Travel Tips For Inaugural Visitors

Obama's Inaugural

January 20, 2009

* Forget MARC. It's sold out.

* MTA commuter buses will depart Kent Island, Annapolis, Columbia, Scaggsville-Burtonsville, Frederick, Upper Marlboro and three Southern Maryland locations this morning and connect with the Washington Metrorail system. Tickets can be purchased onboard. Reservations are not required. Round-trip tickets are $10. Exact change is required. Schedules and other information at www.mtamaryland.com.

* One of the most economical ways to go from Baltimore is to take the light rail to Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport ($1.60, one way) and catch the B30 Metrobus ($3.10, one way) to the Greenbelt Metro station. Oversize buses will run at roughly 20-minute intervals, and extra buses will be on hand to meet unexpected demand. The first bus leaves BWI at 6:58 a.m. Don't stay late. The last bus leaves Greenbelt at 10 p.m.

* Parking at Washington Metro subway lots will be $4, cash only, on Inauguration Day. Lots open at 3:30 a.m. and are expected to fill quickly.

* Plan carefully which Metro stops to use based on where you expect to be. For the parade route, use such stations as Union Station, Judiciary Square, Gallery Place and Metro Center. For the Mall, access may be easier from L'Enfant Plaza, Farragut North or Farragut West. Smithsonian and Archives-Navy Memorial stations will be closed. The Mt Vernon Sq 7th St-Convention Center station closes at 7:30 a.m. The Judiciary Square station closes at 4 p.m.

Certain downtown stations may be designated "exit-only" between 4 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

* If using the Metro, expect to encounter multiple lines - to buy tickets, to pass turnstiles and to be admitted to the platforms. The cost of a day pass is $7.80.

* Washington officials advise that it will not be possible for visitors to attend both the swearing-in and the parade because of limited mobility.

* People expecting to arrive aboard charter, church or school buses should make sure the operators have registered their vehicles with District of Columbia officials to ensure a place to discharge passengers and park.

* Visitors who decide to park their cars and take a Metrobus into Washington can plot out their trips by going to the WMATA Web site and using its trip planner. The buses will be operating on a modified Saturday schedule, so most routes to outer suburbs such as Bowie and Odenton will not be running. When using the trip planner be sure to set the date for Jan. 20, 2009.

* Traffic in Washington is expected to be extremely heavy and parking may be scarce. Visitors are being encouraged to use mass transit and to leave early in the morning and late in the evening.

* Visitors from Baltimore can find parking at such Metro stations as Greenbelt on the Green Line, Glenmont and Wheaton on the Red Line, New Carrollton on the Orange Line and Largo Town Center on the Blue Line. Parking is also expected to be available at FedEx Field near Largo.

* Metro officials advise subway users to allow several hours to pass before trying to return home after the inauguration ceremonies.

* For return trips, walking to a station farther up the line could increase chances of catching a train before it fills. For instance, Red Line riders heading for Glenmont might want to walk to Dupont Circle. Orange Line riders heading for New Carrollton could board at Foggy Bottom. Green Line riders to Greenbelt could walk to the Waterfront station at Fourth and M streets S.W.

Other travelers

* Motorists traveling to points south of Washington should avoid the Capital Beltway and instead use such roads as U.S. 301 through Southern Maryland or Interstate 81 through the Shenandoah Valley. Travelers from Cecil County and points north should consider taking U.S. 13 down the Delmarva peninsula.

* Travelers heading to the Northeast today and tomorrow are advised to find alternatives to the Interstate 95 corridor, such as Interstate 83 to York or Harrisburg in Pennsylvania. Travelers to the Philadelphia area might encounter lighter traffic on U.S. 1. Potential backups at the Delaware Toll Plaza can be avoided by taking U.S. 40.

* For travel crossing Baltimore harbor, backups are less likely on the Key Bridge than at the Fort McHenry and Harbor tunnels.

* For local travel in the I-95 corridor, avoid the interstate and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, and use U.S. 1, U.S. 29, U.S. 40 or Route 7.

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