HED: Inauguration Poses Transportation Hurdles

Dorothy Rowley | 4/12/2011, 4:38 p.m.

Considering the 120,000 commuters the system already transports each hour, security on D.C.'s Metro rails has reached priority status, and because vehicular mobility will be greatly compromised, extraordinarily long lines will only add to the congestion.

As for traveling on foot, that could be a good idea. Although Virginia State Police had said earlier that most bridges leading into D.C. would be closed to pedestrians, it was announced over the weekend that all bridges from Virginia will be open to foot traffic and that people will be able to walk or bike across the Key, 14th Street and Roosevelt bridges as long as they keep on the sidewalk and bike paths. The Memorial Bridge could also end up being a major walking route, but for the time-being, officials are asking anyone who lives within 2 miles of the festivities to walk. In fact, officials are suggesting that people who will be housed within 5 miles of festivities to forget about driving and instead come up with creative ways to get to the inauguration.

Limited parking

Parking for those who want to drive will be limited although a viable option may be to park at the Metro stations.

Impact on local bus service

Commuters should be prepared for bus detours and backups because of street closures. According to Metro, the heavily used X2, the 30s line, the S1 and S2 bus lines will all be affected by the closures. However, MTA buses will still be available and some 9,000 tickets can be purchased on Inauguration Day for $10.

Closed streets and bridges

While all bridges - including the Key Bridge - from Virginia into D.C. will be closed to everything except bus traffic, major Potomac crossings, including the 14th Street Bridge, reportedly will be reserved for buses and authorized vehicles.

The D.C. Fire Department will be on-call in the event of mass evacuations and closed streets will be established for people to flee if disaster strikes, according to the Secret Service which is overseeing inauguration security.

A 3.5 mile area of downtown D.C. will be closed as of 12 noon on Jan. 19 and on Inauguration Day, and because no personal vehicles coming in from Virginia will be able to access the city, officials are asking commuters to enter D.C. from the north.

Increased airline flights

According to an Associated Press report, Amtrak is expanding service on its northeast travel corridor between Boston and Washington on Inauguration Day. Southwest Airlines is adding 26 flights to and from the D.C. areas between Jan. 17 and Jan. 23. In addition, both Delta and Northwest airlines are adding more than 5,000 seats between Jan. 16 and Jan. 21 by using larger aircraft on existing flights.

For a complete Inauguration Transportation Information for Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia, visit afro.com.