By Elizabeth Montaquila – January 20, 2013
Get your Metro cards ready.
Authorities say it may be virtually impossible to drive around the District on Inauguration Day and are urging everyone to use public transportation.
Recent estimates show over 800,000 people are expected to be in attendance for President Obama’s 2nd inaugural–that’s less than half of the approximately 2 million who attended in 2009. The District Department of Transportation (D-DOT) says that they are still taking an event of this magnitude very seriously.
“We’ve been coordinating with a bunch of agencies on a local level, on a national level, on the federal level…we’ve been working with the various transportation departments in the area,” said D-DOT spokesperson Monica Herandez. “One of our primary tasks will be to close down streets. We’re going to make sure the area remains restricted to vehicular traffic. We put up the no-parking signage along those streets where parking will not be permitted. We’re also going to have traffic control officers deployed throughout the area.”
Pedestrian safety is a main concern for officials on Inauguration Day. Walkers will have to share the roadway with vehicles in certain locations, so officials are doing everything they can to ensure these areas are properly staffed to control the flow of traffic.
For visitors who want to avoid the headache of driving or walking, there’s also another option.
“We now have what’s called Capital Bike Share program,” Herandez explained. “It’s the nation’s largest bike share program. We’re very proud of it. It will serve as a key resource for those who are coming in to see the event.”
This program allows people to rent bikes for a fee, then return them to various stations throughout the National Mall after their rides.
For those cyclists who want to use their own bikes, Hernandez says there will be a free parking area that can accommodate approximately 700 bikes near I and 16th Streets.
Regardless of the unpredictability that Monday may bring, D-DOT says they have been working hard on preparations and have a plan in place.