Tuesday, December 30, 2008

JCCIC Asks Disabled to Think Twice About Inauguration; Ticket Holders to Arrive by 9

The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies advised ticket holders to the January 20 inauguration to arrive no later than 9 a.m. The program starts at 11:30. 240,000 ticketed guests will occupy a secure zone on the western slope of Capitol Hill. Strollers, backpacks, thermoses and umbrellas are prohibited in the secure zone and all ticket holders will pass through a metal detector and receive a pat down.

1,000,000 or more people are expected on the National Mall, a grassy common that stretches from the base of Capitol Hill to the Lincoln Memorial, some two miles distant. Those attendees will be able to watch the inaugural program via ten enormous Jumbotrons. While there are no restrictions on strollers or other items on the Mall, event organizers have asked parents to consider the wisdom of bringing young children given limited space, large crowds, hours-long waits and potentially cold weather.

Additionally, the JCCIC asked people with special needs to think twice about attending the inauguration. Traffic to and from Capitol Hill and the Mall will be severely curtailed, requiring millions to either walk several miles or suffer inordinately long lines and overcrowding in Metro stations. Given the importance of Metro to the overall movement of inauguration attendees, JCCIC’s decision seems a thinly veiled plea for the disabled to get out of the way.

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