfant Plaza and Rosslyn Metrorail stations, but will not service the Tysons-Westpark Transit Station or the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride Lot between Jan. 16 and Jan. 21. Buses will operate every 15-20 minutes, instead of every 30 minutes during...

By Mike McPhate  |  January 12, 2009; 2:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration , Metro  
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More Metro Station Closings for Inauguration

Metro riders please take note. Two more rail stations will be closed for much of the day on Inauguration Day. The Judiciary Square Metrorail station on the Red Line and the Mt.Vernon Sq/7th St Convention Center Metrorail station on the Yellow and Green lines will close early for security reasons, at the request of the U.S. Secret Service, officials said. The Mt. Vernon Sq/7th St Convention Center Metrorail station will close at 7:30 a.m., and the Judiciary Square Metrorail station will close at 4 p.m. because of their proximity to locations hosting Inaugural Balls. Both stations are scheduled to reopen at 5 a.m., on Wednesday, January 21. Metro is encouraging people to use nearby stations such as the Metro Center, Gallery Pl-Chinatown or Union Station Metrorail stations. Two other Metro stations close to the parade route and the Mall will be closed all day: Archives-Navy Memorial on the Yellow and...

By Mike McPhate  |  January 12, 2009; 2:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Advisories , Inauguration , Metro  
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Caution for Elderly, Disabled on Inauguration Day Travel

When I urge you to think of Inauguration Day travel as you would a day when a blizzard is forecast, one of the things I have in mind is this: The events are not very welcoming for older, frailer or disabled people. The transportation systems have their setups to assist the elderly and disabled, but they won't be enhancing them for Jan. 20. Every transportation agency expects its roads, sidewalks, buses and rails in the Washington area to be heavily stressed by the inauguration crowds. They are urging people to think seriously about whether they also are up for the stress of getting to and from these events. Metro officials said today they are cautioning seniors and people with disabilities about what they are likely to face when using Metrorail, Metrobus and MetroAccess on Inauguration Day and the weekend days leading up to it. "Although Metrobus and Metrorail are fully...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 12, 2009; 10:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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VRE Still Has Inauguration Day Tickets

Unlike MARC, the Virginia Railway Express has not sold all its train tickets for Inauguration Day. You still can get the tickets by mail, as originally described but now VRE also is allowing walk-in purchases at its headquarters in Alexandria from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. until Friday. Pay by check or credit card only. Here's a link to all the details on inauguration service. You'll need one of these special Inauguration Day tickets to get on the trains. While the roundtrip tickets are $25, it's still a good call, considering the hassle it's going to be getting to central Washington from Virginia on Jan. 20. Anyone requesting tickets by mail after today must include $16 for express shipping. The last day for requesting mail orders will be Thursday. Here's a link to the VRE train schedules for Jan. 20. The VRE headquarters is at 1500 King St., Suite 202,...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 12, 2009; 9:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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16th Street NW Reopens After Water Main Break

Update: 2:56 p.m.: Traffic has resumed in both directions on 16th Street NW, although work crews have closed one lane of the 1500 block of L Street, officials said. Repair crews from the D.C. Water and Sewer authority are expected to be working for several more hours, until at least 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. to fix the main, said DC WASA spokeswoman Pamela Mooring. WASA has set up a work zone in the 1500 block of 17th Street. The sidewalk on the east side of 16th Street NW is closed to pedestrians, said D.C. Department of Transportation spokesman John Lisle. The agency has two traffic control officers in the area, Lisle said. Update: 12:32 p.m.: Water from the break is creating icy conditions, officials warned. Original post: A water main break this morning forced the closure of a section of 16th St. NW, tying up rush hour traffic in...

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 12, 2009; 9:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Driving  
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Join Me For a Discussion

Join me at 1 p.m. for an online discussion about all our local traffic and transit issues. Are you planing to drive, ride, walk or crawl somewhere on Inauguration Day? Still smarting from the end of Metro's paper transfers and the new dependence on SmarTrip cards? Let's talk about it. Just want to talk about why drivers are so bad at merging? Use this link to reach the discussion. Here's one in case you want to submit a question or comment in advance....

By Robert Thomson  |  January 12, 2009; 8:17 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Maryland to D.C. on Inauguration Day

While federal and local officials have sharply restricted access points between Virginia and the District, they've left the Maryland border wide open. Does that mean Jan. 20 is going to be easier on Marylanders? Not necessarily. Marylanders have more choices, but they'll need to make smart choices. And like everyone else, they have only one chance to get it right. If they don't, they'll miss the swearing-in, a flight from National, a doctor's appointment or starting time at work -- by a lot. Many Virginians who are in decent shape and live close in can walk or bike into central Washington. Marylanders would have to be in really, really good shape to accomplish that. Out of the other possibilities, some form of transit journey remains the better option. But as Sara Wilson, Metro's assistant general manager for communications, pointed out to us last week: "There is no best bet." Every...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 12, 2009; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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MAP: Walking to the Inauguration

Drivers will be an endangered species in D.C. on inauguration day, but walkers will be allowed virtually free reign. For those who plan to park their cars and hoof it into the city, here's a handy guide to walking over the 10 bridges into the District. Full inauguration coverage....

By Mike McPhate  |  January 11, 2009; 6:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Commuting , Driving , Events , Inauguration  
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Traffic Alert: Pennsylvania Ave. Shut Temporarily

[12:30 p.m. Update: Exercise over. All streets have reopened.] Pennsylvania Avenue NW is closed between 3rd Street and 17th Street NW till about noon for a pre-Inauguration exercise. Post reporters are out covering it. You can read their story here....

By Robert Thomson  |  January 11, 2009; 10:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Advisories , Inauguration  
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