Meeting the Jan. 20 Challenge in Virginia
Now that we have so much information to work with concerning travel on Inauguration Day, let's start breaking it down so we can figure out how you'll get where you're going. Since the travel task is likely to be most difficult in Virginia, we should start in the Commonwealth and look at Maryland and the District separately.
The Potomac River hasn't been such an obstacle to reaching Washington since Washington was alive. Cars will be barred from the Virginia-D.C. bridges for much of Inauguration Day. Drivers would have to swing over to the Wilson and Legion bridges and enter the District from Maryland.
Here's a link to The Post transportation map.
This puts very heavy pressure on transit services between Virginia and Washington. The Orange Line will be particularly stressed. Two developments this week are likely to affect Orange Line travel:
-- Metro announced that a relative handful of charter buses would be parking at the stations on Jan. 20, not the earlier estimate of more than 1,000. That may reduce the ridership from the outer stations somewhat, though it would mean more individual vehicles will be in the mix to create congestion at the station parking areas.
-- To ease crowding at the inner stations, the transit authority announced Thursday that it would use special bus corridors, with service about every 10 minutes, to help riders reach the District. See Lena Sun's story in today's Post. And here's a Post map showing the bus corridors.
Beth Francis, the marketing chief of Fairfax County's Transportation Department, told Lena that the Fairfax Connector will run extra bus service on routes to five Metro stations: West Falls Church and Dunn Loring-Merrifield on the Orange Line; Franconia and Van Dorn Street on the Blue Line; and Huntington on the Yellow Line. The remaining Fairfax Connector routes will run enhanced Saturday service, meaning Saturday schedules but with more bus trips.
If you live in Arlington or Alexandria, and if the weather turns out to be decent, consider walking or biking into the District. There's plenty of advice online to help you plan. Commuterpage.com has a special page with advice on going car-free to the inauguration. (And it's helpful for commuters, just trying to get to work on Jan. 20.)
Look at The Post's Commuter page this Sunday (page 2 of the Metro section) for a walker's guide to the inauguration.
Mark Roeber, spokesman for the Virginia Railway Express told me this on Wednesday about the Inauguration Day reserved train service:
-- Nearly half the tickets had been sold; that is, about 4,200 tickets for morning trains and 4,200 for the evening service.
-- Most trains still had seats available, but several Fredericksburg trains were more crowded than others.
-- VRE's monthly ticket holders will be allowed to ride, but not just by showing their monthly tickets. They must have their employers verify that they must work that day. Only then will VRE issue a special ticket for them to use on Jan. 20.
"We anticipate that we'll receive even more interest in riding to the Inaugural since getting there [by car] will literally be impossible," Roeber said in an e-mail.
Here's a link to the VRE page on Inauguration Day service.
January 9, 2009; 8:30 AM ET
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