Giant Map Is Unveiled to Explain Giant Plan
How do you plan for an event that some are calling the largest in U.S. history? You get a map that's almost as big as the city itself.
Okay, that's an exaggeration. But at a morning news conference, the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee showed reporters a 40-foot-by-40-foot map that they are using to plan for President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration Jan. 20, going over things as diverse as security to portable toilets to video screens.
It was like a giant play area for kids, complete with models of the Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol and the White House, and color-coded grids. (National Mall in green! Ellipse in light blue!)
As for news, the biggest was probably that planners will set up 5,000 portable toilets at the Mall and along the parade route down Pennsylvania Ave, as well as 10 video walls for people to watch the swearing in and 100 loudspeakers. Also, people who do not have inaugural tickets will not have to go through security to get to the Mall, though police said they will conduct random spot checks. (The 240,000 ticket-holders, who will have a better view closer to the Capitol, will have to go through security and cannot bring a long list of items, including backpacks, strollers and umbrellas.)
As for the size of the expected crowds, planners were mum. But since National Park Service regulations stipulate 1 toilet for every 300 people, it appears that planners expect 1.5 million. That would beat the record 1.2 million who watched Lyndon B. Johnson take the oath of office in Jan. 1965.
By David Nakamura
December 18, 2008; 3:08 PM ET
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