Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States on Friday. The day is a federal holiday for the National Capital Region, as hundreds of thousands of people flood Washington, D.C., to witness this momentous occasion.
If you’re one of those flooding downtown D.C. — or simply trying to get somewhere in the city to watch the proceedings on TV — the crowds, road closures, densely packed Metrorail trains, lack of parking and enhanced security measures promise to make your commute into the city a nightmare. Potentially disruptive protests and rain may make even the most cheerful commuters a bit grumpy.
Fear not, comrades. This article serves as our hub for information about the 2017 Presidential Inauguration. From road detours to walking routes, we’ll do our best to get you to the Mall as fast as possible and get you home faster than you can say, “fake news.”
Walk This Way
First is the obvious: get ready to walk a lot. The map to the right shows vehicle road closures and restricted areas throughout the city. D.C. street parking is already in scant supply on an ordinary day. Expect more street parking to be eliminated by authorities trying to expand the Presidential Inauguration security zone. (Click here to get a readable PDF of this map).
Instead of trying to drive all the way into Washington, try parking in one of the surrounding counties—for instance, Arlington—and walking the rest of the way. From Arlington, it takes the average pedestrian a little over an hour to walk 2-3 miles to the security checkpoints at the Mall. You’ll be thankful during the return trip—while others are stuck at Metrorail stations or bus stops, you’ll be snaking your way through other pedestrians back to your car. You can find more info via Arlington Transportation Partners.
Security will be understandably tight. Authorities have provided a detailed list of items prohibited inside the Inauguration zone. To save you a little heartache, we highlight some innocuous items that visitors cannot take beyond the security checkpoints:
- Backpacks and bags exceeding 8”x6”x4” – This essentially limits you to a small purse or bag into ticketed events or the parade route.
- Thermoses or glass containers – Painful for coffee lover trying to keep warm on a chilly morning.
- Umbrellas – Umbrellas are only listed as prohibited in the ticketed viewing areas at the U.S. Capitol. Bring a rain-proof jacket or poncho if rain or snow threaten to ruin the day.
Blame It on the Rain
Rain is expected throughout Friday, as early as 7 a.m., according to some forecasts. Since umbrellas are verboten inside ticketed areas, ponchos and windbreakers are your best bet to staying dry. But don’t forget a few layers underneath - temperatures won’t get far beyond 50 throughout the day (if at all). If you decide to bring an umbrella, use a small, cheap one you wouldn’t mind having confiscated. Given the unusual threat environment, the authorities have reserved the right to keep things safe for the masses.
Ridin’ on the Metro?
“Are you sure you won’t reconsider?” Metro asks. Actually, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to park in outlying stations (for example, East Falls Church on the Orange Line) and hop on a Metrorail train to get as close as you can before walking. An early morning ride before 8 a.m. is advisable to beat the crowds. However, keep in mind the following issues as you plan your itinerary:
- The Metrorail system will open at 4:00 a.m. and close at midnight. The system will run at rush-hour levels from 4:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. The peak fare will be in effect – so the Presidential Inauguration commemorative card will help save you some money.
- Archives, Federal Triangle, Mt Vernon Square, and Smithsonian stations will be closed.
- Consider exiting the Metrorail network one station before your final destination. The final station before the National Mall often overflows with riders and it’s faster to walk from the station directly before it.
- Metrorail Stations directly adjacent to the events are nearly impossible to enter when the ceremony ends. Try walking to a station slightly farther away to enter the system faster.
Ride the Bus (And We’re Not Talkin’ Jerome Bettis)
Metrobus will operate on Saturday Supplemental service on Inauguration Day. Expect buses to be late, given the much higher expected volume of riders.
Arlington Rapid Transit will operate on holiday service hours for the Inauguration. Check the timetables for each bus line by following this link. ART also has a real time tracking tool at this website so you can know the exact time before the bus reaches your stop.
Enhanced security will prevent visitors from riding their bicycles all the way into the Inauguration Zone. But as always, you can ride your bike a bit closer, park and walk the rest of the way to the Mall.