[NATL] The Inauguration of President Barack Obama

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Parade and Ceremonial Swearing-in Held January 21, 2013

Locals' Guide: Your Inauguration Questions Answered

What locals and smart visitors need to know about the inauguration

By NBCWashington.com Staff
|  Monday, Jan 21, 2013  |  Updated 5:24 AM EDT
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One of the biggest challenges of Inauguration Day will be getting around. News4 transportation reporter Adam Tuss reports.

Adam Tuss

One of the biggest challenges of Inauguration Day will be getting around. News4 transportation reporter Adam Tuss reports.

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We know the fifty-seventh inauguration of the President of the United States has our fair city on the world stage, with all the pomp that the occasion demands.

Those of us who live here also know that it's a logistical, well, challenge.

President Obama's first swearing-in ceremony drew 1.8 million people to the nation's capital. This one is expected to be smaller, but the crowd is still expected to be as much as 700,000.

Many streets are closed, and Metro will be packed. Streets are even more tourist-clogged than usual. So to help you navigate, we've compiled this Locals Guide.

Have a question you want us to answer? Comment below or tweet us at @nbcwashington.

JUMP TO: Tickets, Schedule, Volunteering, Roads (general info), Metro schedule, Closed Metro stops, Amtrak, Biking, Water and airways, Prohibited items.

Or jump to our list of road closures.


Do we need tickets?

You don't need tickets to view the parade or the swearing-in ceremonies from the National Mall. The non-ticketed area of the National Mall begins at Fourth Street NW.

If you want to see the ceremony from close to the Capitol, you do need tickets, and if you didn't know that before now, you're too late. Tickets, which were free, were issued by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies and distributed by members of Congress to their constituents weeks ago.

Don't go looking online for them now: Most resale sites have agreed not to post listings for tickets. Be aware that legitimate tickets are not available that way.


When should I arrive for the parade or swearing-in?

Security checkpoints will open for the swearing-in ceremony at 8 a.m. Ticketed guests should be in place no later than 9 a.m.

Parade route entry points - which are at specific locations - will open at 6:30 a.m. and will remain open until the parade route can no longer accommodate additional people.
 

Which roads will be closed?

Lots of them. A security perimeter was established around the U.S. Capitol and the parade route, and Metro stations, bus stops, and streets within that perimeter are closed.

Starting at 7 a.m. on Sunday "vehicle restricted zones" went into effect and will last through 7 a.m. on Tuesday.

For a map of road closures, click here. Or click here to see our list of road closures.

For a walking map of the area, click here.


What's the Metro schedule?

On Monday, Jan. 21, Metrorail opened at 4 a.m. in rush-hour service. The trains will stay on a rush hour schedule for 17 hours, through 9 p.m. And that means peak fares, too - and, despite the Martin Luther King Jr. day holiday, weekday parking rates.

The rail system will stay open through 2 a.m.

Metrobus will operate weekday rush hour service in the morning, followed by an early rush hour in the afternoon. But keep in mind that many buses will be detoured.

MetroAccess will operate identical hours to Metrorail and Metrobus.

Metro strongly suggests you buy your tickets early or have all the value you need loaded on your SmarTrip card before you go to the events. Demand has been strong: The system's special inaugural SmarTrip cards, which came pre-loaded with fares and featured a portrait of the president, sold out by noon on Sunday.


Which Metro stop should I use?

The closest stops are Capitol South, Eastern Market, Union Station, NoMa-Gallaudet
U (New York Ave.), Judiciary Square, Gallery Place-Chinatown, Federal Center SW or L’Enfant
Plaza. However, those will also be the busiest stops that day, so you might want to get creative. You can plan your trip with Metro's inaugural planning tool.

Remember, the Smithsonian, Archives and Mt. Vernon Square Metro stations will be closed on Inauguration Day.


What about Amtrak?

Amtrak added about 50 percent of its normal weekday capacity in the Northeast Corridor to get travelers to the inauguration. Given Union Station's proximity to the parade route, the train is a good way for visitors to get to town for the events.

But Amtrak, too, is increasing security. Most of Union Station will be closed to the general public; the food court and most retail shops at Union Station will not be open. Access to the station will be restricted to certain points of entry. No lockers will be accessible.

Passengers getting on and off trains will see heightened security, including patrols by K-9 officers.

Amtrak strongly suggest passengers buy round-trip tickets, so that return seats are reserved.

And you might want to plan ahead for bio-breaks: Amtrak warns that restrooms will be crowded. They've brought in porta-potties for the rush.


Can I ride my bike to the ceremonies?

Some people say this is the way to go - if you have the stamina. You can't take a bike inside the security perimeter, but several agencies have provided bike parking near the parade route and swearing-in.

The District's Department of Transportation and goDCgo will provide a large bike parking area at 16th and I streets, and Capital Bikeshare will have two bike corrals for Bikeshare bikes open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.: One at Farragut Square at 17th and K Streets and one at the USDA building at 12th Street and Independence Avenue, SW.

Manassas Park Patch has a great guide for biking to the events.
 

What about other security precautions?

Airspace over D.C. will be restricted on Jan. 21, and so will some waterways. Meanwhile, all police and national security agencies in the area will be activated; you will see increased security throughout the district.


What should I bring - or not bring - to the parade or the swearing-in?

Bring your cell phone (event planners have added extra cell service to try to accomodate the crowds) and bring ID, but other than that, try to travel light.

The following items will be prohibited from the Inaugural parade route, the White House reviewing stand and the Inaugural balls:

  • Aerosols
  • Ammunition
  • Animals other than helper/guide dogs
  • Backpacks
  • Bags and signs larger than 8" by 6" by 4"
  • Bicycles
  • Balloons
  • Coolers
  • Explosives
  • Firearms
  • Other weapons
  • Glass or thermal containers
  • Laser pointers
  • Mace / pepper spray
  • Packages
  • Supports for signs and placards
  • Any other items determined to be potential safety hazards

Along the parade route, signs and placards must be made only of cardboard, poster board or cloth and have dimensions no greater than three feet in width, 20 feet in length and one-quarter inch in thickness.

When they say don't bring it, they mean it. Surrendered items will not be returned.

Security is even tighter at the Capitol. Prohibited items there are:

  • Firearms and ammunition (either real or simulated)
  • Explosives of any kind (including fireworks)
  • Knives, blades, or sharp objects (of any length)
  • Mace and/or pepper spray
  • Sticks or poles
  • Pockets or hand tools, such as “Leatherman”
  • Packages
  • Backpacks
  • Large bags
  • Duffel bags
  • Suitcases
  • Thermoses
  • Coolers
  • Strollers - Allowed on the Mall with a child in it, not allowed on the Capitol Grounds or the Parade Route
  • Umbrellas
  • Tripods and camera bags
  • Laser pointers
  • Signs
  • Posters
  • Animals (other than service animals)
  • Alcoholic beverages

And "other items as determined by and at the discretion of the security screener."


List of road closures:

Access into Washington, D.C., will be limited on Monday, January 21, 2013. According to Presidential Inaugural Law Enforcement and Public Safety Public Affairs Subcommittee, here's the status of roads into the city:

  • 14th Street Bridge to 14th Street – All traffic will be diverted by Metropolitan Police onto the Southeast/Southwest freeway beginning at 5:30 a.m.
  • Roosevelt Bridge – Traffic coming across the Roosevelt Bridge will be diverted into northbound Potomac River Expressway to Pennsylvania Avenue or Whitehurst Freeway/K Street.
  • Memorial Bridge – Restricted to pedestrians and authorized vehicles only
  • South Capitol Street Bridge – Open to all traffic
  • Southeast/Southwest Freeway – Open to all traffic
  • Rock Creek Parkway – Open to traffic (holiday traffic schedule in effect throughout the park)
  • Clara Barton Parkway operating under holiday schedule (two-way traffic all day)
  • 11th Street Bridges – Open to all traffic
  • Sousa Bridge – Open to all traffic from east of the river to security checkpoint at Capitol Hill
  • East Capitol Street – Open to all traffic. Roadways near RFK Stadium are primary routes for charter tour bus operators.
  • Benning Road – Open to all traffic
  • New York Avenue – Open to all traffic
  • 3rd Street Tunnel – Closed to all vehicular traffic and pedestrian traffic

Several major highways in Virginia also will be affected. Here is the status of some major routes:

  • I-395 HOV northbound lanes will close at 9 a.m. on January 21. HOV lanes on I-395 will re-open southbound upon the conclusion of the Inaugural address.
  • I-395 main lanes and I-66 will be open to all traffic.
  • Memorial Bridge will be open to pedestrian traffic and authorized vehicle traffic only.
  • Key Bridge, Chain Bridge, Woodrow Wilson Bridge and the American Legion Bridge will be open to all traffic.
  • North Washington Street at Montgomery Street (City of Alexandria City) to Reagan National Airport will be open.

No major roads in Maryland will be closed, but state officials warned motorists to expect very heavy traffic.

In the District, the following roads will be closed from 3 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 21 and off limits to vehicles without a law enforcement escort:

  • Pennsylvania Avenue NW from 18th Street NW to the U.S. Capitol
  • I Street NW from 18th Street NW to 12th Street NW
  • H Street NW from 18th Street NW to 12th Street NW
  • G Street NW from 18th Street NW to 12th Street NW
  • F Street NW from 18th Street NW to 12th Street NW
  • E Street NW from 18th Street NW to 6th Street NW
  • D Street NW from 18th Street NW to 6th Street NW
  • C Street from 18th Street NW to 2nd Street NE
  • Constitution Avenue from 17th Street NW to 2nd Street NE
  • Madison Drive NW from 15th Street NW to 3rd Street NW
  • Jefferson Drive SW from 15th Street SW to 3rd Street SW
  • Independence Avenue from 14th Street SW to 2nd Street NE
  • Maryland Avenue SW from 6th Street SW to the U S Capitol
  • 17th Street from I Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • Connecticut Avenue NW from I Street NW to H Street NW
  • 16th Street NW from I Street NW to H Street NW
  • Vermont Avenue NW from I Street NW to H Street NW
  • 15th Street from I Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • 14th Street from I Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • New York Avenue NW from 18th Street NW to 12th Street NW
  • 13th Street NW from I Street NW to Pennsylvania Avenue NW
  • 12th Street from F Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • 11th Street NW from F Street NW to Pennsylvania Avenue NW
  • 10th Street NW from F Street NW to Constitution Avenue NW
  • 9th Street from F Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • 8th Street NW from F Street NW to D Street NW
  • 7th Street from F Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • 6th Street from F Street NW to Maryland Avenue SW
  • 5th Street from D Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • 4th Street from D Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • 3rd Street from D Street NW to Independence Avenue SW

In addition, these roads on Capitol Hill will be closed from 3 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday:

  • Louisiana Avenue NE between Columbus Circle and Constitution Avenue NW
  • Delaware Avenue NE between Columbus Circle and D Street NE
  • 1st Street between Columbus Circle and D Street SE
  • North Capitol Street between E Street NW and Louisiana Avenue NE
  • New Jersey Avenue NW between D Street NW and Constitution Avenue NW
  • D Street between New Jersey Avenue NW and 2nd Street NE
  • 1st Street between D Street NW and Washington Avenue SW
  • C Street NW between 2nd Street NW and New Jersey Avenue NW
  • 2nd Street NW between C Street NW and Constitution Avenue NW
  • 2nd Street NE between Massachusetts Avenue NE and C Street SE
  • C Street SE between 2nd Street SE and 1st Street SW
  • D Street between 1st Street SE and Washington Avenue SW
  • Washington Avenue SW between South Capitol Street and Independence Avenue SW
  • Independence Avenue between 2nd Street SE and 3rd Street SW
  • 3rd Street between E Street SW and D Street NW
  • Constitution Avenue between 2nd Street NE and 3rd Street NW
  • Maryland Avenue NE between 1st Street NE and 2nd Street NE
  • East Capitol Street between 1st Street NE and 2nd Street NE
  • 2nd Street SW between Washington Avenue SW and E Street SW
  • C Street SW between 3rd Street SW and Washington Avenue SW
  • D Street SW between 3rd Street SW and 2nd Street SW
  • South Capitol Street between E Street SW and D Street SW
  • I-295 South on-ramp from Washington Avenue SW
  • I-395 North off-ramp onto Washington Avenue SW
  • I-395 North off-ramp onto C Street NW
  • I-395 South on-ramp from 2nd Street SW
  • I-395 South off-ramp onto 2nd Street SW
  • I-395 North on-ramp from Washington Avenue SW
  • I-295 North off-ramp onto Washington Avenue SW

U.S. Park police said the George Washington Memorial Parkway will be open in both directions. Traffic will be allowed to exit Washington Reagan National Airport onto the northbound or southbound George Washington Memorial Parkway.

 

Inauguration 2013

Click here for complete coverage of Inauguration weekend, Capitol Buildingincluding our
Locals Guide with the latest roads, transportation, and event information.
And send us your pictures from the weekend!

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