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Travel will be a challenge for Monday's inauguration page 2


 President Barack Obama's first inauguration in 2009 brought a massive crowd to The National Mall in Washington D.C. The crowd is expected to be smaller this year, but there will still be plenty of traffic headaches this weekend.
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Date published: 1/18/2013

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"I expect it to take a while. If for any reason there starts to be concern that we won't be able to get into town easily, I'll stay with friends in Alexandria [and] come up the night before," Darby said. "We'll do whatever it takes, and be patient and courteous and kind to everybody because there will be a lot of stressed-out people."

In an effort to ease crowding at the stations around the Mall, Metro is encouraging riders not to change trains. For example, people riding the Blue Line from Virginia are being asked to get off at Arlington National Cemetery and walk across the Potomac River's Memorial Bridge to the Mall. Be forewarned that the distance from the Lincoln Memorial on the west end of the Mall to the Capitol is two miles.

The idea is to prevent people from "needlessly traveling through the core" of the city, Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said, although there will be no penalty for ignoring that advice.

"Anyone going to the inauguration should plan to walk. This is an event that does require a lot of walking and a lot of standing, and that's just part of the day," Stessel said. "Wear comfortable shoes, dress very warmly and just think about what the day entails. Make sure you're up for it."

Also hoofing it will be people who ride into town on tour buses. About 2,500 buses are expected, and most will park at RFK Stadium. The city will provide shuttle buses, giving priority to elderly and disabled passengers, but some tour-bus riders will probably end up having to walk the three miles from the stadium to the Mall, said John Lisle, a spokesman for the district's Department of Transportation.

Four years ago, many tour buses dropped off passengers at Metro stations, but Metro won't allow that this time, Stessel said.

People traveling from Maryland can ride MARC commuter trains, which will offer a schedule tailored to the inaugural crowds. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at select stations on Inauguration Day. Commuter trains from Virginia won't be running, though. In 2009, the Virginia Railway Express was open at the request of the inaugural committee, said Mark Roeber, a VRE spokesman. The rail service received no such request this time and will follow its standard policy of closing when federal offices are closed.

Then there are bicycles, an increasingly popular option for Washington-area commuters. The city will run a massive bike parking lot a few blocks from the White House, and there will also be a station near the Mall with enough space for anyone who wants to drop off a bicycle from the region's popular bike-sharing service. Shane Farthing, executive director of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, said riding bikes to the event makes sense--and not just for district residents.


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