"We have seasoned staff that's been through inaugurations before, so they know how to prepare themselves for traffic jams and difficulties getting in," he said. "They just add an hour or so for travel."An hour?! Heh, right. More like four or five, at least according to folks I've gotten to know who've lived here in the D.C. Metro area a lot longer than me.
--Joe Cardone, resident manager of Washington's historic Mayflower Hotel in a Fox News article about how the increased security and crowd expectations of two million for the inauguration will make transportation in and out of D.C. difficult
Initially, I was excited about the chance to attend an inauguration. We've never been to one and this one is notably historic. Anyway, I had it all planned out. I wasn't even going to try to get close to the Capitol (why cram up there where you wouldn't be able to see anything anyway when you can actually watch the event on the huge screens that'll be dotted along the Mall?). We were going to go to the Lincoln Memorial, one of my favorite spots on the Mall--and it's the first time they've opened the Mall that far down for an inauguration (it's usually reserved for the parade preps). We'd all wear our snow suits and be toasty warm (the temps run in the 30s and 40s in January).
I just couldn't understand why folks who've lived around here awhile looked at me cross-eyed when I talked about going--even those who'd voted or campaigned for President-Elect Obama.
Then I started to hear the stories. How it took two hours to get through security to get onto the Mall for President Bush's inauguration four years ago (and attendance for that event was about half a million)--or how folks waited hours for buses to the Metro. Or how it took one couple over four hours to get home from a baseball game in downtown D.C. on the Metro (a trip that usually took an hour or so)--and that was only 90 thousand folks at one event. And then the security measures started to come out. No backpacks or umbrellas (that ruled out taking the kids). Bridges and roads shut down, leaving public transport the only way in or out for two million people (unless you have a hotel reservation or are renting a room in someone's apartment for thousands of dollars).
So, we're all staying home that day (the kids have off school and my husband is on federal holiday) and watching the event on television.
But, you know, if I were about 10 years younger (okay, maybe 20) and didn't have kids, I think I'd still try to go.
But I'd definately count on adding more than an hour to my travel time. Heh.