By now you've likely heard that D.C. will be turning into a madhouse on Inauguration Day. Predictions for the number of people coming to D.C. for the event vary, but the number usually ends in gazillion. For perspective, if 1 million people arrive, it'd be like having the populations of D.C., Arlington, and Alexandria packed into a little green rectangle downtown called The Mall. If 2 million arrive, throw in Fairfax County residents too for good measure.
It's time to begin thinking about how to get to the historic event. CommuterPage.com's Inauguration Day page is here to help you discover your transportation options. If you're thinking about driving, think again. Each of the four main bridges from VA to D.C. will be closed to private vehicles. One of the best ways to get to The Mall will be by bike. Now here's how:
Bike access will remain open on the sidepaths of the Key, Roosevelt, and 14th Street bridges. These bridges have narrow sidepaths which may make riding difficult with the heavy pedestrian traffic that is expected. Memorial Bridge on the other hand will be open only to bicyclists and pedestrians - and closed to all motor vehicles - so this bridge is recommended for bicyclists as the there will be more room for riding.
The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) will be providing free bike valet service. At two locations near The Mall, bicyclists will be able to leave their bikes with an attendant and receive a claim tag. The two bike valet locations will be at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial (just off of the 14th Street Bridge) and a location still to be determined north of The Mall. The free service offers parking for up to 500 bikes at each location and will be open from 7 a.m. - 5 p.m. More information about the bike valet service is available from WABA.
A map of the bike valet locations and suggested bike routes will soon be available at CommuterPage.com's Inauguration Day page. You'll be able to print out a map with suggested bridge crossings to take with you. Use Arlington's Bike Map or others from around the region to get to The Mall.
Bikes won't be allowed on Metrorail between January 17 - 20, however, they will be allowed on Metrobus which comes equipped with racks which allow two bikes at once. If you live too far to bike to The Mall, consider biking to your nearest Metrorail station or Metrobus stop, locking your bike up, and taking transit downtown. Also be aware that you won't be able to bring prohibited items onto The Mall, such as umbrellas and backpacks.