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Inauguration Plan Walls Off Central Washington

The plan that federal and local authorities announced this afternoon puts a virtual wall around central Washington on Jan. 20. Forget about the varying estimates on how many millions will show up for the inauguration. The restrictions in this plan tell us what we need to know about how bad a day it will be for commuters and spectators, and it will be very, very bad. (Tell us how you plan to get to work in our poll below. )

People will have an easier time getting in from Maryland than Virginia. In fact, for much of the day, drivers won't be able to enter Washington from Virginia. But it will be pretty ugly for everybody. More and more, we see the heavy burden falling on Metro, particularly on the lines that will bring people from Northern Virginia.

Main Roads and Bridges on Jan. 20, 4 a.m.-7 p.m.
-- 14th Street Bridge restricted to Buses and Authorized Vehicles Only.
-- Roosevelt Bridge restricted to Buses and Authorized Vehicles Only.
-- Memorial Bridge restricted to Pedestrians and Emergency Vehicles Only.
-- Key Bridge restricted to Mass Transit Only.
-- Chain Bridge restricted to Authorized Vehicles and Mass Transit Only, no charter buses.
-- South Capitol Street Bridge restricted to Buses and Authorized Vehicles Only.
-- Southeast/Southwest Freeway restricted to Emergency Vehicles Only.
-- Rock Creek Parkway open to traffic from Beach Drive to Virginia Avenue NW. (Holiday traffic schedule in effect throughout the park.)
-- Clara Barton Parkway will have two-way traffic all day.
-- 11th Street Bridges restricted to Buses and Authorized Vehicles Only.
-- Sousa Bridge open to all traffic from east of the river to a security checkpoint in Capitol Hill.
-- Barney Circle closed to all vehicles.
-- East Capitol Street open to all traffic, but roadways around RFK will be filled
with tour buses.
-- Benning Road open to all traffic.
-- New York Avenue open to all traffic.
-- 3rd Street Tunnel closed to all vehicular traffic and restricted to pedestrian use

Authorized vehicles include taxis and limousines with valid licenses.

D.C. Vehicular Restrictions
From 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 20, many of these areas will be restricted, with traffic limited to residents showing government-issued identification (driver's licenses) or vehicle registration indicating residency inside the restricted area, or to vehicles conducting essential business within the restricted area:
-- K Street NW from Washington Circle to 12th Street NW
-- Washington Circle from K Street NW to 23rd Street NW
-- Pennsylvania Avenue NW from Washington Circle to the Capitol
-- I Street NW from 23rd Street NW to 11th Street NW
-- H Street NW from 23rd Street NW to 3rd Street NW
-- G Street NW from 23rd Street NW to 3rd Street NW
-- F Street NW from 23rd Street NW to 3rd Street NW
-- E Street NW from 23rd Street NW to 3rd Street NW
-- Virginia Avenue from 23rd Street NW to 2nd SW
-- D Street NW from 23rd Street NW to 1st Street NW
-- C Street NW from 23rd Street NW to 3rd Street NW
-- Constitution Avenue from 23rd Street NW to 2nd Street NE
-- Madison Dr. NW from 15th Street NW to 3rd Street NW
-- Jefferson Dr. SW from 15th Street SW to 3rd Street SW
-- Independence Avenue from 23rd Street SW to 2nd Street SE
-- C Street SW from 7th Street SW to 2nd Street SW
-- D Street SW from 7th Street SW to 2nd Street SW
-- E Street SW from 7th Street SW to 2nd Street SW
-- Maryland Avenue SW from 7th Street SW to the U S Capitol
-- 23rd Street from Washington Circle NW to Independence Avenue SW
-- 22nd Street NW from K Street NW to Constitution Avenue NW
-- 21st Street NW from K Street NW to Constitution Avenue NW
-- 20th Street NW from K Street NW to Constitution Avenue NW
-- 19th Street NW from K Street NW to Constitution Avenue NW
-- 18th Street NW from K Street NW to Constitution Avenue NW
-- 17th Street from K Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
-- Connecticut Avenue NW from K Street NW to H Street NW
-- 16th Street NW from K Street NW to H Street NW
-- Vermont Avenue NW from K Street NW to H Street NW
-- 15th Street from K Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
-- 14th Street from K Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
-- New York Avenue NW from 18th Street NW to 11th Street NW
-- 13th Street NW from K Street NW to Pennsylvania Avenue NW
-- 12th Street from K Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
-- 11th Street NW from K Street NW to Pennsylvania Avenue NW
-- 10th Street NW from H Street NW to Constitution Avenue NW
-- 9th Street from H Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
-- 8th Street NW from H Street NW to D Street NW
-- 7th Street from H Street NW to E Street SW
-- 6th Street from H Street NW to E Street SW
-- 5th Street from H Street NW to D Street NW
-- 4th Street from H Street NW to E Street SW
-- 3rd Street from Massachusetts Avenue NW to E Street SW
-- Henry Bacon Drive NW from the Lincoln Memorial to Constitution Avenue NW
-- Daniel French Drive SW from the Lincoln Memorial to Independence Avenue SW
-- Ohio Drive from Independence Avenue through West Potomac and East Potomac Parks
-- Buckeye Drive in East Potomac Park
-- West Basin Drive
-- East Basin Drive
-- Parkway Drive from Rock Creek Parkway to Lincoln Memorial Circle
-- Maine Avenue from East Basin Drive to Independence Avenue

In addition, from 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Jan. 20, the following roads will be closed and off limits to vehicles without a law enforcement escort:
-- Pennsylvania Avenue NW from 18th Street NW to the U S Capitol
-- I Street NW from 18th Street NW to 12th Street NW
-- H Street NW from 18th Street NW to 12th Street NW
-- G Street NW from 18th Street NW to 12th Street NW
-- F Street NW from 18th Street NW to 12th Street NW
-- E Street NW from 18th Street NW to 6th Street NW
-- D Street NW from 18th Street NW to 6th Street NW
-- C Street from 18th Street NW to 2nd Street NE
-- Constitution Avenue from 17th Street NW to 2nd Street NE
-- Madison Dr. NW from 15th Street NW to 3rd Street NW
-- Jefferson Dr. SW from 15th Street SW to 3rd Street SW
-- Independence Avenue from 14th Street SW to 2nd Street NE
-- Maryland Avenue SW from 6th Street SW to the U S Capitol
-- 17th Street from I Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
-- Connecticut Avenue NW from I Street NW to H Street NW
-- 16th Street NW from I Street NW to H Street NW
-- Vermont Avenue NW from I Street NW to H Street NW
-- 15th Street from I Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
-- 14th Street from I Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
-- New York Avenue NW from 18th Street NW to 12th Street NW
-- 13th Street NW from I Street NW to Pennsylvania Avenue NW
-- 12th Street from F Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
-- 11th Street NW from F Street NW to Pennsylvania Avenue NW
-- 10th Street NW from F Street NW to Constitution Avenue NW
-- 9th Street from F Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
-- 8th Street NW from F Street NW to D Street NW
-- 7th Street from F Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
-- 6th Street from F Street NW to Maryland Avenue SW
-- 5th Street from D Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
-- 4th Street from D Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
-- 3rd Street from D Street NW to Independence Avenue SW

Road closures on Capitol Hill
These street closures will be in effect from at 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Jan. 20:
-- Louisiana Avenue between Columbus Circle and Constitution Avenue NW
-- Delaware Avenue between Columbus Circle and D Street NE
-- First Street between Columbus Circle and D Street NE
-- North Capitol Street NW between E Street and Louisiana Avenue
-- E Street between New Jersey Avenue and North Capitol Street NW
-- New Jersey Avenue NW between E Street and Louisiana Avenue NW
-- D Street between Louisiana Avenue NW and Second Street NE
-- First Street NW between D Street NW and Louisiana Avenue NW
-- C Street NW between First Street and Louisiana Avenue NW
-- Second Street NW between C Street and Constitution Avenue NW
-- Second Street NE between Massachusetts Avenue NE and C Street SE
-- C Street SE between Second Street SE and First Street SE
-- First Street SE between C Street and D Street SE
-- D Street between First Street SE and Washington Avenue SW
-- Washington Avenue SW between D Street SW, and Independence Avenue SW
-- Independence Avenue SW between Second Street SW and Third Street NW
-- Third Street between SW Freeway and Constitution Avenue NW
-- Constitution Avenue NW between Second Street NW and Third Street NW

Charter Bus Parking

Specific zones and road closures are posted on the District's Inauguration Web site at Streets around the bus parking areas will be closed to private automobile traffic and will be posted as "Emergency No Parking" zones beginning at 3 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 19.

These areas include:
-- RFK Stadium
-- 12th Street NW to 22nd Street and K Street NW to P Street NW
-- First Street NE to 6th Street NW and New York Avenue to H Street NW
-- Designated areas in Southwest and Southeast
(See The Post map of the charter bus parking areas. Note the size of these areas that will be closed to regular traffic.)

Virginia Vehicular Restrictions
On Jan. 20, personal vehicles will not be permitted into the District from Virginia:
-- I-395 north will be closed to general traffic from 2 a.m. to about 6 p.m. As a result, northbound I-95 traffic will be diverted onto I-495 North (Inner Loop) or I-495/I-95 East (Outer Loop) at the Springfield interchange.
-- Eastbound I-66 lanes east of the Capital Beltway/I-495 will be closed to general traffic from 2 a.m. to about 6 p.m. Eastbound traffic on I-66 will also be diverted onto I-495.
--Only authorized vehicles (emergency vehicles, buses, taxis and for-hire limos) will be permitted on I-395 North and I-66 East within the Beltway.
-- Memorial Bridge will be open to pedestrian traffic only.
-- Key Bridge is restricted to mass transit only.
-- Chain Bridge is restricted to authorized vehicles and mass transit only, no charter
-- The Woodrow Wilson and the American Legion bridges will have no traffic
-- North Washington Street at Montgomery Street (City of Alexandria City) to Reagan National Airport will be closed.

U.S. Park Police Closures
On Jan. 20:
-- The George Washington Memorial Parkway will be closed in both directions from I-495 to the 14th Street Bridge.
-- Buses and authorized vehicles traveling to Washington Reagan National Airport via I-395 may exit onto southbound George Washington Parkway for the airport only. All other traffic will need to use Route 1 or mass transit to reach the airport.
-- Buses and authorized vehicles will be allowed to exit National Airport onto northbound George Washington Memorial Parkway to enter the District of Columbia via the 14th Street Bridge. All other traffic will be allowed to exit the airport via Route 1 or the southbound George Washington Parkway.

Maryland Transportation Information
While there are no anticipated road closures or restrictions in Maryland, officials are
discouraging individuals from driving into the District and encouraging the use of mass


By Robert Thomson  |  January 7, 2009; 5:04 PM ET
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Next: Ice, Accidents Make for Slow Morning Commute


Holy bleeping bleep, batman. I assume the post will jump on top of this and try to put it in some kind of graphical format...

Posted by: aaronw1 | January 7, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm with aaronw1: Thanks for the info, but taking the time to map all that data would have been more helpful. For everyone.

Posted by: CaptainJohn2525 | January 7, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

So, those of us who live inside the beltway should just plan on staying home. Luckily, my employer has closed. I would ahte to have to get to work that day

Posted by: teach1 | January 7, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

From Dr. Gridlock: Yes, on maps. We plan to do a lot of them. Many of my readers have been obsessing about the street and bridge closures, so I wanted to push out the information as soon as we got it this afternoon. It will take a little bit longer for our map makers to digest all that stuff -- and who can fault them? This is an elaborate plan. Probably needs a map for the inner zone, of downtown DC, and one for the perimeter. I've got readers in Reston trying to figure out how to get to an inaugural ball in West End and others in Richmond trying to figure out how to reach National Airport, and so on. This will take a while to sort out.

Posted by: Robert Thomson | January 7, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Not all Federal agencies will be closed. I know several Federal employees that are considered key and essential (i.e., IT Specialist, Communication Specialtist, etc.) that are required to report for duty by regulation. Several Federal employees reside either in the District, MD or VA and their work schedules do not match the posted road/bridge closures. Is a current ID from their place of employment acceptable proof to get to work?

Posted by: WhereisCommonSense | January 7, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

for those of us who live within the charter bus area, its just, ugh. We're completely screwed, as far as I can tell.

Once again, the federal government clearly doesn't care about those of us who actually live here.

Posted by: RedBirdie | January 7, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Pedestrians are only explicitly allowed on the Memorial Bridge. Has the USSS issued any guidance as to whether the sidewalks/walkways on the Key, Roosevelt, and 14th Street bridges will remain open to pedestrians? Would be nice info to know.

Posted by: DupontJay | January 7, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse

This has got to be one of the most intrusive and restrictive plans local authorities have come up with. How is using 395, 66 or local bridges going to intrude on anything? On a day that celebrates how well our democracy works we are barred from freedom of movement. Given the number of police barricades we should just change the name of the city to East Berlin. I work in the TV news business and will need to commute from Virginia on Jan 20. What the hell am I supposed to do now? I feel like I am being discriminated against because I live in Virginia.

Posted by: mjoy | January 7, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

"On a day that celebrates how well our democracy works we are barred from freedom of movement"

You've got to be kidding me. You still have your legs, right? Quit whining and use them!

Maybe you've forgotten what they said in driver's ed, "driving is a privilege, not a right."

It's hard to imagine how anyone would expect to be able to drive in town that day anyhow.

As to "I feel like I am being discriminated against because I live in Virginia", we DC residents feel discriminated against every day for paying taxes for the streets you use for free. So get over yourself.

Posted by: qwertyuiop2 | January 8, 2009 7:56 AM | Report abuse

My friends, this would not have happened if I had been elected to the White House. The ne Democratic Leadership is driving this, "Walled City" approach. All I can say is you should thank Mr. Obama and the other Democrats you elected for making this possible.


Posted by: jmccain1 | January 8, 2009 8:07 AM | Report abuse

The connections from Arlington to DC seem woefully insufficient. Many of us expect Metro not to be an option as trains are likely to be completely full by the time they reach the county.

The only bridge designated for walking traffic is the Memorial Bridge, which is the single LEAST convenient option. There is nothing near the Virginia terminus of the bridge other than Arlington Cemetery. People live near the Roosevelt and 14th Street Bridges, but it doesn't sound like those will be available for pedestrians, even though they'll be nearly unused.

It will be an unmitigated disaster of people trying to find and get across the Memorial Bridge when MEtro won't be an option.

Posted by: nashpaul | January 8, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

So is there any way to get from Arlington to DC by bicycle? Memorial bridge will be open to pedestrians--maybe they'll let us walk the bikes across?

Posted by: jgfoot | January 8, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

And this is the city that expected to make a successful Olympics bid? Their idea to move millions of people is to shut down most bridges and force people to walk over the Memorial Bridge and force them to take Metro or a charter bus?

Good god. And hey - I wouldn't take my bike into the City unless I could take it inside work. It's gonna be like that "War of the Worlds" scene where people were shot over a moving car - anything that will ease the pain of walking will be up for grabs.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | January 8, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Any thoughts regarding how to catch the 5pm Acela from Union Station on the 20th? I am coming from Fairfax City and would typically drive which I realize is not an option. Since Metro will be a zoo, would a taxi be a better option? Cost is not an issue since this is an employer-paid trip.

Posted by: skipper7 | January 8, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

I second jgfoot's question, but coming from Maryland instead. What are the anticipated restrictions on bikes? I know WABA is going to have valet service, but it's unclear where exactly that will be.

Posted by: negasonic | January 8, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Are bridges going to be open to outbound traffic for reverse commuters?

Posted by: chris4096 | January 8, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

So the fascist pols we voted for won't even wait till high noon to impose their totalitarianism. Only the more equal among us "authorized vehicles" will be allowed. What abt all of us who need to get to our homes and jobs IN VIRGINIA along 395 and 66 [eg Shirlington, Falls Church, etc etc]?

Bad enough when they didn't give a hoot about the rights of DC residents - that was normal. But now they are happy to screw us in VA, too.

And that genius congressman connally wouldn't 'second guess' the decision. Just like he wouldn't second guess the hate speech coming from his saudi islamic academy tenant, in his field of 'expertise'. What an improvement!

Posted by: robeste | January 8, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Where does the government get the right to close down the entire city and prevent people from being able to get to work? Is the government going to make the 20th a paid holiday since they are making it virtually impossible for many of us to get to the places where we go to earn a living? These are not minor inconveniences. People who live inside the affected zones will be under virtual house arrest. If we cannot hold an inauguration without shutting down the entire city, especially in these tough, economic times, then we need to do something differently. What will they do next, declare marshall law? In the absence of a national emergency, there must be some limit on the government's ability to simply deny me freedom of movement because they want to hold a flipping ceremony. I support Obama, but all of this is absurd. Whatever happened to common sense?

Posted by: sonny2 | January 8, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Many, many of you belief the only reason for restricting traffic is due to the amount of folks that will be in town, and the lack of parking and street closures. There's another reason: having the ability to mass evacuate the city in case of a WMD type terrorism attack. Makes good planning sense to me.

Posted by: jlwallace1 | January 8, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

With hotels full and hospitals gearing up for excess patients, how are the workers supposed to get in and out? The maids, bus boys, porters, etc. can't afford a cab or a police escort and telling smeone who works an eight or ten hour shift on her/his feet to walk 2-3 miles to work is cruel. Will WMATA provide good info on which bus lines will operate what hours?

Posted by: busgirl1 | January 8, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

The map that I would find useful is one with clear pedestrian routes to the mall or parade route from SE, SW, NE and NW.

I'd also like to know where the jumbotrons will be - only on the Mall and parade route? or other places like East, North or South of the Capitol?

Posted by: kagey | January 8, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

66 inside the Beltway is closed, but what about the Tool Road spur? Can we still get off at 123 (I would guess they'd close it after that, but would like confirmation).

Posted by: Hemisphire | January 8, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

What Metrorail stations will be closed? I know Smithsonian-- what about others?

Posted by: jposey1 | January 8, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Hello, from a government employee in Rosslyn:

This Inauguration Day is a federal holiday for us government employees in the Washington metro area. HOWEVER, my suggestion is that we cancel the WHOLE inaugural thing, it is getting to be WAY TOO CONFUSING, TOO EXPENSIVE, and really MOST ANNOYING. I recommend that the inaugural pow-wow be dropped and kept as simple traditional ceremony held in the White House and televised live and leave everyone else at home. Personnally, I am planning to FLY OUT OF TOWN before that day because I can't stand all the talk about this inauguration day,when it is nothing new. I wish President-Elect Obama all the best. It is going to be a tough job, but I think he will be good for this country.

Posted by: JenniferBurke1 | January 8, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Anyone stupid enough to venture anywhere near DC on Inauguration Day needs his/her head examined.

Posted by: checkered1 | January 8, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

How about swearing in, in the Oval Office, with a few news camera's and what is only necessary for the oath of office. Cost should be around $35.00 and Bush could sneak out of town unnoticed.

He and Laura could began to hitch hike back to Texas.
Then up on arrival back in Crawford, Texas the town's people could lynch him, creating a excellent day for the nation.

Posted by: jdmsad | January 8, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Let her snow, let her snow, let her SNOW. This will make meaning out of the dramatic telepromter reading by peeBO. peeBO your 1st reaping bailout didn't work and your 2nd one won't either. Cut taxes on businees, cut government by 39% and we will turn this economy around peeBO. I realize you are 47 years old and never managed nothing but a basketball team but now it's real life peeBO

Posted by: bobojake | January 8, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Why work? Obama will take care of us. Dear Mr. Ben Franklin, on behalf of all real Americans I regret to inform you that we have lost our republic. Our most sincere apology for allowing it to happen without so much as a whisper of outrage. Please ask God to forgive us.
In sympathy, What's left of the lovers of The Constitution.

Posted by: binstence | January 8, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

If W. didn't need these kinds of precautions for his inauguration, I really don't see why Obama does. Taxpayers are being forced to ante up for this needless security, not to mention tolerate the inconvenience, because Liberal's see right wing bogeymen assassins everywhere.

Remember Janet Reno wasting billions of dollars during the Clinton Administration chasing after the so called right wing Christian militias, while ignoring the real threat from Islam. Well, get ready for more of the same from the Obama Justice Department and FBI. And wait until you see who ends up running the department of Homeland Insecurity.

One popular Mexican toast is "The liver does not exist." In future, the toast at DHS will be "The southern border does not exist."

Drive carefully.

Posted by: greg3 | January 8, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

My "Yes we can" statement???

Aruba baby!!!

I'm off to get some stimuation and work on my tan, while 500 people are looking for a single port-a-potty, on Tuesday.

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | January 8, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

To those that think anyone going near DC during this "needs their heads examined": I'm getting increasingly tired of that line of thought. I live here. I'm pregnant and, for better or worse, the 20th is my due date. My doc works in DC but lives in VA. Neither of us care terribly much about the inauguration but that does not change that this is totally freaking with our lives. The doc has to get here, I need access to the hospital, and we are only two folks... This is not our fault and last time I checked, 'destination births' were reserved for Angelina Jolie.

The evacuation line of thought is inane. For one, there are NO restriction into or out of MD. For two, DC has always been a 'reside in place' town. If it hits here, we get to ride it out... there is no evacuating 5 million people into the equally dense eastern seaboard. You might read about other plans, but just like these measures don't account for the comfort or safety of residents, those evacuation plans are only for the president, senators, and diplomats.

So, again, why cut off every way to get here from VA. No walking on the 14th street bridge? Why? Why not make ALL the bridges bike/pedestrian routes with shuttles. Why close ALL of 66 and 395 from the beltway in? Seriously, people will still need to get to hospitals, to the grocery store, to care for the elderly, to take care of children.... this is just too much.

Posted by: DCgrr1 | January 8, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

To answer the poll question, I clicked "Other" because I'm currently out of work, so I don't have to worry about commuting.

But closing inbound I-395 and I-66 all the way from the Beltway seems like massive overkill. Close I-395 from Glebe Road in, or set it up so that traffic can't go beyond the exit for Pentagon City. Close I-66 after the US-29/Spout Run exit. The part that I find the most obnoxious is that taxis and "for-hire limos" are to be permitted to use these roads. If you're going to close a public Interstate, then restrict it to law enforcement and emergency vehicles only.

Good thing I wasn't planning on going anywhere, other than maybe up into the mountains to go skiing, that day.

Posted by: 1995hoo | January 8, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I have to use another day of leave because my employer is too cheap to give us the day off when the federal government is closed. Same with Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, day after Christmas, Columbus Day and Veterans' Day. Government Contractors!

Posted by: disgruntled1 | January 8, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I'll stick with my mass evacuation opinion as to the reason for bidge and road closures coming into the city. Remember what it was like on 9/11, when everyone was sent home? Multiple that by thousands.

Posted by: jlwallace1 | January 8, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I plan on taking I-55 to Midway as usual. For once I'm glad I live in Chicago.

Posted by: bill73 | January 8, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

This is outrageous and the worst part is that it's all being done by unnamed "officials." No one is accountable for shutting down the city. Metro has pretty much told us that they will be overwhelmed and they will not be open as late as the bars, balls, and clubs. I have heard that some of 295 will be closed and we also need an update on Metro restrictions/changes on inauguration day. I'm all for the POTUS elect and crowds being safe, but this is taking it too far. If it were left to the Secret Service and security folks (as it apparently was in this case)

Posted by: loved1 | January 8, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

As for me, I'm sure I didn't see Salwa Road mentioned in there, or Al Bustain either for that matter. I don't think the inauguration will impact me too much, but if necessary I'm sure my Jeep can mow over a few future handout recipients who most likely don't work anyway or won't be working when their boss finds out they called in sick to go to the inauguration.

Posted by: bigdaddydk | January 8, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I live behind the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington and have been told by the County that unless I plan on attending the event to plan as if there's a major snow event, stock up on supplies, and act as if I'm under house arrest. In addition, local businesses are closing because employees can't get to work and they don't want hordes of people coming in to use the bathroom, so there's no place to go even on foot, and the Metro of course will be slammed 24x7. Also, because of the road closures I can't get in or out of my home even if I went away for the weekend.

Lastly, having been here for the circus's that are the 4th of July and the Marine Corps Marathon I know if I don't watch my property strangers will park in my yard and fill my lawn with trash.

For those of you that don't live here, or don't live in the security zone, until you experience the same situation in your own home you really can add nothing to this discussion.

Posted by: s4usea1 | January 8, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Any suggestions on when those of us who leave town for the hoopla can come back? If they are opening up 66 and 95 at 6:00 p.m., what kind of traffic do you think I'd encounter if I left the Eastern Shore about that time, and theoretically hitting the beltway between 8 and 9?

Posted by: danielblumenthal | January 8, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I live in Gaithersburg, MD and must catch a flight at 6:00AM on 20 January. How the heck do I get to the airport to be on time to catch my flight? Since I am not familiar with the area, what options do I have to make my flight on the 20th? Someone please advise me who is more familiar with this area from Maryland. Thank you.

Posted by: rwillis31 | January 8, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm hopeful, but not at all confident, that the many, many visitors to the Capital are being well informed on their transportation options and requirements. Do first time visitors whose tour bus will stop at their lodging in Woodbridge have any idea how much walking they will be doing that inauguration day?

The ceremony is one thing, but then the expansive entertainment planned for that night is another issue. How are all the minimum wage servers, waiters, valets, etc. to get to work? What are people to do between the inauguration and the inaugural balls? Tredge all the way back to the bus, ride all the way back to Woodbridge, just to repeat the trudge a few hours later?

D.C. just doesn't have the greatest track record handling huge events the first time round. If we don't have perfect weather, we're going to have huge problems.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | January 8, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

rwillis31, I assume you need to go to Reagan Airport? I think your easiest route might be as follows (note, "easiest"; I have no idea how/fast slow this may be or what time you should leave home for the drive):

(1) I-270 to the Beltway.

(2) Beltway to the Legion Bridge.

(3) Get over to the barrier-separated exit lanes after crossing the bridge. You want the exit for Georgetown Pike (Exit 44), which is the second ramp out of those exit lanes. (The first ramp, to the GW Parkway, will be closed.)

(4) Go left at the top of the ramp.

(5) Make the first legal right turn after crossing the Beltway (i.e., the turn after you pass the off-ramp from the Inner Loop). You'll be on Balls Hill Road.

(6) Turn left onto Old Dominion Drive. I think this is the first traffic light you come to, although I haven't used Balls Hill in a few years and cannot confirm that.

(7) Follow Old Dominion to Glebe Road (VA-120). Turn right onto Glebe.

(8) Follow Glebe Road all the way to where it ends at US-1 at the Porsche dealer just east of Crystal City. Turn left.

(9) Follow the sign for Reagan Airport. It's an exit on the right a short distance up the road.

The reason I suggest Old Dominion to Glebe instead of VA-123 to Glebe is that VA-123 and Glebe meet at Chain Bridge, which will be closed, and I think you'd encounter many confused and frustrated motorists who don't know where they're going if you go over there.

You should look this up on a map to clarify it all in your mind.

Posted by: 1995hoo | January 8, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Was this same procedure in effect for the inauguration in 2004? If it wasn't then, and there were no problems, why all the hoopla now? Is it because "the one" is being inaugurated? Who in their right minds would go to Washington for this unless you were guaranteed a seat near the front? Why would you put yourself through this mess only to be parked a mile from the stage and watching on a TV screen? You can do that at home with the same effect.

Posted by: savvyj2 | January 8, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Thank you goes out to 1995hoo! I will check it all on the map. Thank you very much for the help. You should get a good citizen award for your kindness and assistance.

Posted by: rwillis31 | January 8, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

"savvyj2," there was a security cordon in downtown DC for the 2005 inauguration, but nothing of the scale they're doing this time. Inaugurations prior to 2005 aren't a fair comparison because they were prior to 9-11, and 2005 isn't really the best way to compare to this year because it was Bush's second inauguration (meaning, regardless of your views on Bush or on his presidency, it wasn't as big a deal as his 2001 inauguration, because any president's first inauguration is normally a much bigger event than his second).

It may be un-PC of me to say this, but I am certain that the fact that Obama is the first black president is a major contributing factor in the unprecedented closures. There are a lot of sick lunatics out there.

Posted by: 1995hoo | January 8, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

You would have to have taken complete and total leave of your senses to go anywhere near Washington on January 20th.

Now that the security camels have gotten their noses firmly in the tent, there will never, ever be a return to anything appoaching sanity for these events until the next revolution.

Posted by: mdbeachbum | January 8, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

good point beach bum, but as hard as it may be to believe about half a million of us live in the city. Is your beach house available?

Posted by: chris4096 | January 8, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

I will be driving in on Monday and parking in my office garage overnight. I am thrilled to be taking my daughter to be a participant in this this truly historic event.

For those that have said MD doesn't have the closures, you are wrong. The three Anacotia bridges are also being restricted and these are the only options for those of us coming from the south and east. Only Montgomery and Northern PG residents have their 'normal' routes open.

Posted by: mdloulou | January 8, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I plan on sleeping on the floor in my office on Monday, and getting ready for work in the gym in the basement of our building.

Posted by: DCpirate1 | January 8, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

yeah seriously, i say we all have a big party at beach bum's house - carpool anyone?

Posted by: livesinDCtoo | January 8, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

My sister is coming into town, otherwise I'd be staying well clear of this. Problem is, I live in Del Ray--I have no idea how we're getting in that morning. Metro I'm guessing will be full, will I have to ride back out to Springfield so we can board at the end of the line?

Also, she has a flight from BWI at 7pm. Will she be able to take the metro to Greenbelt and the bus from there?

Posted by: aaronsinger | January 8, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, I see a lot of these restrictions as necessary. Here's why: it is plainly obvious from these comments along that if roads are open, nobody will heed the advice of officials and people will try to drive into the city. If the roads were open, this is the likely scenario: Millions of cars will come to the city, and there is just no room to accomodate them all. People will be aimlessly driving around searching for parking spaces which are all full. Traffic will be gridlocked because of the huge secured zone that vehicles cannot enter, and the roads to drive around it do not have capacity. Thus, you will have massive gridlock backing up onto the bridges from Virginia, and that in turn will back up I-66, I-395, etc., probably all the way to Manassas and Fredericksburg. I'm talking standstill backup, worse than the day of the primary when the Springfield Interchange froze over. The whole region would be paralyzed. Nobody would get where they need to go, despite all the bridges and roads technically being "open". Yeah, open and filled with non-moving cars. If authorities saw the gridlock occurring and decided to shut down the roads because of it, you'd in effect have the same thing we will have on Jan 20, but with no advance warning. Warning is good so you can make plans now.

Quite simply, as bad as the announced restrictions seem, having that plan in place is far better than the catastrophic congestion that would play out like in my above scenario.

Here are some pieces of info to consider. If they closed I-66 or I-395 at the Beltway, like they plan to, the Beltway can absorb large amounts of traffic coming in from I-95 and I-66. Yes, there will be delays. But if you end I-66 at Glebe Road, there is no place for those cars to go. You'd have the same sceanario playing out, that I described above, except the massive gridlock would be in Arlington with people trying to find non-existant parking spaces. Thus, the closure point needs to be at a high capacity road without traffic lights, or else the line to get off at the closure point would take hours. Again, it would be as if the road were closed because the traffic was so bad.

Posted by: thetan | January 8, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

(continued from above...)

Taxis and limos are given an exception for one simple reason: they aren't going to be aimlessly searching around for parking spaces. They get as close as they can, drop off their people, and leave. The lack of parking is the source of the problem.

The reason for Virginia suffering more from this is a simple matter of geography. The roads entering DC from VA lead right smack into the middle of all the action. The roads leading in from MD lead in to the far edges of the city. Although I predict high odds of my massive gridlock scenario playing out on Maryland roads leading into DC. At least those roads are not highways, and thus you can turn off a congested route anywhere and turn around. On a highway, you are just stuck.

I really hope that Metro is smart enough to run every other train empty from the end stations so that there are seats available to inner station people. To do so otherwise would be blatently unfair. And I also hope Metro is smart enough to seperate the hoardes of passangers going downtown from the ones "reverse commuting" outbound on empty trains.

And shame on them for not running rush hour service, or at least something resembling rush hour service on the busses. This would be a great day to show off how the bus system works to locals in the area. After all this being told to ride mass transit, but a lot of the bus lines aren't even running. That's not good.

Lastly, I feel sorry for those who were dumb enough to book hotel rooms in PA or West in the heck are they getting to town? Unless they were pro-active and gobbled up those MARC or VRE tickets, which are now likely sold out, they will likely be watching inauguration from their hotel TV or listening to it on WTOP while stuck on the interstate somewhere. I really feel sorry for those who paid $30K to rent a house in Chantilly thinking they were just going to jump on I-66 and drive into town. Good luck getting onto I-66, much less into town!

Posted by: thetan | January 8, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

I feel very sorry for anyone who has a disablity and trying to get into the District on the 20th. It seems like they are violating the ADA law by not making the program fully accessible to folks who had disabilities and/or cannot stand for long periods of time.

I plan on staying home and watching it from the comfort of my recliner.

Posted by: DeafSenior | January 8, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

I will be taking my Underground Bicycle. It is the fastest mode of transportation known to man.

Posted by: secmtgco | January 8, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

I do NOT see these restrictions as necessary. I live inside the beltway, near the mixing bowl, which means I probably won't be able to so much as leave my house to get to the grocery store. I feel sorry for my poor husband who is an emergency essential personnel and has been told that he will have to go 10 miles out of his way to get to work that day. And if this was so necessary, why did they not report these closures until less than 2 weeks before the event? The evacuation route theory is BS. All of this is just a big show for the secret service to look like they actually do something for a living. This shouldn't be anything new, so why have new restrictions? We've had bigger events in DC besides this one (i.e. fourth of July) where half a million people have shown up downtown and have NEVER had this many closures this far away from the district. I hope someone does attack this city that day in spite of the closures just to prove that you are not going to stop crazy people from doing crazy things. Stop trying to protect ME by RESTRICTING ME!!!

Posted by: rmarmist | January 8, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

"We've had bigger events in DC besides this one (i.e. fourth of July) where half a million people have shown up downtown and have NEVER had this many closures this far away from the district."

Come again? How is 4th of July, with half a million people, a larger event than inauguration with between 1 and 4 million people expected? And when was the last time 10,000 tour busses came to DC and needed to park downtown?

We've never had restrictions like this, because we've never had an event like this before!

Perhaps you could try to think of an alternative plan. Drop your husband off at Franconia-Springfield Metro. He won't have to park and he will likely get downtown much faster than if he tried driving. And grocery shopping can always be done in advance...

Posted by: thetan | January 8, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

The thing that continually amazes me is that people still think the Federal Government can deliver health care at lower prices etc when they can't deliver the mail, they can't even do a simple task like get people vouchers for the change over to Hi def TV and they certainly will screw up this mass of people entering Washington DC on the 20th. So every time you complain about how bad Government is about managing anything - think how bad your health care will be if they get their hands on it.

Posted by: tumeroll | January 8, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

I thought the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself? Open them roads, lets get to work and stimulate this economy.

Posted by: jimwa9z | January 8, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

It's one thing to close the bridges. That's bad enough. But to completely shut down 395 and the George Washington Parkway from the beltway to DC is ridiculous. Hundreds of thousands of people live in Alexandria and Arlington and even if they don't want to go to DC their main throroughfares are blocked. This is insanity.

Posted by: fisherfc | January 9, 2009 12:32 AM | Report abuse

All these precautions are most likely due to Obama's mass appeal.

Posted by: Superpower | January 9, 2009 3:51 AM | Report abuse

this is a president-elect without experience, except Acorn, suspicious electoral activity in Illinois. It is not worth going. he will put the country in a down spiral as he did for the Johnson Foundation in Chicago. Got 200 millions did nothing to improve grades. Lied on public financing, probably accepted foreign money, which is illegal. we do not elect people due to their races but due to competency. Got elected thanks to Soros, Acorn, Oprah. People going there. They are just bused in by Acorn. They will be the first to suffer now. This country will b e in the abyss for the next 4 years.

Posted by: terragord | January 9, 2009 6:32 AM | Report abuse

I voted "other" - I got laid off so I will be biking down to the Jefferson Memorial
and walking from there to "check things out" and walk around for a bit.

Posted by: MichaelE1 | January 9, 2009 7:17 AM | Report abuse

We the people need to save this plan and implement it to trap the rats for the revolution!

Posted by: axisman | January 9, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

We the people need to save this plan and implement it to trap the rats for the revolution!

Posted by: axisman | January 9, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

My business is closing down for the day. For many this will be an uncompensated "holiday" because of the unprecedented demands of the new president.

We should all get used to it because it is indicative of the future for the "little people" in america.

Prepare yourselves for a truly royal presidency.

Posted by: binthere222 | January 9, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

So the Democrats running Washington think this type of restriction is merited in our Nation's capitol, to keep the new Democratic King safe from the citizen rabble, but we can't have border security to regulate immigration to keep the citizen rabble safe from illegals?

Posted by: 3GMP | January 9, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

A couple of things.
Anyone living in Virginia is screwed. Closing 66 and 395 at the beltway means anyone whose office is off the beltway (like Tysons) will now have to deal with a 495 parking lot that will probably be 10 times worse than a normal day. 395 could be cut off at the Pentagon, and 66 could be cut off at Fairfax Blvd.

As to WMD's it's highly unlikely a well trained terrorist will bring that into the city on Jan 20.

to qwertyuiop2:
"we DC residents feel discriminated against every day for paying taxes for the streets you use for free. So get over yourself."

You never drive to Virginia or Maryland? Doesn't the federal government allocate money to DC for operating costs? That money is everyone's tax dollars.

Posted by: powerja | January 9, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Question for Dr. Gridlock or anyone with excellent map reading skills,

I do not have the 20th off and I commute from Adams Morgan to Springfield, Va and clearly the bridge closings are going to be a huge issue for me. What's not clear on the map link in the article is whether or not the key bridge is open to all traffic outbound. The may key has the "x" as for inbound bridge traffic but does it also apply to outbound? (and by that I mean, please for the love of god let it...)

if anyone can help, thanks!

Posted by: zandge | January 9, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I plan to ask for a bailout, since everyone will be there.

Posted by: bellafleck | January 9, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

We may need to get our heads examined, but my friend and I have tickets from a lottery held by Rep. Paul Hodes D-NH. We both use electric wheelchairs. We plan to take the metro in. We'll be staying in Baltimore and driving to a Metro station. Which one will be the best for parking? We're planning to come very early ~6AM. I feel bad for you others who actually live there and just want to get on with the business of living. But for the rest of the country, this is a BIG event. So just sit back and enjoy that we don't change administrations through killings but through votes!

Posted by: GraniteOne | January 9, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

This has to be something Bush screwed up. If he would have done his job we wouldn't be having all this trouble to get to work. Thank goodness for Mr O. , by the end of 2009 there should be less of us on the road having to go to work.

Pass the chicken, please!

Posted by: drdean38 | January 9, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Thank goodness I no longer have a commuting job. However, I have mnay friends and relatives who must commute from the Fredericksburg area to the DC area everyday. They will all be royally screwed on the 20th,as far as I can see. Seems to me our Secret Service must be run by monkeys (literally),who obviously all live in DC itself and can walk to work. I pray to God there is no emergency such as 9-11 which requires any kind of major local evacuation or emergency assistance because there will be no way for anyone to get anywhere on that day. And why, I have to ask, is MD not facing the same mess as VA that day? Are they somehow better than us? As for me, I will be at work that day and don't really care about all the hubbub. It's just another workday for me, but I will pray that all those affected by this ludicrous and assinine plan are not too terribly inconvenienced or harmed. Good luck everyone, we're all going to need it (especially after our new President takes office).

Posted by: KiknBac | January 9, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

"We'll be staying in Baltimore and driving to a Metro station. Which one will be the best for parking?"

I'd go to Greenbelt Metro station, park and ride metro in from there. If that lot is full, a good backup plan would be College Park metro. Just be aware the due to Greenbelt's proximity to 95 south, the lot may get very crowded. There are quite a few spaces marked for the handicap so you may be ok.

I'm not sure what metro stations are closed downtown, but getting off at Gallery place would be your best bet (7th and F St. Exit, then head south on 7th street towards the mall).

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | January 9, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

If all these restrictions are necessary, it tells me that the event should be canceled or moved to some place like Fedex Stadium so the rest of us aren't so grossly inconvenienced. God forbid I try to work. It will be impossible.

Posted by: dtysko | January 11, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

The problem is SOME OF US ACTUALLY DO HAVE TO WORK Jan 20th--in hospitals! As an RN living in nova and working next tuesday, it's going to be a real challenge. They should have thought of this earlier and given out a controlled number of passes to allow health care workers to drive on restricted roads!!!!!

Posted by: islndr | January 14, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

In another Post article ("Virginians See Bridge Closings As Dose of Northern Hospitality"), it is made clear that the idea to close the bridges came from the Virginia Dept. of Transportation and Virginia State Police, not DC, the Secret Service or the Inaugural Committee. It was also signed off on by Virginia's Governor.

Posted by: BootmanDC | January 14, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Move the whole inauguration to a secret, undisclosed, underground location and let those who wish to watch tune in on the LCD or plasma. Life must go on and these restrictions discourage participation and celebration. Sadly, it seems the terrorists won this round.

Posted by: richards3 | January 15, 2009 4:21 AM | Report abuse

I don't know what my husband and I will do. We share a car and live in MD. He's a firefighter that works in Fairfax County and will be getting off work that morning of Inauguration Day.

Posted by: kf519 | January 15, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse


I know there will problems getting into DC for the Swearing In and the Parade, but does anyone have any idea what it will be like to get into town (upper Connecticut Ave.) for an inaugural ball that begins 7-8pm? We live in Fairfax. Any ideas for a decent route into that area? I would have preferred for my son and his fiancee to stay in a hotel, but of course by the time we knew we could get tickets, the hotels were all booked and the rates exhorbitant. Can anyone help? Thanks.

Posted by: OrangeBlossom44 | January 15, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

In a terrible economy when unemployed people are going hungry while living in their cardboard boxes, a President was elected who promised to help us all. He promised to save our economy, save our jobs, save our homes, save, save, save. How do you justify $50,000,000.00 or more for a swearing in. We could have used that $$$$$$$$$$$ for better purposes. Once again God bless our politicians. In saying that, it makes no difference which party. The key word here is politicans. Oh yes, they just gave themselves yet another raise.

Posted by: ACCTG | January 15, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

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