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2013 Inauguration Resource Guide

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File photo of the 2009 inauguration. (credit: Getty Images)

File photo of the 2009 inauguration. (credit: Getty Images)

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While President Obama will officially be sworn into office on Sunday Jan. 20, the ceremonial inauguration the following day will bring hundreds of thousands onlookers into Washington.

Officials expect between 600,000 and 800,000 people to attend this year’s event — roughly a third of the crowd in 2009 when Obama first took the oath of office.

Don’t allow yourself to get caught unexpectedly in the the outpouring of traffic expected to clutter the streets of D.C., either from street closings or an overwhelming swarm of foot traffic.

This is your 2013 Presidential Inauguration Guide, where you’ll find every resource you need to reach your destination on time, whether you’re trying to avoid the chaos or read up before joining in on the celebration.

Public Transportation

Metrorail

    • Metrorail will open at 4 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 21 and remain operational until Tuesday, Jan. 22.
    • Rush hour services will be offered from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. with peak fares in effect during that time.
    • Yellow Line trains will operate only between Huntington and Gallery Place, due to an event at the Convention Center.
    • The Smithsonian, Archives and Mt. Vernon Square stations will all be closed on Inauguration Day.
    • The Union Station, Judiciary Square, Capitol South and Federal Center SW stations should only be used by those with Inauguration tickets.
    • Metro recommends you purchase your fare in advance to avoid crowded lines the day of the festivities. Be sure to load enough value onto your farecard or SmarTrip card to make a round trip.
    • Metrorail parking lots will be open and charging normal, weekday rates. Riders are asked to arrive early and be aware that lots will fill up. You will need a SmarTrip or credit card to exit the parking lots.

Metrobus

  • Metrobus routes will run on weekday rush hour service in the morning hours, followed by an early rush hour in the afternoon.
  • Metrobus will be impacted by detours attributed to the inaugural events scheduled throughout the day.
  • Several dozen Metrobus routes will be shortened due to road closures near the National Mall. Customers should check the following Metro Inauguration Day map for special ‘turn back’ locations in Downtown D.C.

VRE

  • Virginia Railway Express will not be offering service on Inauguration Day.

MARC Train

  • MTA is offering special MARC Train services for events surrounding the Inauguration with limited service during the morning and afternoon on the Penn and Brunswick lines only.
  • All MARC service will operate as reserved trains.
  • Riders must purchase special commemorative tickets for $25 in advance. Tickets are limited and being sold on a first-come, first-served basis. You can purchase MARC tickets here.

Biking

  • A special bike parking area will be set up at 16th and I Streets, NW, with racks to hold hundreds of bikes. This is for personal bikes only. For Capital Bikeshare parking, see below.
  • Availability is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Capital Bikeshare

  • Capital Bikeshare will have bike corrals set up at Farragut Square at 17th and K Streets NW, and at the USDA building at 12th St. and Independence Avenue SW, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Customers will be guaranteed a place to drop off Bikeshare bikes but a bike is not guaranteed for everyone for return trips.
  • Normal Capital Bikeshare stations that fall along the parade route will be removed between the Wednesday and Friday prior to the Inauguration, and will remain out of service for about a week after.

DC Circulator

  • The DC Circulator is currently evaluating routes and determining if and when detours will occur.

Walking

  • Everyone attending the various festivities throughout the weekend should be prepared to walk in cold weather by wearing comfortable shoes, layered clothing and bringing plenty of water.

Road Closures

The following routes into the District will be partially or fully closed:

  • 14th Street Bridge (traffic heading to 14th Street will be diverted onto the Southeast-Southwest Freeway beginning at 5:30 a.m.)
  • Roosevelt Bridge (traffic will be diverted onto the northbound Potomac River Expressway to Pennsylvania Avenue or the Whitehurst Freeway/K Street)
  • Memorial Bridge (pedestrians/authorized vehicles only)
  • 3rd Street Tunnel (closed to all vehicular and pedestrian traffic)

The following arteries will be open:

  • Key Bridge
  • Chain Bridge
  • South Capitol Street Bridge
  • Southeast-Southwest Freeway
  • Rock Creek Parkway (a holiday traffic schedule will be in effect)
  • Clara Barton Parkway (a holiday traffic schedule will be in effect, which means two-way traffic all day)
  • 11th Street Bridges
  • Sousa Bridge (open to all traffic east of the river to the security checkpoint at Capitol Hill)
  • East Capitol Street (open to all traffic)
  • Benning Road
  • New York Avenue
  • Woodrow Wilson Bridge

The following streets in the District will be closed from 3 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21:

  • Pennsylvania Avenue NW from 18th Street NW to the U.S. Capitol
  • I Street NW from 18th to 12th streets NW
  • H Street NW from 18th to 12th streets NW
  • G Street NW from 18th to 12th streets NW
  • F Street NW from 18th to 12th streets NW
  • E Street NW from 18th to 6th streets NW
  • D Street NW from 18th to 6th streets NW
  • C Street from 18th Street NW to 2nd Street NE
  • Constitution Avenue from 17th Street NW to Second Street NE
  • Madison Drive NW from 15th to 3rd streets NW
  • Jefferson Drive SW from 15th to 3rd streets SW
  • Independence Avenue from 14th Street SW to 2nd Street NE
  • Maryland Avenue SW from 6th Street SW to the U.S. Capitol
  • 17th Street from I Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • Connecticut Avenue NW from I Street NW to H Street NW
  • 16th Street NW from I Street NW to H Street NW
  • Vermont Avenue NW from I Street NW to H Street NW
  • 15th Street from I Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • 14th Street from I Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • New York Avenue NW from 18th Street NW to 12th Street NW
  • 13th Street NW from I Street NW to Pennsylvania Avenue NW
  • 12th Street from F Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • 11th Street NW from F Street NW to Pennsylvania Avenue NW
  • 10th Street NW from F Street NW to Constitution Avenue NW
  • 9th Street from F Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • 8th Street NW from F Street NW to D Street NW
  • 7th Street from F Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • 6th Street from F Street NW to Maryland Avenue SW
  • 5th Street from D Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • 4th Street from D Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • 3rd Street from D Street NW to Independence Avenue SW

The following streets around Capitol Hill will close at 3 a.m.a Monday, Jan. 21 and should reopen once the parade ends about 5 p.m.:

  • Louisiana Avenue NE between Columbus Circle and Constitution Avenue NW
  • Delaware Avenue NE between Columbus Circle and D Street NE
  • 1st Street between Columbus Circle and D Street SE
  • North Capitol Street between E Street NW and Louisiana Avenue NE
  • New Jersey Avenue NW between D Street NW and Constitution Avenue NW
  • D Street between New Jersey Avenue NW and 2nd Street NE
  • 1st Street between D Street NW and Washington Avenue SW
  • C Street NW between 2nd Street NW and New Jersey Avenue NW
  • 2nd Street NW between C Street NW and Constitution Avenue NW
  • 2nd Street NE between Massachusetts Avenue NE and C Street SE
  • C Street SE between 2nd Street SE and 1st Street SW
  • D Street between 1st Street SE and Washington Avenue SW
  • Washington Avenue SW between South Capitol Street and Independence Avenue SW
  • Independence Avenue between 2nd Street SE and 3rd Street SW
  • 3rd Street between E Street SW and D Street NW
  • Constitution Avenue between 2nd Street NE and 3rd Street NW
  • Maryland Avenue NE between 1st Street NE and 2nd Street NE
  • East Capitol Street between 1st Street NE and 2nd Street NE
  • 2nd Street SW between Washington Avenue SW and E Street SW
  • C Street SW between 3rd Street SW and Washington Avenue SW
  • D Street SW between 3rd Street SW and 2nd Street SW
  • South Capitol Street between E Street SW and D Street SW
  • I-295 South on-ramp from Washington Avenue SW
  • I-395 North off-ramp onto Washington Avenue SW
  • I-395 North off-ramp onto C Street NW
  • I-395 South on-ramp from 2nd Street SW
  • I-395 South off-ramp onto 2nd Street SW
  • I-395 North on-ramp from Washington Avenue SW
  • I-295 North off-ramp onto Washington Avenue SW

The following roads may be closed to parking from 7 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 20 through 7 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22. Vehicular traffic on these roads will also be limited from 3 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21.

  • South of K Street NW from Washington Circle to 11th Street NW
  • Washington Circle from K Street NW to 23rd Street NW
  • Pennsylvania Avenue NW from Washington Circle to the U.S. Capitol
  • I Street NW from 23rd Street NW to 11th Street NW
  • H Street NW from 23rd Street NW to 3rd Street NW
  • G Street NW from 23rd Street NW to 3rd Street NW
  • F Street NW from 23rd Street NW to 3rd Street NW
  • E Street NW from 23rd Street NW to 3rd Street NW
  • Virginia Avenue from 23rd Street NW to 2nd Street SW
  • D Street NW from 23rd Street NW to 1st Street NW
  • C Street NW from 23rd Street NW to 3rd Street NW
  • Constitution Avenue from 23rd Street NW to 2nd Street NE
  • Madison Drive NW from 15th Street NW to 3rd Street NW
  • Jefferson Drive SW from 15th Street SW to 3rd Street SW
  • Independence Avenue from 23rd Street SW to 2nd Street SE
  • C Street SW from 7th Street SW to 2nd Street SW
  • D Street SW from 7th Street SW to 2nd Street SW
  • E Street SW from 7th Street SW to 2nd Street SW
  • Maryland Avenue SW from 7th Street SW to the U.S. Capitol
  • 23rd Street from Washington Circle NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • 22nd Street NW from K Street NW to Constitution Avenue NW
  • 21st Street NW from K Street NW to Constitution Avenue NW
  • 20th Street NW from K Street NW to Constitution Avenue NW
  • 19th Street NW from K Street NW to Constitution Avenue NW
  • 18th Street NW from K Street NW to Constitution Avenue NW
  • 17th Street from K Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • Connecticut Avenue NW from K Street NW to H Street NW
  • 16th Street NW from K Street NW to H Street NW
  • Vermont Avenue NW from K Street NW to H Street NW
  • 15th Street from K Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • 14th Street from K Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • New York Avenue NW from 18th Street NW to 11th Street NW
  • 13th Street NW from K Street NW to Pennsylvania Avenue NW
  • 12th Street from K Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • 11th Street NW from K Street NW to Pennsylvania Avenue NW
  • 10th Street NW from H Street NW to Constitution Avenue NW
  • 9th Street from H Street NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • 8th Street NW from H Street NW to D Street NW
  • 7th Street from H Street NW to E Street SW
  • 6th Street from H Street NW to E Street SW
  • 5th Street from H Street NW to D Street NW
  • 4th Street from H Street NW to E Street SW
  • 3rd Street from Massachusetts Avenue NW to E Street SW
  • Henry Bacon Drive NW from the Lincoln Memorial to Constitution Avenue NW
  • Daniel French Drive SW from the Lincoln Memorial to Independence Avenue SW

In Virginia, the I-395 northbound HOV lanes will close at 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 21. The lanes will reopen to southbound traffic at the end of the inaugural address. The main lanes on I-395 and I-66 will remain open.

There are no anticipated road closures or restrictions in Maryland.

Inaugural Apps

The Presidential Inaugural Committee has released official apps for smartphones.

In addition, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies also has an app available from its website.

Inauguration Day Events

Morning Worship Service

The morning worship service is a tradition established in 1933 by then President-elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt, when he and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt attended a service at St. John’s Episcopal Church next to the White House before he was sworn-in.

It was very much cemented as Inauguration Day ritual when he repeated this tradition prior to each of his three subsequent Inaugurations (aside from his Inauguration in 1945, when he arranged for a private service at the White House).

While FDR is attributed with attending morning worship as a matter of Inaugural routine for his successors, George Washington was the first president to attend a church service, when he did so at St. Paul’s Chapel in New York City following his swearing-in ceremony. Washington is also credited with being the first president to place his hand on a Bible while taking the oath of office; something all presidents have done since.

For their second Inauguration, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden plan to attend an invitation-only interfaith service the morning after Inauguration Day.

Procession to the Capitol

The procession to the Capitol traditionally takes place after the morning worship service, when the President-elect and Vice President-elect, along with their wives, ride to the White House for a brief meeting, then proceed together to the Capitol for the swearing-in ceremonies.

Originally ridden in a horse-drawn carriage, Edith Wilson was the first First Lady to accompany her husband for the ceremonial ride. Warren Harding became the first president to ride to his Inauguration in an automobile.

Vice President’s Swearing-In Ceremony

The vice president takes the oath of office on the Inaugural platform just before the president on Inauguration Day. The vice president’s swearing-in ceremony originally took place in the Senate chamber to give it a distinction from the president’s ceremony, but was moved to the Inaugural platform on the Capitol’s east front when the 20th amendment moved Inauguration Day to Jan. 20 in 1937.

In 1981, the Inaugural ceremonies moved to the west front terrace of the Capitol, where they have been held ever since. Inauguration Day is being held on Jan. 21 this year because the 20th falls on a Sunday.

President’s Swearing-In Ceremony

Thomas Jefferson became the first president to be inaugurated in the Washington, D.C. in 1801. Although the streets of the city – which was still being built – were muddy and hard to walk through, Jefferson managed to walk from his room at a nearby boarding house to the Capitol Building with little fanfare.

Here is the official oath of office the president must recite at his/her inauguration as established by the United States Constitution:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Inaugural Address

The Inaugural Address began with George Washington in 1789, when he read a speech before members of Congress following the swearing-in ceremony in New York City.

While past presidents have read their addresses before taking the oath of office, it has become customary in more recent years for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to administer the oath first, followed by the Presidential address.

In 1925, Calvin Coolidge became the first president to have his Inaugural address nationally broadcast on radio. In 1949, Harry Truman became the first to have a nationally televised Inaugural address.

Departure of the Outgoing President

While the departure of the outgoing president won’t be a part of this Inauguration Day’s experience, it has grown increasingly more ceremonious; despite originally intended to be unceremonious.

Since Gerald Ford’s departure in 1977, the former president and First Lady have left the Capitol grounds by helicopter. The new president and vice president then return to the Capitol for the Inaugural luncheon.

Inaugural Luncheon

Following the oath of office and Inaugural address, the president is escorted to Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol for the traditional luncheon, hosted by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

Inaugural Parade

The president and vice president make their way down Pennsylvania Ave. to the White House immediately following the Inaugural Ceremonies and the luncheon, by leading a procession of ceremonial military regiments, citizens’ groups, marching bands and floats.

It is then customary for the president, vice president, their spouses and special guests to the watch over the parade as it passes in front of the Presidential Reviewing Stand.

This tradition dates back to the first Inauguration when George Washington took the office of office in 1789. As he began his trip from Mount Vernon to New York City – the home of the Inauguration at the time – local militia groups joined his procession as it passed through their towns.

Inaugural Ball

The tradition of the Inaugural ball dates back to 1809, when James Madison’s First Lady, Dolley Madison, hosted a gala at Long’s Hotel, selling four hundred tickets at the cost of $4 each.

The balls quickly increased in size and number, but by James Buchanan’s Inauguration in 1857, the idea of multiple balls yielded way for one grand ball to accommodate thousands of guests. Food purchased for Buchanan’s ball included $3000 worth of wine, 400 gallons of oysters, 500 quarts of chicken salad, 1200 quarts of ice cream, 60 saddles of mutton, 8 rounds of beef, 75 hams and 125 tongues.

The second Inaugural of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will feature two official Inaugural balls on Monday, Jan. 21.

The first – the Commander-In-Chief’s Ball – is for members of the U.S. military. The second – the Inaugural Ball – invites Americans from across the country to share in the celebration that will span every hall of the D.C. Convention Center.

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