Friday, January 16, 2009

Final Notes: The Inauguration Bears Down

**Don't worry, worriers. Only about 200 of the city's 1,000 alcohol-serving bars and restaurants have been approved for extended hours during inauguration. Check The 42 Bus post from January 13 to see which bars are taking advantage.

**Metro is changing plans almost daily, responding to the Inaugural Committee and other factors. After initially reserving its parking lots for buses only, they reversed field and are now opening Metro station parking lots to the general public, starting at 3:30am on January 20th. The first trains start to roll at 4:00am that day.

Metro decided to run trains until 2:00am on Tuesday morning to accommodate the visitors attending balls and other late night activities on Monday night. That's a change from the midnight closing proposed before.

On the bus front, thankfully Metro has also added special bus service in DC, reversing a decision to run a Saturday schedule for all routes on January 20th. Some routes will still run on a Saturday schedule, but Metro has dedicated several rapid bus corridors to get people pretty close to the inauguration and parade. 16th Street NW is one of the corridors for us Mount Peasant folks. Those special routes will have rush hour service all day on January 20th until 9:00pm.

Metro is also urging us to walk, if possible and has a new map (PDF) giving walking directions from various stations, including several in Virginia.

**And speaking of our friends from my home state, the Commonwealth, well, they are miffed and upset. Government agencies have decided to close all Potomac River crossings (save Wilson Bridge) to private automobile traffic. The rules are slightly convoluted, but basically only charter buses, Metro buses, taxis, limos and emergency vehicles will be able to cross a bridge to get into DC on January 20th. Otherwise, if you are approaching from the south in your own car, you need to take the beltway west to Bethesda or north to New York Ave (Route 50), then drive into DC.

Pedestrians from VA will be able to use various river crossings. That's the message of the day, transit or walking. If you live in Arlington or Alexandria, I would seriously consider taking the Metro to Arlington National Cemetery and then walking across the Memorial Bridge. The Washington Post provides a nice little map here. For us in DC, we'll be allowed to walk in the I-395 3rd Street tunnel, but who would want to! Scary!

**The Times-Dispatch thinks traffic back-ups will literally extend 110 miles into Richmond, VA.

**Recent weather reports indicate below average temperatures, low-30s, and overcast. No snow as of today's forecast.

**Most of the get rich quick inaugural apartment rentals flopped. As I said before, there is an extremely limited market for your circa 1970s bi-level home in Bowie. No, Annandale isn't "only minutes away" form DC. And that short drive into town you promised from Shirlington isn't looking that great right now either. Look at the bright side; you probably needed those new linen and towel sets anyway.