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Tips on Inauguration Travel and Fashion

Post reporters Eric Weiss and Lena Sun took questions earlier today about the gridlock from Sunday's "We Are One" concert and tomorrow's transportation nightmare. Some excerpts follow:

Washington, D.C.: Can you confirm that there will be no street parking from K - P and 12th - 22nd? Regardless, will downtown parking garages be open the morning of the inauguration? Thanks!

Eric Weiss: Those areas are reserved for bus parking and "authorized vehicles," including buses, taxis, limos and vehicles with sirens. If you live in one of those areas, show your license and you will be permitted in. As far as garages go, I would contact your individual garage whether they will be open and whether monthly passholders or daily parking will be honored.

Leesburg, Va.: If you plan on going to the Mall area tomorrow (I do not have tickets or plan on watching the parade) can you bring strollers, chairs and coolers?


Lena Sun: Hi Leesburg. Doublecheck the park service website for the list of prohibited items, but FOR THE MALL, I believe you can bring that stuff. However, be advised there will be security checkpoints around the Mall and the more stuff you have, the longer it will take to get to a patch of grass.

If that is your plan, then stay on the Mall and don't try to get to the parade area because a) you probably won't get a spot and b) they have tighter restrictions about what you can bring. Finally, if you plan to take Metro, consider how much extra room you are taking up on the trains.

Washington, D.C.: How is the metro going to be on Monday? What's the best time to take it?

Lena Sun: Monday? I think you mean tomorrow, Tuesday, right? No one really knows how many people are going to these events and how they will get there. These are all planners' guesstimates because there hasn't been anything on this scale. Ever.

If you are planning to park at a Metro station, get there early. Parking lots open at 3:30 a.m. and Metro starts running at 4 a.m. Officials expect lots to fill up by 5:30 or 6 a.m.
Parade route opens to public at 7 a.m. Once the crowd reaches 300,000 to 350,000, which could be as early as 10 a.m., says Mayor Adrian Fenty, THEY WON'T LET ANYONE ELSE IN, INCLUDING TICKETHOLDERS FOR BLEACHER SEATS.

Probably best bet to see swearing-in AND parade will be from a Jumbotron on the Mall.

Baltimore: Hi there. I'm staying at a friends house right across from the FBI Building -- but I need to get there from Baltimore. I'm either MARCing down this evening (and back on Wednesday morning) or driving to my girlfriend's house in Dunn Loring and Metro- ing in this evening and out Wednesday morning. Is traffic down 95 forecasted to be hellacious this evening (especially with the snow)?

Eric Weiss: I would MARC it. I-95 is always such an idiot-fest, especially in bad weather.

Arlington, Va.: Metro is advertising 23 special BUS corridors that they are operating tomorrow but there are no maps and no times. Can you provide some insight into how to know when to access these special bus lines???

washingtonpost.com: Metro - Getting Around - Metro to Events - Presidential Inauguration Bus Routes

Lena Sun: Hi Arlington. You can click on our link above. You can also go to Metro's website, www.wmata.com/inauguration, and there should be Metro brochures at all the stations.

Or find one of the Grab and Go guides we published in yesterday's Washington Post, 3 full pages of maps and guides and routes.

These 23 bus corridors more or less mirror existing routes, with some modifications to account for road closures. There are four corridors that start in NoVa, including the 3B, 3E, 3Y from the West Falls Church Metro, the 38B from the Ballston Metro, 16B from Lessburg and Columbia Pike, and 7AF,7WX,28FG from Landmark or Skyline Center.

Bethesda, MD: The Walking Map in the Post is very useful. It says to enter the Mall from the South side for non-ticketed swearing in viewing, but there are no security points indicated on the map. Does that mean you don't have to clear security if you enter from L'enfant Plaza side?

Eric Weiss: You are right, there are no security checks similar to those for ticketed swearing-in section, or the parade route. But I would expect some cursory screening.

Chantilly, Va.: Where can I enter the Mall from the Federal Triangle Metro stop? Will I have to go through security even though I don't have a ticket to the swearing in ceremony? If the Mall opens at 4 a.m., does that mean I can start jockeying for a place then?

Lena Sun: From the map that was in Sunday's Post, the 3-page Grab and Go guide, looks like you can just walk to the Mall from there and position yourself by one of the jumbotrons.

The Mall opens at 4 a.m. but if you are taking Metro, will be hard to get there before 4 a.m. because Metro doesnt start running until 4 a.m.

Can I make a suggestion to you and everyone else on this chat today? Get a copy of Sunday's Washington Post. In the Metro section, there is a 3-page Grab and Go guide that has huge full page maps that show security screening points, recommended entrances for parade ticketed areas, bike valets, jumbotron locations, parade route, pedestrian crossovers, Metro stations, and a schedule of events. And that's just on one of the pages.

After the jump, get inaugural ball fashion tips from washingtonpost.com fashion and beauty editor Janet Bennett Kelly.

Washington, D.C.: How do you look chic when you have to bundle up and walk and stand in the crowd for 8 hours, take the Metro, etc.

Janet Bennett Kelly: Not an easy thing to do. Something's gotta give -- like high heels, for example. Stilettos make legs look great, but practically speaking, they're a no-no if you're limousine-less. I also would wear a short dress rather than long. It's easier to get around in, and you'll have far more occasions to wear it again.

Is an updo necessary?: I'm going to the VA ball tonight and won't have time to get my hair done. Will most women have formal updos, or can I do something quick to my hair to achieve a more elegant style (I have long straight hair.). Thanks!

Janet Bennett Kelly: If you happened to see the Golden Globes, many of the most fashionable celebs wore their hair up in what I'd call casual updos, with hair falling softly around their faces. If this is a look you think you can achieve with your hair, go for it.

Alexandria, Va.: I just got a last minute invite to one of the official balls, going as the guest of a friend. I literally have nothing to wear that might resemble a formal gown. Where would you suggest I go to try to find something? I'm petite, not super skinny though, and totally concerned that I won't be able to find a gown that isn't way too long. Luckily, I have today off, so want to try to find something while I can still drive around town!

Janet Bennett Kelly: How about looking for something vintage at Annie Creamcheese in Georgetown or Remix on Capitol Hill? My other thought would be to go to Filene's Basement or Loehmann's, which have branches across the street from each other in Friendship Heights.

Shoes: Hey Janet, is it totally inappropriate to wear flats with my gown? I think it will work out length-wise, to not really see them. I hesitate to wear heels when there's no telling how far we'll be walking, but I also don't want to look under-dressed.

Janet Bennett Kelly: This is a time when flats make the most sense. And if you don't even see them, even better!

Baltimore, Md.: I will be attending one of the many inaugural balls tomorrow night and I was just wondering if it is too early to wear a colorful print gown. My other option is black, of course. Thank you.

Janet Bennett Kelly: There's bound to be a sea of black dresses, so, yes, by all means, wear a colorful print dress. How refreshing that will look. Did you happen to see Maggie Gylenhaal's dress at the Golden Globes? It was a one-shoulder print gown, and she just looked great.

Flats with a short dress?: What are the rules (if any) about wearing flats with a shorter cocktail dress? Will I look ridiculous if I go this route? I've never done flats with a cocktail dress before but I am also dreading the long walk from the metro to the ball I'm attending.

Janet Bennett Kelly: For long walks and Metro wear, flats are a defnite. Also, I think they happen to look good with a short cocktail dress. I'm particularly fond of flats with some kind of sparkle, which help amp up the dressiness factor.

Leg Warmers..: Hi ladies,

It may have been an 80s fashion trend, but dancers know that legwarmers really help. And they slip off easily and can be tucked into the sleeves of your coat with your scarf on arrival. Even acrylic ones make an amazing difference.

They help over jeans, too, if you plan to be out for the swearing in and/or parade.

Janet Bennett Kelly: Leg warmers that can be slipped off after arrival. Sounds practical to me.

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  January 19, 2009; 3:16 PM ET  | Category:  Answers , The Balls , Transportation
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Barack Obama is the greatest liar in history (no wonder he is an excellent lawyer!) During his campaign, he told lots of hope in future for America if he was elected, but now he warns Americans of oncoming darker economy and not to put too much hope in his promises. He promises a big plan to reduce budget deficit but his inauguration ceremony this January will be the most costly in history (50 millions) while the nation is in deep depression, as well as his presidential campaign (600 millions), which was far more than his opponent John McCain's. He swears to clean up Washington DC, but he failed to first clean up his homestate Illinois, one of the most corrupt state with the scandal of Governor Rod Blagojevich, who greatly helped Obama to win his state senate seat in 1996, 1998, and 2002. And his favorite slogan is "Yes, we CAN", yet he himself CANNOT quit smoking at all !!!

Posted by: TIMNGUYEN1 | January 19, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

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