WASHINGTON, January 19, 2013 — If you are going to Washington on January 21 to see the President take the oath of office for a second time, you better start planning now just how you are going to get there and once there how to navigate through the vast crowds.
Car: First, don’t drive into D.C. Major streets anywhere near the Capitol, the Mall, Pennsylvania Avenue, or the White House are closed off. If you are not staying at a hotel, then drive to a destination in the Virginia and Maryland suburbs that ring the capital and take the Metro in (see details below). Even if you somehow maneuver yourself close to the epicenter of activities, parking will be nearly impossible. It’s bad enough as it is and it will be a nightmare by the day of the Inaugural.
Water Taxi: Virginians, you could take the Inaugural Water Taxi Service from the Alexandria City Marina in Alexandria, V., which leaves hourly from 7 a.m. till 6 p.m. and returns from Washington at the Gangplant Marina (600 Water Street, SW) on the hour between 8 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Reservations are required and the cost is $39 per person, round trip. The trip is about 45 minutes each way. You will need a photo ID and your confirmation to board.
After you arrive in DC,it is a one-mile walk up 7th Street to the Mall and the Inaugural Parade route. Go to Potomac River Co. for more information and reservations.
Walk: Once you are in D.C., just start walking and walking. The blocks are very long. Just make sure you have your best walking shoes on and you are bundled up. The weather will be far from balmy, with a high of 40 degrees with a light wind blowing and plenty of clouds to keep the sun from warming you. So mittens, caps and hats and layers of clothing will be the fashion statement to make as you trek around the city.
Bike: One way to avoid the crowds on the Metro or dodging through the crowds on foot is to bike in. Whatever you do, do not plan to bike to a Metro station because you cannot take your bike onto any train. But there is parking for bikes at a special bicycle parking lot at 16th and I Streets NW that the District’s Department of Transportation with goDCgo. Several hundred bikes can be parked there securely, but be sure to bring your own lock. The parking lot is on a first come, first served basis. There are also two Capital Bikeshare corrals available at 17th and K Streets NW and 12th Street N W and Independence Avenue at the USDA building.
No bikes will be allowed on the Mall or along the parade route.
Metro: Probably still the best way to get around is underground, since so many of the train lines crisscross DC and reach deep into many Maryland suburbs, so take the Metro, which has already sold thousands of its inaugural Smartrip cards.
Hundreds of thousands of people will be taking the Metro so be prepared to wait for one or two trains before being able to board even at four in the morning.
Also keep in mind that near the Mall and parade route some stations may be designated entrance or exit only stations, so plan for this. Metro says to expect the Smithsonian, Archives and Mt. Vernon Square stations to be closed on Inauguration Day.
The schedule for Metro on Inauguration Day:
* Metrorail will open at 4 a.m. and close at 2 a.m.
* Metrorail will provide 17 consecutive hours of rush-hour service, from 4 a.m. until 9 p.m. Peak fares will be in effect during that time.
* Normal weekday parking rates will apply at Metrorail parking facilities. Parking fees will be charged as you exit the garage and may be paid by SmarTrip® or credit card.
* Metrobuses will operate on a weekday rush-hour service in the morning, followed by an early rush-hour schedule in the afternoon. Many routes will operate on detours due to Inaugural events and streets being closed.
* MetroAccess will operate identical hours to Metrorail and Metrobus. MetroAccess customers are encouraged to plan extra time due to increased traffic throughout the service area.
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