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Why Planning Is Important

The Inauguration
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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 a bus to a sidewalk as conditions change.

* Many travelers will be out-of-towners unfamiliar with the Washington transportation network or car drivers forced to do something different, either taking routes for the first time or getting out of their cars and onto transit. They will slow progress for everyone, but in some spots, they might bring travel to a temporary halt, and other travelers will want to bail out.

* The planners who have taken away some travel options that involve driving and parking have provided many others. More trains are running and running longer than ever before. Much of the region's public bus fleet has been marshaled to provide inauguration service. Walking maps are widely available. Free bike valet sites will be set up north and south of the Mall.

By Robert Thomson  |  January 18, 2009; 9:17 AM ET
Categories:  Inauguration  
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