Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Metro Gets With the Program

In an eleventh hour about-face, DC Metro has amended its inauguration-eve schedule to accommodate extended bar hours and hyperbolic crowds in a city with vehicular traffic all but curtailed for security measures. WMATA posted updated inauguration information on its website detailing its new hours and a list of stations that will be either closed completely or reserved as entrance/exit only on Inauguration Day.

(Metro stations are marked with this.)

Metro will now run until 2 AM on Monday January 19. Previously, Metro would have closed at midnight, in accordance with a normal holiday schedule, as the 19th is Martin Luther King Day. That would have severely limited movement around the capital on a night when hundreds of thousands are expected to attend eighteen balls and innumerable private parties across the District.

Obamapalooza has long lamented there was not better coordination between WMATA and the District Council over extended bar hours. While Metro’s 2 AM closing time Monday night reflects at least a modicum of situational awareness, it still comes two hours before bars stop serving on a night when what could be the largest contingent of visitors in Washington history are expected.

At least eighteen inaugural balls are scheduled for the 19th. With Wednesday, Jan 21, still officially a working day, many inauguration visitors may chose to celebrate Monday night. Those who miss the last 2 AM train will have to contend with a limited number of taxis in city all but shut down to vehicular traffic, or perhaps thumb a ride in someone’s limo.

New Metro Hours

Sat 1/17: 7 AM – 3 AM
Sun 1/18: 7 AM – 12 AM
Mon 1/19: 5 AM – 2 AM
Tue 1/20: 4 AM – 2 AM

(System map for DC Metro)

For security purposes, the Secret Service has asked WMATA to close a handful of metro stations on Inauguration Day. The following stations will be closed on Tuesday, January 20 until 6:30 PM.

– Green/Yellow Lines

Navy Memorial
Penn Quarter

– Blue/Orange Lines –


Additionally, the Judiciary Square station on the Red Line will close at 4 PM, and the Mt Vernon Square/7th Street Convention Center station on the Green/Yellow Lines will close at 7:30 AM on Inauguration Day due to their proximity to inaugural balls.

In a move that could spell added confusion to Metro chaos, the following stations will be entrance only on Inauguration Day.

– Blue/Orange Lines –

L’Enfant Plaza
Metro Center

– Red Line –

Farragut North
Gallery Place-Chinatown
Metro Center
Union Station

– Yellow/Green Lines –

L’Enfant Plaza
Gallery Place-Chinatown

The following Blue/Orange Lines stations will be exit only from 4 AM to 10:30 AM on January 20.

Capitol South
Farragut West
Federal Triangle
Federal Center SW
McPherson Square

Additionally, WMATA is asking riders not to transfer at Metro Center, Gallery Place-Chinatown or L’Enfant Plaza on Inauguration Day.

While these restrictions aim to reduce system-crippling congestion, they essentially render the center of Washington a pedestrian-only zone. People residing or staying within two miles of the Mall or Pennsylvania Avenue should walk to the swearing-in ceremony and parade to facilitate droves of visitors relying on Metro to shuttle them in from Maryland and Virginia suburbs.

For more Metro information, see WMATA's inauguration website:

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