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Get There Archive: Inauguration

How it Worked, Part 4: Rail System Was Key

The Inauguration Day transportation plan worked as well as it did because the planners fully exploited the Washington region's biggest transportation asset: the Metrorail system. Among the essential lessons learned last Tuesday was that we need to maintain this asset in top condition. That's a challenge right now, as Metro faces budget problems that could result in service cuts. And it will be a challenge for at least the next few years, because the transit authority needs a new plan -- and new money -- to buy new equipment. On Inauguration Day, the transit authority says, Metro provided about 1,120,000 rail trips. That was the highest ridership day in its three-decade history. (We don't know the exact total, even on rail, because many people were allowed through the fare gates without paying, just to ease the crowding.) Sunday through Tuesday of inauguration weekend, Metrorail took people on about 2.6 million...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 27, 2009; 8:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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How It Worked, Part 3: Closing Roads Last Tuesday

One of the most important and controversial parts of the Inauguration Day Transportation plan was the closing of streets and highways in and around Washington. Police blocked inbound Key Bridge on Tuesday morning. (Thomson) It was a bold move: Faced with the task of moving an enormous number of people, planners chose to shut out the most popular instrument of travel, the private car. In the process, they promoted a shift to much less popular forms of travel: transit, walking and biking. I can raise several questions about that plan: * Did it underutilize our road network when we needed every transportation asset we could muster? * Did it require both the enforcers of the plan and the spectators to follow instructions that were far too complex? But there's no getting around the bottom line: It worked. Hundreds of thousands of people heading for one place at approximately one time...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 26, 2009; 9:17 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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How It Worked, Part 2: Introduction to Walking

One of the reasons our transportation system performed so well under great stress on Inauguration Day was that people made their feet part of the transportation system. Perhaps it will become a habit. Walking Memorial Bridge. (Thomson) Rarely has walking for distance been such a widespread activity here. Many people did it because they knew that the roads and transit systems would be crowded on inaccessible. Some did it because the walk could be part of the day's experience. Many of the practical-minded got off Metro's Red Line at stations well north of the Mall and walked south. Metro had done a good job creating and distributing walkers' guides on how to reach the ceremonies from stations without having to transfer from train line to train line. And many people going to the ceremonies had done a good job getting acquainted with the walking routes ahead of time. But Metro...

By Robert Thomson  |  January 26, 2009; 8:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Inauguration  
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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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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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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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Older Entries in This Category »

Meet Eliot Swainson, Washington Post Editors , January 21, 2009
Morning Temporary Road Closures, Washington Post Editors , January 21, 2009
Avenues Along Mall Reopen, washingtonpost.com editors , January 20, 2009
Inauguration Sets Record Metro Ridership, washingtonpost.com editors , January 20, 2009
All D.C. Bridges Open, Mike McPhate , January 20, 2009
Update: Officer Rescued Woman on Tracks, washingtonpost.com editors , January 20, 2009
Latest on Area Bridges, Roads, Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
Smithsonian, Archives Metro Stations Reopen, Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
VRE to Run Extra Trains, Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
GWU Recommends Taking Metro to Ball, Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
Some Relief at L'Enfant Plaza , Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
Parking Available at National Airport, Robert Thomson , January 20, 2009
I-66 West Open, Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
Gallery Place Metro Crowded, Moving, Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
14th St. Bridge Reopens, Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
Key, Chain Bridges Reopen, Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
At Metro Center, an Officer's Alert Moment, Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
Lines, Stress at Farragut West, Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
Southbound I-395 Open, Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
Free Metro Exit at Some Stations, Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
Several Area Interstates Closed, Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
Judiciary Square Metro Closes, Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
Federal Triangle Station Reopens, Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
More Abrupt Exit Than Expected: Official, Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
Not Enough People Using Buses, Robert Thomson , January 20, 2009
Huntington Ave. Near Metro Reopens, Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
L'Enfant to Third Street Tunnel to Union Station, Robert Thomson , January 20, 2009
See Real-Time Transit Info, Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
Long Lines at Capitol South Metro, Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
Travelers Leave Bus Site, Head West, Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
Little Movement at 12th St. Crossing, Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
18th St. Foot Traffic Slows, Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
Metro Staff Limiting Station Access, Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
Cars Towed Near New Carrollton Metro , Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
Leaving the Mall Before the Parade, Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
Federal Triangle Station Closed, Christopher Dean Hopkins , January 20, 2009
Some Turn Around, Head Home Early, Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
Woman on Metro Tracks Hid Under Platform, Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
Red Line Service Resumes, Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
Metro Ridership Breaks All Time Record , Mike McPhate , January 20, 2009
Escalator Watch at Foggy Bottom, Robert Thomson , January 20, 2009
Giving Up on Purple Tickets, Christopher Dean Hopkins , January 20, 2009
Pedestrians Cross Memorial Bridge, Robert Thomson , January 20, 2009
Some Tearing Down Barriers, Christopher Dean Hopkins , January 20, 2009
Warning About Metro Trip Planner, Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
9:10 A.M. at Arlington Cemetery Station, Robert Thomson , January 20, 2009
Crowding, Slowed Exits at L'Enfant Plaza, Washington Post Editors , January 20, 2009
More Metro Lots Full, Christopher Dean Hopkins , January 20, 2009
Metro Riders Crowd Rosslyn Station, Robert Thomson , January 20, 2009
Metro Station Crowding From East to West, Robert Thomson , January 20, 2009
Checkpoint Madness, Christopher Dean Hopkins , January 20, 2009
6:50 A.M At L'Enfant Plaza, Robert Thomson , January 20, 2009
Bus Problems, Christopher Dean Hopkins , January 20, 2009
Parking Update, Christopher Dean Hopkins , January 20, 2009
D.C.-Bound Trains Backed Up, Christopher Dean Hopkins , January 20, 2009
L'Enfant Plaza Metro Quiet, Robert Thomson , January 20, 2009
No More Parking at 3 Lots, Christopher Dean Hopkins , January 20, 2009
5:45 at Gallery Place Metro Station, Robert Thomson , January 20, 2009
Riding Metro in From Virginia? Good Luck., Christopher Dean Hopkins , January 20, 2009
Easy Parking at Silver Spring, Robert Thomson , January 20, 2009
Red Line Already Packed, Christopher Dean Hopkins , January 20, 2009
Greenbelt Metro Station Parking Full, Robert Thomson , January 20, 2009
4 AM at a Maryland Park & Ride, Robert Thomson , January 20, 2009
Alert: Traffic Snarls Downtown Streets, Mike McPhate , January 19, 2009
Judiciary Square Entrance to Close at 4 p.m. , Mike McPhate , January 19, 2009
Preparing For the Tricky Transfer, Robert Thomson , January 19, 2009
People Rushing to Buy Fare Cards, Robert Thomson , January 19, 2009
Highway Signs in Maryland Cause Confusion, Robert Thomson , January 19, 2009
Check Out Roads & Rails Chat, Robert Thomson , January 19, 2009
Metro Sets Sunday Ridership Record, Mike McPhate , January 19, 2009
Advice on Walking or Cycling on Tuesday, Robert Thomson , January 19, 2009
Watch Those Idling Buses, Robert Thomson , January 19, 2009
Which Maps Are Most Helpful?, Robert Thomson , January 19, 2009
Metro Schedule For MLK Day, Robert Thomson , January 19, 2009
Concert Crowd Exits Downtown -- Slowly, Christopher Dean Hopkins , January 18, 2009
Memorial, Roosevelt Bridges Closed; Transit Crowded, Robert Thomson , January 18, 2009
Great Maps For Getting Around, Robert Thomson , January 18, 2009
Why Planning Is Important, Robert Thomson , January 18, 2009
Employee Volunteers to Help Metro Riders, Robert Thomson , January 18, 2009
Getting Around on Sunday During Opening Ceremony, Robert Thomson , January 17, 2009
Metro Extending Fare Card Sales Hours, Robert Thomson , January 17, 2009
Airport Travel on Inauguration Day, Robert Thomson , January 17, 2009
Metro Police Warn About Pickpockets, Robert Thomson , January 17, 2009
All Tuesday Train Tickets Sold , Robert Thomson , January 16, 2009
Traffic Alert: D.C. Streets Clear Around Obama Hotel, Robert Thomson , January 15, 2009
Getting to Obama Event in Baltimore on Saturday, Robert Thomson , January 15, 2009
The 'Unprecedented' Challenges of Inauguration Day, Robert Thomson , January 15, 2009
Two Bridges Restricted on Sunday, Robert Thomson , January 14, 2009
Suburban Buses Announce Jan. 20 Plans, Robert Thomson , January 14, 2009
Your Inauguration Lifeline, Mike McPhate , January 13, 2009
Metro Modifies Station Closings for Jan. 20, Robert Thomson , January 13, 2009
Inauguration Transportation Plan Keeps Evolving, Robert Thomson , January 13, 2009
Look for Eight-Car Metro Trains, Robert Thomson , January 13, 2009
Metro to Run Extra Airport Buses for Inauguration, Mike McPhate , January 12, 2009
More Metro Station Closings for Inauguration, Mike McPhate , January 12, 2009
VRE Still Has Inauguration Day Tickets, Robert Thomson , January 12, 2009
Maryland to D.C. on Inauguration Day, Robert Thomson , January 12, 2009
MAP: Walking to the Inauguration, Mike McPhate , January 11, 2009
Traffic Alert: Pennsylvania Ave. Shut Temporarily, Robert Thomson , January 11, 2009
Meeting the Jan. 20 Challenge in Virginia, Robert Thomson , January 9, 2009
Metro Boosting Bus Service for Inauguration Day, Robert Thomson , January 8, 2009
Inauguration Plan Walls Off Central Washington, Robert Thomson , January 7, 2009
Metro Testing Trains for Inauguration, Robert Thomson , January 7, 2009
Metro Changes Bus Parking Plan for Jan. 20, Robert Thomson , January 6, 2009
Detours in Downtown Washington, Robert Thomson , January 5, 2009
Metro's Parking Plans for Inauguration Day , Robert Thomson , January 5, 2009
New Advice on Inauguration Day Travel, Robert Thomson , December 30, 2008
Metro Will Charge $4 to Park on Inauguration Day, Robert Thomson , December 18, 2008
Inauguration Train Tickets Available for MARC, VRE, Robert Thomson , December 17, 2008
Inauguration Options: Car Free or Big Screen TV, Robert Thomson , December 11, 2008
Suburban Transit to Help on Inauguration Day, Robert Thomson , December 9, 2008
 
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