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Get There: January 18, 2009 - January 24, 2009

Metro Alert: Delays at Silver Spring

Riders should expect delays in both directions at the Silver Spring station because of an earlier train malfunction that has since been resolved....

By Mike McPhate  |  January 23, 2009; 3:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Metro  
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Fire Jams Rte. 50 Westbound in Falls Church

Update, 12:40 p.m.: Westbound through lanes are open. Service road is closed. Drivers experiencing delays in each direction. Original post, 12:01 p.m.: Route 50 westbound is blocked at Annandale Rd. because of a fire at a Shell gas station. Fire and emergency personnel are on the scene. See live traffic updates....

By Mike McPhate  |  January 23, 2009; 12:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories , Driving  
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The Weekend and Beyond

Here are some suggestions for your travels this weekend and beyond. Metrorail Delays Track maintenance on the Orange and Red lines this weekend will cause delays of 25 minutes for some riders as trains take turns sharing a single track around the maintenance areas. See the full details at this page on Metro's Web site. I-95 Northbound HOV Lane Closure Closures of the northbound HOV lanes are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. From Dumfries to the Pentagon, the northbound HOV will be closed from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. At 11 a.m.. the HOV lanes will open to northbound traffic from the Franconia-Springfield Parkway to the Pentagon. At 6 p.m. the entire length HOV will re-open to northbound traffic. Super Bowl Planning The next big event on our national calendar is the Super Bowl on Feb. 1. If your traveling to and from a party, do...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 23, 2009; 10:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Traffic Alert: Extra Congestion Downtown

[5:50 p.m. Update: D.C. officials say traffic is now flowing in the Capitol Hill area, but they urge drivers to use caution and watch for pedestrians following the March for Life.] Rolling street closures near the Capitol may cause delays for homebound commuters this afternoon. The closures for the annual March for Life are in the area of 1st Street NE, Madison Drive, East Capitol Street, Jefferson Drive, Constitution Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue. Also, drivers and bus users may encounter delays this afternoon in the Foggy Bottom area, because some streets around the State Department could be temporarily blocked for use by government motorcades. The Maryland Transit Administration is advising its commuter bus passengers that these delays may throw off the bus schedule....

By Robert Thomson  |  January 22, 2009; 2:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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How it Worked, Part 1: Thousands Biked Tuesday

Many planners, workers, volunteers and travelers contributed to making the Inauguration Day transportation plan a success. That doesn't mean that close to two million people all got where they were going and back in a timely fashion, but that would be way too high a standard for a rare event like this. Near Lincoln Memorial.(Thomson) What it does mean is that the transportation system's managers across the region worked together to give people travel options, so travelers actually could come up with the Plans A, B and C that they needed to handle Tuesday's difficult circumstances. One of the available options that helped make the plan work was cycling. Thousands of people took advantage of that. Here's what I observed and heard. The first cyclists I saw on Inauguration morning were pedaling at pedestrian speed across Memorial Bridge, which was covered with walkers heading toward the Mall. The bikers --...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 22, 2009; 8:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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District Announces Thursday Street Closings

Barely done with the Inauguration Day plan, the District Department of Transportation is announcing the street closures and parking restrictions for the annual March for Life on Thursday. While no where near the scale of the inauguration ceremonies, this event does draw a very large crowd to central Washington each January, so watch out not only for the closed streets, but also for groups of pedestrians heading to and from the rally and march. At about 11:30 a.m., many people plan to march to the Mall after an event at the Verizon Center. Look for temporary closures along 7th Street NW from F Street to Madison Drive. After a noon rally on the Mall, the march to the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill is scheduled to begin at about 2:15 p.m. The group will march north on 4th Street NW to Pennsylvania Avenue, then east to Constitution Avenue and up...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 21, 2009; 4:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Union Station Evacuated After Smoke Alarm Set Off

People wait outside Union Station after they were evacuated due to a grease fire. (AFP/Getty) D.C. firefighters responded to a grease fire at McDonald's restaurant at Union Station today and the station was evacuated as a safety precaution, but there were no injuries. The fire started because of overheated grease, said department spokesman Alan Etter. As a precaution, people in the station, packed with inauguration travelers making their way home, were evacuated. David Joseph, 15, visiting from Concord, N.C., was waiting for his train and had just left the restaurant. He said he and his mother decided to go shopping because of the fire. Matt and Charlotte Robinson came to the District from Los Angeles on the train and even though fire snarled their plans for a moment it didn't mar their trip. "We had a wonderful time," she said just before the all-clear was given. -- Hamil Harris...

By Mike McPhate  |  January 21, 2009; 1:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories , Metro  
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Accident Snarls I-95 SB in Prince George's County

Update, 12:27 a.m.: All lanes are now getting by. Update, 11:45 a.m.: Two left lanes are getting by. Medevac has left the scene. Original post, 11:25 a.m.: An accident has shut down Interstate 95 southbound between Route 198 and Route 212/Beltsville after an accident involving a tractor trailer in Laurel. Northbound lanes are open but moving slowly from the Beltway. A Medevac team is on the scene. See live traffic updates....

By Mike McPhate  |  January 21, 2009; 11:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Congestion , Driving  
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Metro Ridership Tops 1 Million, Shattering Record

Inauguration-bound throngs. (By James A. Parcell For The Washington Post) Metro set an all time record for rail ridership on Inauguration Day, with riders taking about 1,120,000, Metro officials said today. The transit agency was open from 4 a.m. Tuesday until 2 a.m. Wednesday, and ran an unprecedented 17 hours of rush-hour service. The previous record was set on Monday, when riders took 866,681 trips. The agency yesterday also provided 423,000 bus trips and 1,721 MetroAccess trips for a grand total of 1,544,721 trips, the highest ridership day ever in the transit authority's history. Metro General manager John Catoe said months of planning paid off. "Our Metro system wasn't designed to transport this many people in such a short time, but we did it," he said. See the full press release. POLL...

By Mike McPhate  |  January 21, 2009; 11:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
Categories:  Inauguration , Metro  
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Wilson Bridge Ramp Closing Thursday

The Wilson Bridge Project will be closing the exit to the Eisenhower Avenue Connector from the Capital Beltway's inner loop (I-95/495 Southbound) starting Thursday, after the morning rush. This ramp may be closed for up to six months. The detours will be: * Exit 176B (northbound Telegraph Road), Pershing Avenue, Stovall Street and Eisenhower Avenue. * Exit 173 (Van Dorn Street) and Eisenhower Avenue. The exit ramp from the outer loop (I-95/495 Northbound) to the Eisenhower Avenue Connector and the on-ramps from the Eisenhower Avenue Connector to the Beltway will remain open....

By Robert Thomson  |  January 21, 2009; 10:09 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Wilson Bridge  
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Inauguration Aftermath: Attitude Counted

We're still figuring out what went right and wrong and what could have been done differently, but one thing I feel sure of after sampling our transportation system under its severe stress on Tueday. The attitude of the officials on the streets and the platforms and of the travelers had a lot to do with whatever successes we had. Crowding at L'Enfant Plaza. (Thomson) Time after time, I saw situations that could have turned out differently had one side or the other not been determined to make things work. They occured at intersections, on sidewalks, on Metro platforms, on escalators and on buses. That's a lot of stress to put on equipment, transit employees and transit riders. It translated into crowded platforms, crowded trains, crowded escalators and crowded entrances. Yet for the most part, people not only kept their cool but also demonstrated a commitment to making the thing work...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 21, 2009; 9:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Two Fires Close Parts of North Capitol Street

Two building fires in Northwest have closed parts of North Capitol Street and killed at least one person this morning. One fire is reported at at 2220 North Capitol Street, NW. Another fire is burning eight blocks away at 11 Randolph Place NW, according to Channel 8 reports. While North Capitol is closed from Michigan to Rhode Island Avenues and from Randolph Street to Rhode Island Avenue, motorists are asked to avoid both directions of the roadway. For live traffic updates, check the traffic alert page here....

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 21, 2009; 9:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Meet Eliot Swainson

Who's Eliot Swainson? He's the alert fellow who helped keep the 68-year-old woman who fell on the Gallery Place tracks yesterday safe. Swainson. (Photo courtesy Metro.) From today's Post: The most serious incident occurred at 9:25 a.m. A 68-year-old Nashville woman told officials she stepped too close to the station platform edge at Gallery Place, slipped and fell onto the tracks, Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said. On the platform was Houston transit police officer Eliot Swainson, 46, who was among the 100 officers from other transit agencies helping out in Washington. Swainson had been trained the day before about responding in just such a scenario. He leaned down and pushed the woman to safety under the platform seconds before the train pulled in, he said. "I remembered that the platforms have a little space, and I pushed her down and told her to stay down," he said. The train "would...

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 21, 2009; 7:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Morning Temporary Road Closures

Expect closures on Massachusetts and Wisconsin Avenues in Northwest this morning between 7:30 and 11 a.m. because of the National Prayer Service, scheduled for 9 a.m. at the National Cathedral. The closure of Pennsylvania Ave. between 3rd and 14th Sts. NW was to have ended around 7 a.m. to accomodate the removal of security barriers. Most other roads in the District closed for the inauguration should be open again now....

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 21, 2009; 7:12 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Avenues Along Mall Reopen

According to the District Department of Transportation, Independence and Constitution Avenues are reopened for all traffic; however, Constitution remains closed at the intersection with 1st St. NW....

By washingtonpost.com editors  |  January 20, 2009; 10:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuting , Inauguration  
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Inauguration Sets Record Metro Ridership

Even before Inauguration Day had ended, Metro officials said ridership set a new record: people took 973,285 trips as of 7 p.m. The figure breaks the all-time rail ridership record of 866,681, which was set yesterday on Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Metro officials said they had unprecedented crowds throughout the day. Several parking lots started filling at end-of-the-line stations before 5:30 a.m., just two hours after they opened. At the request of local law enforcement, Metro allowed motorists through some lots without paying after vehicles began to back up on local roads. Delays also were caused by riders blocking doors and causing breakdowns, and one woman fell onto the tracks at Gallery-Place Chinatown Metrorail station, disrupting service at the station and Metro Center for about 45 minutes. At Federal Triangle station, law enforcement concerns closed doors for four-and-a-half hours. The biggest reason for delays was the sheer volume of...

By washingtonpost.com editors  |  January 20, 2009; 9:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Events , Inauguration , Metro  
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Buses Slowed, Stopped Around Chinatown

Metro bus drivers are frustrated because traffic downtown in Gallery Place/Chinatown is pandemonium, with many of them simply giving up and declaring themselves "Not In Service" Police have shut down roads all around the Convention Center because of the Balls. The 70 bus which runs on 7th St/Georgia Ave is being forced to veer way off it's normal route and head up 5th St NW. Other buses affected include the 80 and X2. --Theola Labbé-DeBose...

By washingtonpost.com editors  |  January 20, 2009; 8:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuting , Driving  
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All D.C. Bridges Open

The Inauguration   • Get There: RSS | Twitter• Live Traffic Alerts• Calendar | Maps• Inauguration Central District officials say all remaining D.C. bridges are now open after inauguration crowds forced closures for much of the day....

By Mike McPhate  |  January 20, 2009; 8:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Inauguration  
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Update: Officer Rescued Woman on Tracks

The Washington Metro Authority reports that the woman who fell onto the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metrorail station earlier today was aided by Houston Officer Eliot Swainson. Swainson is working as a volunteer to help the Metro police during the Inauguration. A Metro press release reports that: He rushed to the woman and with the assistance of a Metro rider, they reached down to try to pull her up from the tracks, but were unable to as a Red Line train heading toward Glenmont was pulling into the station. "The train was coming in closer," Swainson said. At that point, "I pushed her down and got her tucked down under the platform." He directed the woman to remain in the crawl space beneath the granite platform edge for safety. Read More from the WMATA press release....

By washingtonpost.com editors  |  January 20, 2009; 8:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Inauguration , Metro , Safety  
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Arlington Blvd. Stopped at Marshall St.

An accident has closed Arlington Blvd. at Marshall St. just east of the Beltway, causing delays....

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 7:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Latest on Area Bridges, Roads

From the D.C. government, an update on area bridges and roads: 14th St. Bridge is open Roosevelt Bridge is open heading out; closed heading in Memorial Bridge is closed Key Bridge is open Chain Bridge is open S. Capitol St. Bridge is open heading out; closed heading in Southeast/Southwest Freeway is open heading east; closed heading west 11th St. Bridge is open heading out; closed heading in 3rd St. Tunnel is closed...

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 7:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Smithsonian, Archives Metro Stations Reopen

The Smithsonian Metro station, which serves the Blue and Orange Lines, and the Archives-Navy Memorial station, serving Green and Yellow, have reopened....

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 6:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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VRE to Run Extra Trains

VRE said it will run an additional train on the Fredericksburg and Manassas Lines to accomodate patrons who missed their regular train. The trains are scheduled to leave Union Station at 7:30 p.m. and make all stops except Crystal City. VRE officials also said they served more than 18,000 riders today, a one-day record. -- Jennifer Buske...

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 6:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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GWU Recommends Taking Metro to Ball

George Washington University is telling students to skip shuttles and take Metro to the school's inaugural ball at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Woodley Park, according to the school's Hatchet newspaper: "Based on the road closures that we're seeing, we're encouraging students to take Metro because, with the road closures, we're not sure if the shuttles can get through the paths we've marked out," said Michelle Sherrard, a University spokeswoman. She assured, however, that the shuttles have alternate routes planned and will run as quickly and smoothly as possible. Shuttles are scheduled to arrive at 7:15 p.m. - 19 shuttles will run from the Marvin Center and three from the Mount Vernon campus - and run continuously throughout the night. You can read the full story on the Hatchet's web site....

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Some Relief at L'Enfant Plaza

Passengers at L'Enfant Plaza station at 1 p.m. (Robert Thomson/Post) The crowds and lines that have besieged L'Enfant Plaza since shortly after the inauguration have finally begun to thin somewhat, according to Post reporters. The area was busy this morning because of steady Metro and VRE traffic, and Post reporters report a steady stream of people there. Remember that VRE service is sold out and the service has said it will not honor any other tickets today; it's apparently not an alternative to Metro. (This post has been updated.)...

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 5:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Parking Available at National Airport

One of the questions I was asked most frequently about today was, Will I be able to park at Reagan National Airport? The airport's parking facilities not only are next to the airport but also next to a Metrorail station, and parking for the trains was at a premium today. The airport's Web site has a parking page that gives travelers the very latest on parking conditions at the garages and the economy lot. Look here for directions and alerts today. The times I checked today, there was plenty of parking. At 5:45 p.m., there are almost 2,000 spaces of various kinds in the garage and more than 1,300 in the economy lot. Anybody have trouble getting to the airport or parking there? Tara Hamilton, spokeswoman for the airports authority, confirms that the lots and garages did not fill. She says there did appear to be more people coming to...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 20, 2009; 5:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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I-66 West Open

I-66 westbound out of the District is open to vehicle traffic....

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 5:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Gallery Place Metro Crowded, Moving

If you're looking for access to the Red, Green or Yellow lines and are north of the parade route, you might have luck at Gallery Place-Chinatown, where Post reporters have seen regular trains clearing crowded platforms and, around 5 p.m., said the fare gates are open to prevent a crush. Jennifer Buske said around 5:10 p.m. that there were crowds above ground but, with the help of police, the platforms were not bad. (This post has been updated.)...

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 5:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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14th St. Bridge Reopens

The 14th St. Bridge is now open to traffic in both directions....

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 5:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Key, Chain Bridges Reopen

The Key and Chain Bridges are now open to vehicle traffic in both directions....

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 5:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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At Metro Center, an Officer's Alert Moment

Why did a police officer grab hold of a grade-school-aged child on board a train departing Metro Center this evening? Because he was leaving without his family. "Get that child off the train," he cried before snatching the boy to safety. Nice catch. -- Patricia Sullivan...

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 5:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Lines, Stress at Farragut West

Post reporters are still seeing long lines stretching outside the Farragut West Metro station, which serves the Blue and Orange Lines, as recently as 5:15 p.m. Nelson Hernandez said at least 300 were gathered outside the station, where a police officer stood on top of the escalator bannister telling people -- some who appear to be growing impatient -- there was no space for them inside. "Excuse me!" one woman shouted, temporarily silencing the crowd. "What is the problem?" "There's no room," the officer said....

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 5:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Southbound I-395 Open

Southbound I-395 was reopened around 4:15 p.m., according to InsideNova. The 14th St. Bridge has reopened to vehicular traffic, but the Roosevelt Bridge remains closed as does I-66 west....

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 4:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Free Metro Exit at Some Stations

Several Post reporters have heard stories of Metro station managers letting riders enter and leave Metro stations without scanning their cards, giving some free rides. One such story comes from Dan Morse, reporting from the New Carrollton station around 4:15 p.m. "See you in four years. Walk through the gates. No cards. Have a nice day," came the loud, friendly voice of Metro Police Officer Marlon Parker as a heavy stream of riders left the station. "No thanks," joked one rider in reponse, perhaps chilled after a long day downtown. "I'm watching it on HD." So does Metro stand to lose a lot of money by doing this? Perhaps, but, as Parker pointed out, many riders will keep their commemorative SmartCards rather than use them again -- amounting, in Metro's case, to something like an unspent Best Buy gift card. Parker noted that many of the people were going to...

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 4:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Several Area Interstates Closed

Large crowds of walkers heading out of the District on the Roosevelt and 14th St. Bridges have led to the closures of I-395 South and I-66 West, the Virginia State Police told InsideNova. The roads are closed temporarily until the walkers can be cleared....

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 4:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Judiciary Square Metro Closes

A reminder: The Judiciary Square Metro station closed at 4 p.m. as scheduled. The station serves the Red Line; the Union Station and Gallery Place Red Line stations are still open....

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 4:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Federal Triangle Station Reopens

Metro has reopened the Federal Triangle Metrorail station, which serves the Blue and Orange lines. The station closed around 11:30 a.m. Metro is also sending extra buses to the station to assist riders who have wheelchairs....

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 4:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Alexandria Main Break Fixed, Delays Continue

Two of the of three southbound lanes on Richmond Highway at Collard St. in Alexandria south of the Beltway are still closed following a water main break. The break has been fixed, but the asphalt has not been repaired, causing delays. Backups on Richmond Highway may reach 1 mile in length, according to the Virginia State Police. (This post has been updated.) -- Tom Jackman...

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 3:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Commuting  
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More Abrupt Exit Than Expected: Official

Authorities were suprised by how quickly inauguration watchers left the city after the ceremony, according to the District's City Administrator Dan Tangherlini. But authorities were dealing well with the challenge, Tangherlini said, though they had expected a "more staggered exit" process. "People were just getting out because they were cold," said Tangherlini. -- Clarence F. Williams...

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 3:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Not Enough People Using Buses

Metrorail has been jammed all day, but in Maryland, the District and Virgina, I saw many buses that had plenty of room. People just can't seem to cross that threshold and take a bus. To them, transit means trains. After the swearing-in, I met a woman on Virginia Avenue who was walking back to a Metrobus for her return trip to Virginia. She made the point that in the morning, people had to let numerous trains go by before they could board, but that buses heading the same way had seats.She was sticking with the bus. Not that simple, right? The trains are relatively easy to understand. Buses are more complicated. There's anxiety about where you're going to wind up. And sometimes, you're right to be anxious.Today, there were many detours and slowdowns. Why does it work for her? Because she studies up, examines the timetables and routes, knows about...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 20, 2009; 3:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Huntington Ave. Near Metro Reopens

Huntington Ave. is fully open again after a water main break at Huntington and Fifer Dr. in Alexandria, had closed one lane in each direction. The water main has been fixed, though authorities plan to return to the area around 6 p.m. to repair the asphalt. That could cause further delays for travelers. (This post has been updated.) -- Tom Jackman...

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 3:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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L'Enfant to Third Street Tunnel to Union Station

I got on an Orange Line train at Foggy Bottom as the speech was ending, and it was so empty, I was about to blog that people should head for the trains at that moment. But by the time the train reached L'Enfant Plaza on the south side of the Mall, the moment was over. A group of us went through the fare gate only to be turned back at the escalators, because they had been converted to an entrance only. Crossing the station to the 7th Street and Maryland Avenue side, we found the way out was one stopped escalator. But the incoming crowd -- cold and tired after hours on the Mall -- was at the top of the bank of escalators. Their ranks had swelled so quickly that the outbound passengers had trouble breaking through at the top of the escalators. The outbound crowd backed up into...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 20, 2009; 3:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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See Real-Time Transit Info

If you're reading this at home or at your desk, you can see a map detailing real-time transit information on inauguration day roads, rails and more on washingtonpost.com....

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 3:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Long Lines at Capitol South Metro

A note to Orange and Blue Line riders: washingtonpost.com's Anna Uhls reports lines of several blocks, and four people wide, trying to get into the Capitol South Metro station; heavy crowding at Federal Center SW and L'Enfant Plaza has also been reported. But The Post's Petula Dvorak says the lines are moving efficiently under the circumstances. To the west of the aforementioned stops, the Smithsonian and Federal Triangle stops on the Blue and Orange lines are closed. Next easiest for pedestrians to access is probably Farragut West, where The Post's Henry Cauvin has reported that police have been limiting access to the station to combat crowds. (This post has been updated.)...

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 3:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Travelers Leave Bus Site, Head West

The Post's Nick Miroff reports that many would-be Metrobus riders who waited at 23rd. St. and Constitution Ave. for a 3S bus headed into Arlington gave up waiting and started walking west, many across the Roosevelt Bridge....

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 2:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Little Movement at 12th St. Crossing

Lines are long and very slow at the pedestrian crossing over the parade route near 12th St. and the Old Post Office, The Post's Mark Berman reported around 2 p.m....

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 2:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
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Huge Flow at L'Enfant Plaza

Officials are trying to control the flow of the crowd at L'Enfant Plaza, which is getting huge traffic from people leaving the Mall. Crowds are being allowed to leave thru the fare gates without paying....

By Washington Post staff  |  January 20, 2009; 2:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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18th St. Foot Traffic Slows

While 18th St. looked like a good way to get north by foot not too long ago, around 2 p.m. Post reporters Megan Greenwell and Steve Hendrix reported very heavy crowding in the areas north of E St. NW....

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 2:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Metro Staff Limiting Station Access

Metro officials say they are preventing some people from entering some crowded downtown stations in an attempt to limit crowding on the platforms. Some riders are apparently using twitter to communicate that these stations are closed because of this, but Metro says no further stations -- apart from Federal Triange, as previously reported -- have been closed this afternoon. Still, long lines at crowded stations continue. -- Lena Sun...

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 1:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Cars Towed Near New Carrollton Metro

About a dozen inauguration goers face some bad news when they return to the New Carrollton Metro station today: Their cars have been towed. Several motorists, frustrated with clogged ramps to the Metro station this morning, pulled over, locked their cars on a grassy shoulder and hoofed it the rest of the way to the Metro station. Maryland State Troopers were not amused, especially after the make-shift lot grew to about 70 cars. Troopers went closer to the station and made intercom announcements reporting that towing would commence if people didn't move their cars, said Sgt. George Todd, who said Metro also made such announcements. And many heeded them. "We did good with 60 some cars," Todd said. About 12 motorists didn't make it, though, and wreckers were called in from Charley's Crane Service, in Landover -- the phone number there is (301) 773-7670 -- and Walkers Towing in Bowie,...

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 1:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Leaving the Mall Before the Parade

With the inauguration complete, travelers looking to head to points north of the parade route on Pennsylvania Ave. probably have two main options. In the east, the 3rd St. Tunnel near the Labor Department is open to pedestrians. In the west, 18th St. near the intersection of Constitution and Virginia Aves. is another option. Post reporter Megan Greenwell reports "smooth sailing" as many are moving quickly in an attempt to beat crowds to various Metro stops. Around 1:15, the Farragut West station was busy but moving well, according to Post reporter Henri Cauvin. We'll continue to monitor pedestrian flow around the area, to Metro stations and otherwise....

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 1:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
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Federal Triangle Station Closed

Metro has shut down the Federal Triangle station, between the parade route and the Mall on the Blue and Orange lines, until the parade ends at about 6:30 p.m. Local police requested the closure because of crowding, according to Metro. Federal Triangle was not one of the stations originally closed this morning. To access the blue or orange lines from the mall, inauguration-goers should go south to the L'Enfant, Federal Center or Capitol South stations....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  January 20, 2009; 12:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration , Metro  
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Some Turn Around, Head Home Early

It appears that some people have already had enough. A steady trickle of people was emerging from the Franconia-Springfield Metro station by mid-morning, fighting the crowds heading in. Some had already been to the Mall and were fleeing because they had gotten too cold. "We basically froze to death," said Lisa Lewis, 40, of Rochester, N.Y., who was clutching her 4-year-old daughter and shivering as she left the station around 9:45 a.m. "Even though we come from a cold area," she said, "we didn't realize just how cold it was going to be here." Around 11:15 a.m., Jenny Nelson, 29, was back at 14th and U Streets NW. "We gave up," said Nelson, who made it to the mall at 7 a.m., after rolling out of bed at 5:30 am, skipping a shower and walking to the Mall. "We just wanted to get near a Jumbotron and we couldn't do...

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 12:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
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Woman on Metro Tracks Hid Under Platform

The 68-year-old woman who fell on the Metro tracks this morning couldn't get off the tracks in time to avoid an oncoming train, according to authorities, so other riders helped her hide under the platform, averting disaster. The woman told officials she was too close to the platform edge at Gallery Place-Chinatown and slipped onto the tracks, according to Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein. Customers who saw her tried to pull her up as a Red Line train got closer, she said, but couldn't and so helped push her under the platform before the train pulled in. "It would have hit her if she were on the tracks," Farbstein said. "But she was able to get herself out of harm's way." Metro officials were able to resume normal service after about 45 minutes, which is a relatively short time for this kind of incident. In preparation for today's unprecedented crowds, Metro...

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 11:07 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Red Line Service Resumes

Red Line service has resumed in both directions -- but with substantial delays -- after a 68-year-old woman ended up on the tracks at the Gallery Place Metro station this morning. Metro says a preliminary investigation shows that the woman fell on the tracks around 9:25 a.m. but was not hit by an approaching train headed toward Glenmont. She has been taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Red Line trains had been turning back at Farragut North and Judiciary Square Metrorail stations because of the incident. With no service at the Metro Center or Gallery Place-Chinatown stations, riders were instructed to exit at Judiciary Square and Farragut North and walk to the Mall. Metro warns that passengers should stay at least two feet away from the station platform edges, a hazard that increases with crowds. Metro said they had more than 409,000 entries into the system as of 9...

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 10:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Metro Ridership Breaks All Time Record

Update, 8:29 p.m.: Metro ridership has surpassed the previous all time record, set just yesterday. People took 973,285 trips as of 7 p.m., agency officials said. Original post: As of noon, Metro reports ridership at 545,603, which is in line with official predictions that the system would carry as many as 1.6 million people. On Monday, Metro set a record for the highest ridership of all time, when 866,681 riders used the system. The previous rail record was set July 11, 2008, when 854,638 rode the system on the day of a Washington Nationals baseball game and a religious conference. On Sunday, 616,324 people rode the system, surpassing the previous Sunday record by more than 75,000, Metro officials said. Metro planned to deploy more than 8,000 workers to staff Inauguration Day....

By Mike McPhate  |  January 20, 2009; 10:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Inauguration , Metro  
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Escalator Watch at Foggy Bottom

As the swearing-in ceremony draws hundreds of spectators are coming up from Foggy Bottom Metro station, which is a chronic problem area because it has one exit with three escalators, but at the moment, it's working well. One escalator goes up, one goes down and one is turned off for use as a stairway. There's a bit of a backup at the up escalator, but I've seen that far worse on weekdays. As I walked up the stairway, a woman ahead of me realized that this might not be the experience she as seeking, and she began to falter, but made it. You'll probably encounter a lot of turned off escalators this afternoon, so keep in mind that they may look quicker but you'd prefer the wait for the moving escalator. Once out of the station, everyone turns left and walks down 23rd Street NW to the Lincoln Memorial area...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 20, 2009; 10:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
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Water Main Break Repaired

Fairfax County reports that the water main break near the Huntington Metro station is repaired and Huntington Avenue is now fully open. However, they are planning on going back in at 6 pm to repair the asphalt, which could cause problems for people taking the Metro to Huntington in Fairfax County. The water main break on Route 1 in Groveton is also repaired, Fairfax County officials say, and all lanes near Collard Street are now open....

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 10:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Giving Up on Purple Tickets

FIRST AND LOUISIANA STREETS NW -- Those holding tickets for the purple section of the Capitol grounds are having a hard time getting in for the swearing-in. Jocelyn and Herbert Thomas of Orlando, Fla. got two standing purple tickets, but the two have been in line and First and Louisiana streets for three hours. "We give up. How many purple tickets did they issue?" Jocelyn Thomas said. "This was impossible." D.C. documentary filmmaker Aviva Kempner, a purple ticket holder, also gave up hope at about 10:15 a.m. "There's absolutely no way we're all getting in," she said. Her voice quavered and she broke down on the phone, "I was on this (the campaign) for a year and a half, and I'm really upset. I don't want to be in a line when they're praying and when he's being sworn in so I'm going to go try to watch it somewhere."...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  January 20, 2009; 10:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
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Pedestrians Cross Memorial Bridge

Thousands of pedestrians were crossing the bridge, along with a few cyclists willing to move at a pedestrian pace. Many of the walkers came from the Arlington Cemetery Station on Metro's Blue Line, but many others had hiked there from Arlington neighborhoods or come down along the Mount Vernon Trail. The river crossing took about 10 minutes, and seemed shorter with so many volunteers along the sidelines shouting, "Welcome to Washington!" This crowd was heading to the Lincoln Memorial or the Reflecting Pool, or they were advancing toward the Capitol to see how close they could get before the swearing-in ceremony began. Many had crossed the river just to reach the Lincoln Memorial steps. Although the Capitol from there looks like a postage stamp, the view of the throng ahead was breathtaking. Memorial Bridge is the one Potomac crossing dedicated to pedestrians and cyclists heading in for the inauguration. You...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 20, 2009; 10:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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14th Street Bridge Closed

Due to overcrowding, the Metropolitan Police Department is no longer allowing pedestrian access to the Mall from the 14th Street Bridge. Access can still be gained via The Memorial Bridge (the whole bridge), and the Key Bridge (on sidewalks and paths), according to Arlington County Police Department....

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 10:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Some Tearing Down Barriers

Post reporters this morning have spotted serveral instances of the frustrated crowd bypassing barriers or fences in order to access the parade route or Mall. At 6th and D streets, several thousand parade-goers streamed past the first line of security but were stopped at a checkpoint closer in, Michael Birnbaum reported. Meanwhile at 9th Street and Independence Avenue south of the Mall, Post reporter Deb Wilber saw people pulled apart a fence and began walking in -- trampling bushes and other plants -- and the pushed through a second fence onto the mall. Riot police briefly closed that gap before police began allowing people in. Further west, Capitol Police chief Phil Morse sped down to the reflecting pool near the Capitol after hearing that a crowd had trampled a security gate, Post reporter Mary Beth Sheridan reported. He found the crowd on south side of reflecting pool pressed against metal...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  January 20, 2009; 9:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
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Person Hit By Train, Expect Delays

Officials say that Metro passengers should expect delays because a person has been hit by a train at Gallery Place. We will give you more information as soon as we have it....

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 9:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Warning About Metro Trip Planner

Riders are advised to be careful using Metro's online trip planner for routing trips today. As Post reporters and others have noticed, the system does not take into account today's planned station closings. For example, a planned trip from Bethesda to the Smithsonian leaving in the next few minutes is routed through the Smithsonian Metro station, which is closed until after the parade today. Check The Post's online Survival Guidefor maps, closings and more and Metro's inauguration home page for more information....

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 9:03 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
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9:10 A.M. at Arlington Cemetery Station

After a 15 minute wait at Rosslyn for a Springfield bound Blue Line train, a bunch of us got on board with the intention of riding down to Arlington Cemetery Station so we could walk across the Memorial Bridge, which is open only to foot and bike traffic. So far, this looks like a good move. The train coming out of Washington was almost empty. Inbound trains at Rosslyn were still jammed. Arlington Cemetery Station on the Blue Line is a great getaway point for people planning to walk into the District. They'll head from here to the Memorial Bridge, where they'll be looking directly at the Lincoln Memorial as they cross the Potomac River....

By Robert Thomson  |  January 20, 2009; 8:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Crowding, Slowed Exits at L'Enfant Plaza

L'ENFANT PLAZA -- Crowds coming in on Virginia Railway Express and Metro trains are filling L'Enfant Plaza, choking one of the Metro system's key transfer points, and one of the main stations for entering the Mall. The busiest station for incoming Virginia Railway Express riders appears to be L'Enfant Plaza rather than Union Station this morning, as many of the riders of the system's sold-out inauguration day service have been disembarking on the south side of the National Mall. Around 8:40 a.m., the exits were completely jammed. A chant of "Fired up, ready to go!" could be heard. And lines for the elevator to leave the station appeared at least 75 people long. And around 8:15 a.m., Metro officials were letting people out of the station slowly because of a medical emergency near station exit, resulting in a very crowded platform where some commuters were stuck for a half-hour or...

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 8:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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More Metro Lots Full

Metro has announced that Vienna, West Falls Church and Shady Grove stations have full parking lot. Alternate parking for the Vienna station is available at nearby Oakton High School. No report on the Dunn Loring Metro station running out of parking, but alternate parking is planned for that as well at Stenwood Elementary School, 2620 Gallows Road. This is in addition to the previously announced closures at New Carrollton on the Orange Line, Greenbelt and Branch Avenue on the Green Line and. Franconia-Springfield and Van Dorn Street on the Blue Line. Huntington on the Yellow Line, Addison Road/Seat Pleasant and Morgan Avenue on the Blue Line, and Dunn Loring and East Falls Church on the Virginia end of the Orange line, and several more toward at the ends each of the other lines....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  January 20, 2009; 8:27 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration , Metro  
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Metro Riders Crowd Rosslyn Station

Inbound trains on the Blue and Orange Lines are very crowded now. Many people waited along the platform for a train that only a few could board. Looked to me like they'd be better off walking outside the station and catching one of Metro's special shuttle buses toward the Mall. The shuttles weren't at all crowded. On one inbound train from Franconia-Springfield, a woman near the opening doors took charge: "Let 'em out!" she yelled to those on the platform trying to board. When she judged things had gone as far as they could, she yelled, "We can't get anybody else on this train!" If several trains in a row are so crowded you can't board, go to the other platform and ride out for a few stops. You may get far enough past the incoming crowding that you can board more easily, even if you can't get a seat....

By Robert Thomson  |  January 20, 2009; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Metro Station Crowding From East to West

On my just completed crosstown journey, I noticed the most intense crowding at the Metro stations closest to the Capitol. That was Union Station on the Red Line and L'Enfant Plaza on the others. As I traveled west by train, the other station platforms, escalators and exits flowed much more freely. Even Metro Center, a major transfer point, was easy to walk through early this morning. Farragut West and Foggy Bottom were almost empty, though the inbound trains passing through the stations were heavily loaded. This may change as the morning goes on and the crowd for the swearing-in extends farther and farther along the Mall....

By Robert Thomson  |  January 20, 2009; 7:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Checkpoint Madness

7TH AND D STREETS -- A huge crowd at the parade route is not yet being screened, Post reporters and readers say. Post reporter Michael Birnbaum reports that around 7 a.m. -- when screening was scheduled to begin -- the crowd began chanting "let us in," but the gates had not been opened by 7:18. People started trickling through by 7:35. But the crowd at 3rd and C was getting angry waiting. 30 minutes passed since the police said it would open. The 14th St. checkpoint has been closed. Crowd diverted to 18th St. "So are we, like, here for the day?" one girl asked a stranger. Readers expressed frustration about the situation via text message and e-mail, and a Twitterer posted this photo. Another worried that they might be trampled when the gates finally open....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  January 20, 2009; 7:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
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Metro Station Shut Down

Trains are skipping Federal Center SW (Orange/Blue) due to overcrowding....

By Washington Post staff  |  January 20, 2009; 7:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Clara Barton Accident

(CLARA BARTON PKWY) -- Inbound after Glen Echo turnaround. Serious accident, all traffic diverted at turnaround. Accident involves two vehicles, one overturned. Also, serious accident reported on I-66E, near Chain Bridge Rd....

By Washington Post staff  |  January 20, 2009; 7:07 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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6:50 A.M At L'Enfant Plaza

The station crossed a threshold at this hour and became very busy, especially on the Orange and Blue Lines platform. The platforms, exits and escalators between platforms have become much, much more crowded. Metro employees are using bullhorns to advise people to keep away from the platform edges and to have their fare cards ready as they try to get through the long lines at the fare gates, where people are heading out to the Mall. Those boarding Blue or Orange trains are trying to reach Federal Triangle. Once there, trains clear out. Metro Center is relatively uncrowded at 7 a.m., compared to L'Enfant Plaza. L'Enfant Plaza Station, where the four of the five subway lines intersect south of the mall, is normally one of the system's busiest switching points for passengers. This is a day when switching won't be such a good idea. Rather than work your way along...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 20, 2009; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Bus Problems

Scattered busing problems are being sent in by post reporters and readers this morning. Post reporter Josh White, stationed at Lee Highway and North Monroe Street in Arlington, reported a long wait for a bus, but eventually snared a different one than expected -- one headed all the way to McPherson Square. Post reporter Meg Smith says that her S4 bus filled up halfway to downtown and skipped its remaining stops. Twitterers are reporting that many buses headed for the inauguration are standing-room-only, including those on 14th Street and the N4 bus near AU. One reader reported via e-mail that they had waited for a bus in Shirlington for more than an hour and a half, while another sent in via text message that they hadn't seen their expected bus at Landmark Mall for three hours. However, most reports on Twitter seem pleased with service so far....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  January 20, 2009; 6:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration , Metro  
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Parking Update

The Franconia-Springfield lot is full, Arlington County reports, but they've opened up the lot of a nearby high school and the ones used by the Virginia Railway Express regional trains. Fairfax Connector buses are ferrying inauguration-goers from these lots to the Metro station. Metro also has sent out an alert that that Largo and Van Dorn stations' parking has filled up. Post reporter Nelson Hernandez reports that parking is plentiful up at Silver Spring, which has coin-filled meters and isn't charging the $4 fee (exact change only) in effect elsewhere. And Post reporter Jonathan F. Mummolo says spirits have been high at the New Carrollton station, although the parking lot has just filled. Varick Baiyina, of Bowie, managed to snag the last spot in the Metro garage. "That was a beautiful thing," he said. "There's still about 40 or 50 spaces, but I think they're saving it for handicap."...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  January 20, 2009; 6:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration , Metro  
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Washingtonpost.com Traffic Tools

There are several other pages here on the site that are helpful to those heading out to the inauguration. This map provides a broad overview of the congestion, closures, accidents and other problems currently affecting streets and Metro service. On the washingtonpost.com Traffic page, get live updates from nearly 300 traffic cameras, plus alerts and a real-time conditions map. And once you're out on the road, use our mobile alerts to get posted about the latest problems....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  January 20, 2009; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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D.C.-Bound Trains Backed Up

ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY STATION -- Post reporter Jerry Markon, e-mailing from a crowded blue line train at 5:54 a.m., reports that trains are beginning to get backed as they get into Washington. One train was held at Arlington National Cemetery for 15 minutes, a reader said in a text message (send notes to WPOST -- 97678 -- with "DCALERT" in the text). On Markon's train, the conductor just announced there are major backups heading into DC as they try to unload ultra-packed trains. "Thank you for your patience," he said. "It will be worth it." No one quibbled with that. Everyone is packed in, yet still very patient. It's a party-like atmosphere. One woman just threaded her way to the front to get off at Rosslyn. "Skip work! Skip work!" people chanted, followed by shouts of "Obama! Obama!"...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  January 20, 2009; 6:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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L'Enfant Plaza Metro Quiet

My crowded Green Line train just emptied out at L'Enfant after skipping Archives Station, which is closed. The Green and Yellow Line trains entering here from both directions are either pretty crowded or pretty empty. The platforms are very much under control and there are plenty of Metro employees and police to help control things if -- when -- it gets more crowded. While the platform itself is fine, there are periodic lines to use the escalators leaving the platform level. People are using L'Enfant Plaza either as a transfer point to Blue and Orange Line trains in hope of getting closer to their view points, or they're leaving the station to walk to the Mall. The Metro map of the area, right behind me on this platform bench, is a very popular destination right now. Back at Gallery Place, I asked one of the Metro employees in the yellow...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 20, 2009; 6:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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No More Parking at 3 Lots

As of 5:30 a.m. the Branch Ave, New Carrollton and Greenbelt parking lots are full. Thomas Adams has worked for Metro for four years, and he's never seen anything like this. Working overtime overnight at the New Carrollton station, he said a line of cars about a mile long was outside the metro parking lot around 230 a.m. today. Right now, there's a line of people 20 to 30 minutes long outside, but some of the trains are slow to fill up because of the log jam at the turnstyles. "I've never seen anything like this," said Adams on the platform in his bright yellow flourescent vest. He's directing people to trains and picking up trash. "We've got co-workers that can't even get into work, calling in saying they're gonna be late. They're calling in all hands on deck ... a lot of people from out of town are having...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  January 20, 2009; 5:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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5:45 at Gallery Place Metro Station

It's like a regular rush hour, only more civilized. The Red Line trains inbound from Glenmont are about as crowded as they would be at 8:30 on a regluar weekday, but the crowd is a lot happier. The people around where I was sitting -- and I as sitting the entire way -- were from Oregon, and had used Inauguration Central on our site as their guide, printing out maps and information before they left home. My seat mate planned to go to Metro Center and transfer to the Orange or Blue lines for a ride to Federal Triangle, though I warned him the transfer points are likely to be jammed today. At this hour, he may be fine. Many other people got off at Union Station to head south toward the Mall for the swearing in ceremony. Right now, I;m sitting on a pretty wide open platform on the...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 20, 2009; 5:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Metro Going Free?

Too many crowds exiting at Judiciary Square station on the Red Line. "Take your time and walk through," the station attendants are saying. "We'll take care of it later." But even the few getting on at the station are waved through without having to pay. "We just want you to exit," an attendent says. "Walk right on through." --Michael Birnbaum...

By Washington Post staff  |  January 20, 2009; 5:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Cash Only at Metro Parking

SmarTrip cards for parking at Metro stations are no good today. You pay $4 cash when you enter, which is causing lines and delays at parking lots around the region. All major road and bridge closures are in effect. Complete listings here....

By Washington Post staff  |  January 20, 2009; 5:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Roads Beginning to Jam Up

Virginia traffic officials say I-95 North traffic beginning to tie up at Springfield Mixing Bowl at the Capital Beltway. Maryland reports I-95 heavy approaching the Beltway split. Major delays on Beltway near the Greenbelt Metro station. Traffic approaching all Metro stations in Maryland reported heavy. I-66 backed up getting into Vienna Metro. -- Eric M. Weiss...

By Washington Post staff  |  January 20, 2009; 5:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Riding Metro in From Virginia? Good Luck.

Post reporter Jacqui Salmon says Orange Line trains are packed at West Falls Church station, the second stop on the line, and that the trains themselves are getting backed up as well. Meanwhile, at the end of the Blue Line, Post reporter Jerry Markon says hundreds of cars are lined up outside the Franconia-Springfield station parking lot, and there are more than a thousand people outside the train itself. Cab drivers say the lines started at 2 a.m. Riders' best shot at getting on a train is to go all the way to one end of the platform -- Robert Thomson reports that many people don't realize these are eight-car trains, so the first and last cars often have few passengers....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  January 20, 2009; 4:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Easy Parking at Silver Spring

I parked on level 2 of a five-story garage. This isn't an easy to reach, outer perimeter station. Out of towners are less likely to figure out where it is. There was no traffic driving south on Route 29 and most of the lights were still on flash. In downtown Silver Spring, off Route 29, there are clusters of people walking toward the Red Line station entrance. This is a big bus terminal as well. This morning, it will be the starting point for several of Metro's special bus routes to speed people into central Washington. I've been parked here for about 15 minutes now, and there still are plenty of spaces around me. These are Montgomery County garages, not Metro, so you don't have to pay the $4 entrance fee. (And I was so careful to make sure I had four singles to pay for the Metro parking on...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 20, 2009; 4:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
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Red Line Already Packed

Metro spokesman Lisa Farbstein told WUSA that red line trains are packed already, and a washingtonpost.com journalist said the first train at Cleveland Park was so packed that no one else could squeeze on. Reports on Twitter and WTOP suggest that many of the delays are caused by people jammed up at parking and the ticketing machines at the ends of the line. If you see transit problems out there, be sure to let us know. Click here to learn how, and how to sign up for mobile alerts. Riders' best shot at getting on a train is to go all the way to one end of the platform -- Robert Thomson reports that many people don't realize these are eight-car trains, so the first and last cars often have few passengers....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  January 20, 2009; 4:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Greenbelt Metro Station Parking Full

Well, it didn't take long to abandon Plan A. While I was still at the Maryland park and ride, officials announced that the Greenbelt Metro station, my intended next stop, already was filled with cars. So I'm heading for Silver Spring Station on the Red Line. The Greenbelt Station's parking lot, with 3,399 all-day spaces, is one of the biggest in the Metro system and one of the easiest for drivers to reach from a highway. It's an easy exit off the inner loop of the Capital Beltway. Such end of the line stations were likely to fill up fast this morning. Once you're inside the Greenbelt parking area, the vast field of asphalt can be a bit confusing, especially in the dark, when most drivers are likely to see it today. It's like a mall parking lot, without the mall to provide a focal point. Some of the spaces...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 20, 2009; 4:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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4 AM at a Maryland Park & Ride

The first car arrived here at 3:45 a.m. The occupants keep the engine running while they wait for the bus due at this lot 12 miles north of the Capital Beltway in half an hour. Makes sense. It's 24 degrees, and the one bus shelter beneath the crescent moon looks uninviting. There was snow here on Monday morning, but the lot has been well treated by highway crews and there's no trouble driving or parking. Very few cars were on Route 29 as I drove here. At 4 a.m., three cars are in the lot. Big as this event is on our national calendar, we still don't know at this late hour how many people will show up, when they'll start in and how they'll get there. The planners and participants have just one chance to get it right. Me, I've got broken-in shoes, a cell phone, a smartphone, a...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 20, 2009; 4:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Alert: Traffic Snarls Downtown Streets

Update - 8:49 p.m.: The Secret Service has advised travelers that the area near tomorrow's ceremony and the parade will be blocked off by 4 a.m.; however, the blockades are beginning to appear now in preparation for tomorrow's event. Downtown is still in gridlock and travelers should expect normal commutes on and around Pennsylvania Avenue to take one or more hours. From Inauguration Watch: Traffic is a mess downtown, including near the Verizon Center, site of tonight's Kid's Inaugural Concert. A Post reporter who came from Capitol Hill to the Washington Post building at 15th and L Streets reports sitting in traffic for 1 1/2 hours--after detouring well north. Original Alert: The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is advising motorists to detour away from the downtown area this evening. At this hour, there is traffic congestion and even gridlock at many intersections, particularly around 7th and H Streets, NW...

By Mike McPhate  |  January 19, 2009; 7:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Advisories , Congestion , Driving , Inauguration  
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Judiciary Square Entrance to Close at 4 p.m.

Secret Service just asked Metro to close one of the Judiciary Square station entrances at 4 p.m. today, three hours earlier than they had previously informed Metro. The F Street entrance was scheduled to close at 7 p.m. for an event tonight at the National Building Museum. The early closing is likely to cause much larger crowds at nearby Gallery Place, where a children's concert is scheduled for tonight at the Verizon Center, two short blocks away. Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said: "This is an example of something that we cannot control that could impact us on Tuesday -- when streets or stations are closed/blocked for security that we were not able to share in advance with our customers." This is why riders need to be patient she said. -- Lena Sun...

By Mike McPhate  |  January 19, 2009; 4:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Preparing For the Tricky Transfer

Hundreds of thousands of people will switch from one conveyance to another to reach inauguration ceremonies today. Connections are unlikely to be smooth. Here are some things to consider. Parking. Even regular commuters may be parking at lots and garages they don't normally use. Look around before you leave the parking area to remember the vehicle's location. And at the end of this long day, don't forget where the bus dropped you off and which Metro station you used. Train to train. VRE and MARC tickets don't cover a transfer to Metrorail or Metrobus. Get a Metro Farecard, SmarTrip or pass. Metrorail transfer stations such as L'Enfant Plaza and Metro Center will be extremely busy. Don't switch trains today if you can walk a few blocks to your destination. Bus to bus. Metro ended the use of paper transfers on Jan. 4. The only way to get the free transfer...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 19, 2009; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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People Rushing to Buy Fare Cards

The only place I've seen serious congestion today is around the fare vending machines in Metro stations, particularly around the ones that add value to SmarTrip cards and dispense passes. (Metro should have more of them.) People are standing on line today for two reasons: * Some want to spare themselves the hassle of waiting on even longer lines on Inauguration Day, so they're getting enough Metro fare to cover them for the entire day. The regular vending machines are dispensing commemorative paper fare cards, and the SmarTrip vending machines at stations where Metro provides parking are dispensing regular SmarTrip cards for $5. * Some just want the souvenir. But the $10 and $20 commemorative SmarTrip cards are not for sale in the stations. (Don't wait on those vending machine lines for those cards.) Because of the demand for them, the Metro sales offices have extended their hours. The sales...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 19, 2009; 1:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Highway Signs in Maryland Cause Confusion

Many people have asked me about the variable message boards they see along the Maryland highways that say "Bus Only Into DC" on Inauguration Day. That's just not true. Now, leaving your car at home on Tuesday is an outstanding idea. You'll be doing yourself and others a great service. Take a bus to a Metrorail station, or a bus to a bus. Don't drive. But the fact is, Maryland and the District have not closed their borders to cars. If they thought that was a good idea, they should have done it. Putting up those signs just confuses drivers. It may confuse some into doing the right thing, and planning an alternative way of getting to central Washington. But others, it's just going to confuse. At no point, has a publicly announced plan stated that the roads leading from Maryland into the District would be open only to buses....

By Robert Thomson  |  January 19, 2009; 1:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Transit Alert: Downtown Station Entrance Closing Tonight

The Judiciary Square Metrorail station's F Street NW entrance will close at 7 o'clock tonight for security. The 4th Street NW entrance will be open....

By Robert Thomson  |  January 19, 2009; 1:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Check Out Roads & Rails Chat

Post transportation reporters Lena Sun and Eric Weiss were online today for a discussion dominated by questions about how to get to and from Washington on Inauguration Day. Here's a link. Also, look for the online Survival Guide, which should address many of your questions. It's got maps, too....

By Robert Thomson  |  January 19, 2009; 12:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Metro Sets Sunday Ridership Record

The Inauguration   • Get There: RSS | Twitter• Live Traffic Alerts• Calendar | Maps• Inauguration Central Metro officials say 616,324 people rode the system yesterday, surpassing the previous record by more than 75,000. Ridership swelled as crowds descended on the Mall yesterday afternoon for the inauguration-opening concert, which was estimated to draw more than 400,000 people. Metro deployed workers over the weekend to help out-of-towners navigate the system, and more than 8,000 workers will staff Inauguration Day, as agency officials gird to transport the largest crowds in its 32-year history, as many as 1.6 million people. A ranking of top five Sunday ridership days: 1. 1-18-09 (Inauguration opening ceremony): 616,324 2. 7-4-99 (Fourth of July): 540,945 3. 7-4-93 (Fourth of July): 505,157 4. 1-17-93 (Clinton inaugural event): 440,138 5. 4-25-93 (Lesbian/Gay Rights March): 413,312...

By Mike McPhate  |  January 19, 2009; 11:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Traffic Alert: Watch for Snow on Roads

Some light snow has been falling on roads around the region this morning, and we could gegt some more, amounting to a light dusting. Road crews have been out treating the surfaces. but there have been some accidents. I just passed a Maryland State Police officer on Scaggsville Road off Route 29 south of Columbia who was helping a driver whose vehicle had spun completely off the ramp and into a ditch. The District Department of Transportation issued this advisory: The National Weather Service is predicting possible precipitation in the form of snow, starting around noon, with nearly an inch forecasted for the District. Deployment plans are in place and crews are prepped and ready to clear snow and ice from the District's 2,950 lane miles of roadway and 241 bridges. Snow is expected to be light but will fall for most of the afternoon and evening; and with falling...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 19, 2009; 10:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Construction , Weather  
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Advice on Walking or Cycling on Tuesday

The Inauguration   • Get There: RSS | Twitter• Live Traffic Alerts• Calendar | Maps• Inauguration Central The traffic forecast for Tuesday is bad enough to pry many from their cars and onto the streets and sidewalks as cyclists and walkers. Here's advice from the regulars. Walking *Shoes are very important, says Peter Owen, a lawyer who often walks home from Union Station to Clarendon. Wear a pair of very comfortable shoes that you have walked in a few times. * You'd be surprised how far you can walk easily, Owen says. In the city, most people have no problem walking about 3 miles per hour and keeping up that pace for two hours. * Don't weigh yourself down. Avoid over-sized bottles of water, heavy books, and so on that can really be a drag. * Wear lightweight layers of clothing that are easy to take on and off and...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 19, 2009; 9:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Watch Those Idling Buses

I know that police will have a lot to do on Inauguration Day, but I hope they can pay some attention to how long all those bus drivers keep their engines idling after they drop off passengers heading for the Mall and Pennsylvania Avenue. The District has a law banning buses from idling more than three minutes. We'll have hundreds of buses in town on Tuesday. Here's a link to the warning the District Department of the Environment has made available to bus operators....

By Robert Thomson  |  January 19, 2009; 8:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Which Maps Are Most Helpful?

A commenter on a previous entry has created a Web page that includes several interactive maps on road closures and pedestrian routes, some Post maps, a feed of inauguration transportation news and some links to other good sources of inauguration travel information. Here's the link, in case you want to bookmark it. What maps -- whether printed or online -- have you found most helpful in your planning? Please do keep in mind as you look at our site or any other that some your experience may vary on Tuesday. These are some of the variables I see: * The Secret Service could block off additional streets in Washington for security reasons. * Police in any jurisdiction across the region could shut off roads or highway ramps for safety if they think traffic congestion is reaching potentially dangerous levels. * While we've collectively written enough inauguration previews to fill the...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 19, 2009; 7:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Metro Schedule For MLK Day

Metrorail system opens at 5 a.m. today and closes at 2 o'clock Tuesday morning. Those are extra hours to accommodate party-goers tonight. Since it's a holiday, off-peak fares will be charged and parking at Metrorail facilities will be free. Just don't park overnight, because after the system shuts, cars could be towed as Metro rushes to prepare for the Inauguration Day train service that starts at 4 a.m. Throughout today, Metro will operate a combination of six- and eight-car trains. If crowds warrant, Metro says, it will put extra trains in service. After midnight, all Red Line trains will operate 15 minutes apart, and all Blue, Orange, Yellow and Green Line trains will operate 20 minutes apart. The Judiciary Square Station's F Street NW entrance will close at 7 p.m., out of security concerns involving a nearby event. The 4th Street NW entrance will be open. Automobiles will not be...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 19, 2009; 4:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Advisories , Inauguration  
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Concert Crowd Exits Downtown -- Slowly

Crowds leaving the National Mall following Sunday's inaugural concert clogged the streets and Metro stations of downtown Washington. On streets where vehicles were allowed, traffic creeped by. On streets where cars were banned, pedestrians couldn't move much faster. At 17th Street, some of the people crowded against a security fence eventually moved a large portion of the fence aside, so they could cut through. Some jokingly yelled, "Storm the bastions! Revolution!" Officers tried different methods at packed subway stations. At Smithsonian station, where thousands waited in line to enter, a policeman standing on concrete wall at the edge of the escalators used a bullhorn to direct the crowd to "stay to your left, take your time, do not hurt yourself." Meanwhile, at Foggy Bottom station, hundreds were held outside the packed station as police waited for trains to clear more space below. Janet Allen, 46, of the Stone Mountain Ga.,...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  January 18, 2009; 5:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Memorial, Roosevelt Bridges Closed; Transit Crowded

The shutdown of the bridges as scheduled this morning created traffic backups elsewhere, including the Key Bridge, as thousands of people headed toward this afternoon's opening ceremony and concert at the Lincoln Memorial. Metro ridership was heavy, and so was pedestrian traffic around the Mall, especially near the security checkpoints. Pedestrians could and did use the Roosevelt Bridge and it was open to outbound traffic, but the Memorial Bridge was completely shut down. See Eric M. Weiss's story about the Sunday traffic plan. Post staff writer Tom Jackman reported that the Key Bridge was jammed. Meanwhile, the Roosevelt's lanes were car-free. Not only were the inbound lanes closed, but also, it was tough for cars to reach the outbound ramps. The slow, steady stream of pedestrians on the Roosevelt Bridge, which leads toward the Lincoln Memorial, reported easy parking in Rosslyn. The Roosevelt, not a particularly attractive bridge, has some...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 18, 2009; 10:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Great Maps For Getting Around

In the Metro section of Sunday's Post, you'll find a four-page Grab & Go Guide that includes some terrific maps. They'll help you reach today's opening ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial. And then they'll guide you on a transit trip, biking route or walk to the inauguration ceremonies on Tuesday. We have an online version: The Inauguration Survival Guide. In addition to many maps and pages about road closures and transit routes, it includes a video overview of Tuesday's key locations....

By Robert Thomson  |  January 18, 2009; 9:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Why Planning Is Important

The Inauguration   • Get There: RSS | Twitter• Live Traffic Alerts• Calendar | Maps• Inauguration Central Why do planners insist that we need to prepare several options for getting around on Inauguration Day? * They don't really know what to expect. They don't know how many people will try to reach downtown Washington, when people will start to arrive or how those people plan to get there. And if the planners don't know, you certainly don't know, either. * The traffic restrictions and many of the special bus routes across the region were designed in large part to funnel people to our fastest and most efficient people-mover: Metrorail. But the trains have never been tested like this. * Having options doesn't just mean getting up Tuesday and deciding whether to take a train or bus all the way. You might get there fastest by switching from a train to...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 18, 2009; 9:17 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Employee Volunteers to Help Metro Riders

In Metrorail stations, people were lined up at vending machines this weekend to buy fare cards. On the trains, knots of people puzzled over the maps while one in each group assumed the role of local expert and stated something about their route that was more or less correct. Multiply those scenes by a thousand, and it gives us an idea what to expect on Tuesday. For all the planning the generals have done to prepare the inauguration invasion, success still will depend on the sergeants and the privates. In our case, they are the frontline workers in the Metro stations and on the streets. Many of them were out this weekend, and from what I observed, they were very helpful to the out of towners and the locals who were puzzling over our transit system. But it's also good to know from Metro that more than 300 of its...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 18, 2009; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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