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Inauguration Security and Metro Issues

Ra | 1/15/2009, 9:12 a.m.

As D.C. residents brace themselves to deal with an unprecedented number of visitors for President-elect Barack Obama's Inauguration, local security and transportation officials are warning residents and visitors to be informed about the number of street and bridge closures and other security measures designed to keep Obama and well wishers safe.
The sheer scope of this year's Inauguration is likely to t have an effect on attendees in a way that is greater than any Inauguration in history. However, those who plan to attend the Inaugural parade and other Inauguration events need to be prepared to deal with security measures.

The United States Secret Service cautions all parade and Inauguration attendees to be prepared for thorough security screening by having a valid photo ID and all appropriate documents, such as tickets, according to a press release issued by the USSS. The agency also suggested that attendees allow for additional time in travel plans to accommodate security screenings.

Event participants will also be restricted from carrying items including firearms, ammunition, explosives, aerosols, supports for signs and placards, packages, coolers, thermal or glass containers, backpacks, bags exceeding size restrictions (8" x 6" x 4"), laser pointers, animals other than helper/guide dogs, structures, bicycles and any other items determined to be a potential safety hazard, according to the USSS press release.

Metro area residents who are not able to avoid traveling on Inauguration Day need to be particularly vigilant when traveling, as several street closings and unusual Metro activity will make routine excursions more challenging.

According to Metro€s official Inauguration Day plan on its Web site, Metrorail will operate on a rush hour service from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. and have extended hours until 2 a.m. on Jan. 20. For security reasons the Smithsonian and Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter metro stations will be closed on Inauguration Day, but are scheduled to re-open after the parade at 6:30 p.m., according to Metro€s Web site.

The Judiciary Square and Mt. Vernon Square/7th St. Convention Center metro stations are also scheduled to close due to the fact that Inaugural balls are scheduled to take place in the surrounding areas of these stations. Both Judiciary Square and Mt. Vernon/7th St. Convention Center metro stations are scheduled to re-open on Wed., Jan. 21.

Due to the high volume of riders anticipated for Inauguration Day, Metro is warning patrons of potential long lines for Metro fare card purchase as well as significant waits on the platform for trains. Metrobus will be on a modified Saturday schedule, which coupled with the numerous street and bridge closures, will also likely signify significant delays for bus riders, according to Metro.

No personal vehicles will be permitted into D.C. from Virginia via I 395 or I-66 with both being diverted onto I-495. The Memorial Bridge will be open only to pedestrian traffic and Key bridge is restricted to mass transit only, according to the USSS press release.

For more information on road closures and other D.C. transportation issues readers can visit www.gettingthere.dc.gov. For more information on safety information surrounding the Inauguration visit www.secretservice.gov.