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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 route is likely to be difficult on Jan. 20.

There may be no best bet, but driving all the way in is definitely a bad one. Many streets inside the District will be closed, many main commuter routes will have some bus-only lanes and street parking in central Washington will be severely restricted.

Yet many Marylanders will do at least some driving. They should head for either the Maryland Transit Administration park & ride lots or for the outlying Metro stations. But that parking is likely to fill up pretty early. In anticipation of the demand, the Metro lots and garages will be opening at 3:30 a.m.

Even if you're not going anywhere near the Mall, you still could encounter some traffic backups associated with the events. For example, look for backups along Rockville Pike, Georgia Avenue and Branch Avenue around the Metro stations. Look for congestion at Beltway interchanges such as Georgia Avenue, River Road or I-295 that lead toward Washington, or the Baltimore-Washington Parkway at Route 50.

Even though it's a federal holiday, be prepared to encounter congestion that's worse than a normal weekday rush hour and earlier. There may be a midday lull, but it will pick up again as hundreds of thousands head for home after the swearing-in and parade.

With such prospects in mind, Maryland authorities will be prepared to close ramps from the Beltway to local roads if traffic backs up onto the highway. The HOV restrictions along I-270 and Route will be in effect on both Martin Luther King Jr. Day and on Inauguration Day.

MARC Train Service
All of MARC's reserved trains for Jan. 20 are sold out. If you don't have one of those special tickets, don't go to a MARC station.

Commuter Bus Service
To get more people in and out of Washington, the MTA's commuter buses will carry 9,000 people between some park & ride lots and Metrorail stations. The buses will leave starting between 4 and 4:30 a.m., depending on the stop, and the last bus will depart between 8:15 and 8:45 a.m. [These are revised times.] All routes will depart from their respective Metro stations between 4 and 8 p.m. for the return trips.

Reservations are not required. People can buy the round trip tickets onboard the buses. The tickets are $10 in exact change.

MTA Inaugural Day commuter bus park & ride locations:
* Frederick (Monocacy Park & Ride) to Shady Grove every 15 minutes
* Columbia (Broken Land Park & Ride) to Greenbelt every 15 minutes
* Scaggsville/Burtonsville to Silver Spring every 15 minutes
* Annapolis to New Carrollton every 15 minutes
* Kent Island to New Carrollton every 15 minutes
* Prince Frederick/Dunkirk to Branch Avenue every 15 minutes
* Upper Marlboro to Branch Avenue every 15 minutes
* Charlotte Hall to Branch Avenue every 15 minutes
* Waldorf (Blue Crabs Stadium) to Branch Avenue every 10 minutes

Other Ways to Metrorail Stations
Montgomery County's Ride On bus system is taking a similar approach to Metrobus in its Inauguration Day schedule, focusing on getting people to Metrorail stations.

Ride On generally will be operating on a Modified Weekday schedule, but the service to many rail stations and parking areas will be boosted. That means some other routes will have fewer buses and modified routes. All Ride On routes will operate until at least 10 p.m. Here's a link to the Ride On information page.

Parking at all Metro facilities will be $4, cash only. The lots and garages open at 3:30 a.m. Metro will operate rush hour service for 17 straight hours from the time the rail system opens at 4 a.m. until 9 p.m. Then it will revert to normal evening service, but the trains will continue running until 2 a.m.

Special Metrobus Routes
While many Metro routes will be operating as they would on a Saturday, the transit authority is focusing on service that will funnel passengers to and from downtown Washington. These are the routes Marylanders would be interested in.

Wisconsin Avenue
Metrobus Route 31 will begin at Friendship Heights Station and end at Pennsylvania Avenue NW and 24th Street NW.

Massachusetts Avenue
Metrobus Route N4 will begin at Friendship Heights Station and end at Rhode Island Avenue between 17th and 18th streets NW.

Connecticut Avenue
Metrobus Route L4 will begin at Chevy Chase Circle and end at Connecticut Avenue between N and M Streets NW.

16th Street NW
Metrobus Route S4 will begin at Silver Spring Station and end at L Street NW between 16th and 15th Streets NW.

Georgia Avenue/7th Street NW
Metrobus Route 70 will begin at Silver Spring Station and end at H Street NW between 7th and 6th streets NW.

Pennsylvania Avenue SE
Metrobus Routes 32, 34 and 36 will begin at the Southern Avenue and Naylor Road stations and end at Eastern Market Station on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE
Metrobus Routes A42, A46 and A48 will begin at Southern Avenue Station and Livingston Terrace and end at I and 6th streets SW.

Indian Head Highway
Metrobus Route P19 Special (P19S) will begin at Fort Washington park and ride. Metrobus Route W19 Special (W19S) will begin at Bryans Road park and ride. Both routes will end at G and 7th streets SW.

P19S buses will operate from the Fort Washington park and ride and serve stops on East Swan Creek Road, Gable Lane, Fort Washington Road, Livingston Road and Oxon Hill Road and then travel as an express to the G Street SW Terminal.

W19S buses will make stops along Indian Head Highway and the Accokeek Village park and ride and then travel as an express along South Capitol Street to the G Street SW Terminal.

Oxon Hill/Indian Head Highway/South Capitol Street
Metrobus Route A9 Special (A9S) will begin at Oxon Hill park and ride and end at G and 7th streets SW. Buses will stop at the Oxon Hill park and ride and along Indian Head Highway, South Capitol Street, M Street SW, 9th Street SW, G Street SW and 7th Street SW.

Here's a Post map showing all the special bus corridors.

Next in this series: Getting around the District on Inauguration Day.

By Robert Thomson  |  January 12, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  Inauguration  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: MAP: Walking to the Inauguration
Next: Join Me For a Discussion


Don't forget the options that a bike/bus combination allows. Throw your bike on a bus's bike rack and ride in most of the way. If traffic is bad you can hop off and bike the rest of the way. If not you have a way to cover the last distance and to get around during the day.

Also, I disagree that you have to be in "really, really good shape" to bike in from Maryland. Many parts of Maryland are less than 6 miles from the Mall. Energy-wise a 6 mile bike ride is the equivalent of a 1.5 mile run.

Posted by: cranor | January 12, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Dr. G, FWIW there is a typo in the following sentence:

"The HOV restrictions along I-270 and Route will be in effect on both Martin Luther King Jr. Day and on Inauguration Day."

I believe you meant to put "50" after the word "Route."

Posted by: 1995hoo | January 12, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

HOV restrictions are always in effect on Route 50 anyway.

Posted by: thetan | January 12, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Any suggestions on how to walk from Foggy Bottom to the entrace to the orange seating? Thank you

Posted by: kablank | January 19, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

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