Monday, December 15, 2008

Watch Out for Visiting DC in January - part II

Today's WaPo has one more in a series of articles relating just how unprepared the area is for the millions of folks we're anticipating to show up for the inaugural party in January. I live about a mile from the White House and am not sure I'll even go down to watch any of this. But for those who are still thinking of coming into the city - here's a few things to keep in mind.
  • Bicycles will not be allowed within the still-to-be determined security cordon.
  • Anyone planning to drive in from Virginia might consider a boat: the Roosevelt, Memorial and inbound 14th Street bridges will be restricted to buses and authorized vehicles.
  • Maryland and D.C. officials are considering bus-only corridors.
  • Widespread street closures will severely restrict driving, parking and taxi availability, and delays are likely to be extensive.
  • City officials are working to designate pedestrian-only streets.
  • If 1 million people try to board the subway at the same time after the main festivities end, it could take more than eight hours to move everyone.
And from the "good news" folks at DC Metro:
The most the subway system can carry is about 120,000 people per hour, officials say. And that doesn't factor in the inevitable delays caused by out-of-towners confused about how to use the system. That number also assumes "nobody gets sick, no one jams the door and all the people cooperate," Metro Board Member Peter Benjamin said. "What do you think the odds are for that to happen if we get 4 million people?"

Glitches can be caused by a number of other factors. Metro has just two tracks, like a two-lane highway. When trains are taken out of service, delays can be lengthy. Doors often malfunction because passengers mistakenly think they are like elevator doors and try to hold them open. And if a passenger becomes sick and can't move, emergency personnel must be called and passengers have to get off the train.
So if you absolutely positively have to come to the inauguration - pack your winter gear, and a whole lot of patience.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

No kidding! Obama's first test of office is going to be restoring order in DC during the inauguration!

1:53 PM  

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