Getting There: The Website

9 01 2009

Everyone’s biggest concern for Jan. 20th seems to be transportation, so to help alleviate some of the stress of making it to the Mall, the DC government has put together a pretty comprehensive site with details on road closures, parking restrictions, drop off points for people with disabilities, etc.  With all the information available online, you have no reason to get lost, have your car towed, or your bus stopped!


Tips for a Smooth Trip

9 01 2009

WMATACourtesy of Prince of Petworth, some of the best advice yet on traveling to the Mall on Jan. 20, specifically for the locals:

“ATU Local 689, the transit union comprising of more than 10,000 Metro bus drivers, rail operators, administrators and technicians, is encouraging DC residents and Metro riders to become travel ambassadors during this historic Inaugural event come January 20th.

ATU Local 689’s Nine Tips for Inaugural Metro Travel

1. Begin your travel day with a smile and a positive attitude! You’re about to witness history!
2. Expect crowds and crowded trains. The District is expected to host between 2-4 million people for the inaugural celebration. Be patient, as there will be delays.
3. Dress warmly, wear comfortable shoes and pack lightly. Even if you decide to take the Metro to inaugural activities, be prepared to walk. Also, the warmer and more comfortable you are, the more helpful and friendly you can be to visitors.
4. A simple and polite “excuse me” always works. Try these friendly phrases – “Excuse me, please stand to the right on the escalator” or “Excuse me, I’m attempting to board the train.”
5. Be as helpful as possible. We are residents and Metro riders that know how things work. Let’s share the knowledge to keep things moving smoothly!
6. Be aware of your surroundings by keeping the ear buds of your music player at a level where you can hear announcements and you won’t disturb your fellow passengers.
7. Buy your Metro cards or load up your SmartTrip before January 20th. You’ll be glad you planned ahead!
8. Local ATU members are at your service to help in any way possible. Feel free to direct tourists to the Metro kiosks for any problems or concerns.
9. There will be an unusually high number of riders so please move quickly into the Metro car when the Metro stops and into the center of the car to allow more people to safely board the train.”

Metro to Close 3 Station Lots for Charter Bus Parking on Inauguration Day

4 01 2009

If you were wondering where the thousands of buses expected to decend upon the DC area were going to park, now we know where at least some of them will go. WMATA is allowing buses to take over the parking lots at three stations in the area: Greenbelt and Morgan Boulevard Stations in Maryland, and Van Dorn Street Station in Virginia. A fourth, at the Minnesota Avenue Station, will be closed for employee parking only.

A mix of automobile and bus parking will be allowed at three other stations: Shady Grove Station in Maryland, and the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU and West Falls Church-VT/UVA Stations in Virginia. So if you’re thinking of driving your car to any of these stations, get their early, or make alternative plans for parking and riding Metro into the city, just in case.

According to Metro’s website, “Charter buses that want to park at one of the six designated Metrorail station lots must register in advance at Registration information will be available on the Web site starting Monday, January 5. Charter buses that arrive at any of the six stations without pre-registering to park or at any other Metrorail station will be prohibited from entering. Charter bus parking will not be available at any other Metrorail station other than the six designated Metrorail parking facilities.”

Metrorail Station Interactive Map

12.29 Inaugural Roundup

29 12 2008

It was a busy day in inauguration land. First off, Jay-Z is coming! Of course, Love Nightclub scored the rapper-mogul-superstar for a party Friday before the election, with tickets from $100 to table reservations for $10,000???? If you can swing it, tix go on sale Monday.

The official inauguration bigwigs, also known as the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, sent out the first of several advisories for folks planning to head to the Mall on January 20–the information is good if you have tickets for seats during the swearing in OR if you’re planning to watch via jumbotron with the masses. It’s mostly common sense stuff, but there are some good points:

  • If you have seats, plan to be in them by 9am. The program starts at 11:30am, and late arrivals will not be admitted. So no CP time on this one, ok?
  • The weather has been really nice in DC for the past few days, but its generally freezing in January. Are you ready to stand, walk, and be shuffled along with millions of other people in potentially bad weather? Think about that. Oh, and no umbrellas…
  • Also, no chairs, no thermoses with coffee/cocoa/Henessey, no signs, no pets (except services animals of course), no backpacks. The list goes on.

obama-wmataToday I had to buy a Metrocard for the first time in months when I misplaced my SmarTrip card, and look what popped out for my $2? Cool, huh? If I was paying attention I would  have known these and the commemorative SmarTrip cards went on sale last week! Get one now–they work on the train or the bus, and you can avoid waiting in line to get a ticket with everyone else.

There are new events added to the Inaugural Events pages. I hope the breakdown by date makes it easy to find what you’re looking for.

MARC Train Tickets to DC Almost Gone

22 12 2008

This morning WAMU, the local NPR station, reported that MARC train tickets to DC fo Jan. 20th are more than half gone. The trains usually aren’t reserved, but because of demand advance tickets went on sale Sat. Dec. 20th. I’m sure a LOT of folks are planning to stay in Baltimore and other surrounding areas and use MARC to get to DC–if you’re one of them, get your tickets as soon as possible!

Catching the Bus to DC? Better Be Sure…

20 12 2008

School bus at the CapitolIts hard to get good estimates of just how many people will be flooding DC for the inauguration–numbers range anywhere from 2.5 to 4 million. Either way its going to be a huge number, and its a safe bet many of them are planning to arrive by bus on Jan. 19th or 20th. Officials are still figuring out where to park estimated 25,000 to 35,000 buses expected, so the city has instituted a special permit process. Word is spreading among the major charter bus companies, so most of them will probably be all good when the time comes. But buses without permits won’t be allowed into the city–plans aren’t definite yet, but there may be checkpoints along the Capitol Beltway, and those without permits may not be allowed beyond them. Which is really going to suck for the schools, church groups, and good folks in general who are gonna pile into a bus and make the drive to DC expecting to hit the Mall.

Keep in mind that its also January and probably going to be really cold–who knows what the weather will do then, but if you don’t want to get stuck in a bus, in traffic, in potentially bad weather, make sure your transportation to DC is solid, or find an inaugural event near your home.