Tips to Tackle the 2009 Inauguration | NBC New York

Tips to Tackle the 2009 Inauguration



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    Don't let this be your only view on Inauguration Day.

    The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies has offered the following tips to help people who plan to attend the swearing-in ceremony for President-elect Barack Obama.


    While the actual swearing-in will take place shortly before noon, the formal
    program begins at 11:30 AM and the musical prelude and seating will begin
    much earlier. Security checkpoints will open for ticketed guests at 8:00 AM,
    and the committee advises arriving no later than 9:00 AM to ensure that you
    are through the checkpoints by the time the program begins. Screening will
    end when the program begins at 11:30 AM and late arrivals will not be able
    to enter the grounds.

    Getting to the Swearing-In

    Getting to the swearing-in ceremonies that morning will be very difficult
    because of the large crowds. In addition to the 240,000 ticketed guests, a
    million or more people are expected to view the inauguration from the
    National Mall between 4th Street and the Lincoln Memorial, along with
    hundreds of thousands of others who plan on watching the Inaugural parade
    down Pennsylvania Avenue.

    We recommend planning ahead, but also caution that any plans made in advance
    should be double-checked in the days and hours prior to the event in case of
    changes to transportation schedules, street and other closures, and other
    factors that may impact your travel plans. We also recommend developing
    back-up plans in case your original travel plans need to be changed at the
    last minute.

    The District of Columbia's inaugural Web site will have the most up-to-date
    information on road closures and other travel alerts. We recommend that
    guests bookmark the site,, and
    check it frequently for changing information.

    A security perimeter will be established around the U.S. Capitol and the
    parade route on or before January 20, 2009. Subway stations, bus stops, and
    streets within that perimeter will be closed. Street closures throughout
    Washington, D.C., will make traveling by car or taxi very difficult. Bridges
    from Virginia crossing the Potomac River into Washington, D.C., as well as
    major roadways from Maryland into Washington, D.C., may be closed to all but
    bus traffic.

    Following are recommendations on how to get to the swearing-in ceremony:

    Within 2 Miles of the U.S. Capitol

    For those people who will be staying within 2 Miles of the U.S. Capitol,
    walking to the swearing-in ceremony will be the most reliable method of
    reaching the ticketed seated and standing areas. Be sure to carefully plan
    your return trip as well - it won't be possible to cross the Pennsylvania
    Avenue parade route, except at designated points and Metro will be extremely
    crowded. For some people bicycling may be an option to get close to the U.S.
    Capitol. While bicycles will be prohibited within the security perimeter on
    January 20, 2009, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) is
    working on a plan with city officials to have bike valet stations available
    outside the security perimeter near the swearing-in ceremonies and parade
    route. More information is available at:

    Beyond 2 Miles of the U.S. Capitol

    Use public transportation to get you as close as possible to the U.S.
    Capitol and walk from there.

    D.C.'s subway system will be running "rush-hour" service all day, but is
    expecting "crush-level" crowds. Be prepared to wait for space on a train for
    long periods of time, during which you will have to stand in close proximity
    to several thousand people. Many Metro escalators will be closed due to
    crowding and individuals will need to climb Metro stairs or wait to utilize
    the small number of elevators at Metro stations.

    The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) plans to run
    Metrobuses on Inauguration Day. Check its website,, for
    information regarding routes and schedules. As with any other travel
    planning for January 20, please allow extra time and prepare a back-up plan.

    AMTRAK,, and regional commuter trains, Virginia Railway
    Express (VRE),, and MARC (Maryland) Commuter Train,, will be operating reserved trains on
    special schedules and are expected to sell out well in advance of January
    20. Please visit their websites for more information.

    Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities

    There will be no vehicular access or parking in the areas around the
    Capitol on January 20, 2009. This includes vehicles with special disability
    license plates or tags. While there will be locations outside the perimeter
    of the Capitol that will be designated as drop-off points for persons with
    disabilities, traffic conditions and restrictions may make reaching these
    drop-off locations extremely difficult.

    As noted above, public transportation is expected to be running at "crush
    capacity" and WMATA has informed us that while Metro Access will operate for
    its regular customers, they do not expect to be able to provide pick-ups for
    people after events.

    There will be designated areas for people with disabilities in each of the
    ticketed seating areas on the Capitol grounds, however these areas are
    limited in size and available on a first-come first-served basis. Persons
    in wheelchairs or utilizing walkers should be aware that they will need to
    move across bumpy surfaces, grassy areas, and possible icy areas (depending
    on the weather).

    Other Important Considerations

    The weather in Washington in January is usually quite cold and often rainy
    or snowy. Please think carefully about whether you can stand outside in cold
    weather in a large crowd for up to six hours, and whether you are ready for
    long delays getting home afterwards.

    Regardless of the weather conditions, umbrellas will not be permitted in the
    ticketed areas. Other prohibited items include, but are not limited to:
    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, Laser pointers, Signs, Posters, Animals
    (other than service animals), Alcoholic beverages, Other items that may pose
    a threat to the security of the event as determined by and at the discretion
    of the security screeners

    Bring with you any medications that you need because there will be very long
    delays in getting to and from events.

    Be aware that it may be difficult to talk or send pictures from your cell
    phone, according to wireless companies. Please use text messaging to send
    critical messages.