If you're planning to attend the 57th Presidential Inauguration, AAA Mid-Atlantic officials urge you to plan ahead and be prepared for large crowds, traffic congestion and intense security measures.
While the second swearing-in ceremony for Barack Obama isn't expect to be anywhere near the record crowd of 2009, when an estimated 1.8 million people attended the event, the expected crowd of 800,000 to 1 million will nonetheless clog the tiny city and test patience, according to AAA officials.
"Because Inauguration Day falls on a legal public holiday—the (observed) birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.—this year, tens of thousands of local residents from the District, Virginia and Maryland will also be in attendance," Ragina C. Averella, AAA Mid-Atlantic's manager of public and government affairs, said in a statement. "Heightened security protocols, traffic blockades and parking restrictions … could spell long lines everywhere and car trouble for unprepared motorists."
Residents are encouraged to take advantage of public transportation when possible. Motorists are encouraged to have a full tank of gas and a fully-charged mobile phone on hand just in case of an emergency.
The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) is offering special MARC train services to Washington, D.C. on the day of the inauguration. While online ticket sales ended January 13, tickets can be purchased on the day of the Inauguration at Halethorpe, Odenton, Brunswick, and Germantown stations with cash only. MARC has cancelled some morning trains (P-7, P-8, M-2, F-2) for January 21; however, tickets will be honored for earlier trains.
AAA Mid-Atlantic's Roadside Assistance Operations will be in high gear to assist motorists with dead batteries, stalled cars, flat ties and empty gas tanks, according to the statement. Tow service will also be available.