What Inauguration Day Means for DC Streets

3187568977_e73f4a1b29.jpgInauguration parade rehearsal. Photo: Travir/Flickr

As many as four million people are expected to descend on the National Mall today for the inauguration of Barack Obama as the nation’s 44th President. Contending with that mass of humanity has left officials with no choice but to implement temporary policies to get people in and out of the city as efficiently as possible. All of which has been great fodder for DC’s thriving livable streets blog scene. Some are hoping today will prove to be what Obama might call a teachable moment, showing residents what downtown Washington feels like with fewer cars and more freedom for pedestrians, cyclists, and buses.

The discussion online has covered chokepoints in the Metro system, proper pricing of park-and-ride spots, and the advantages of banning private auto traffic on Virginia-DC bridges. And bike valet parking and the utility of pedicabs. Predictably, AAA came out strong against the restrictions on car traffic, apparently contending that the optimal "mobility" solution would be to let streets completely clog up with private motorists.

This weekend I spoke to a relative of mine in the DC area who predicted carmaggeddon on the Maryland side of the district, as drivers attempt to bypass the ban. I suppose we’ll know soon enough whether Virginians are that attached to their cars.


Today’s Headlines

What New Yorkers Want From the Stimulus (NYT) Enviro Groups: Stimulus Draft a Failure on Green Transportation (TPM) Did Obama Team, Reid and Pelosi Shortchange Transit? (Grist) Oberstar Pins It on Outgoing U.S. DOT Staff (Open Left) Why Hire Construction Workers If You’re Firing Bus Drivers? (StarTrib) NYT Suggests Subsidizing Hybrid Purchases, Ignores Carbon Tax […]

Why a Street Designed for Transit Is Also Great for People

When cities devote street space exclusively to buses or trains, they usually encounter some stiff resistance to change. Dan Reed at Greater Greater Washington has been giving the topic some thought, because many of the DC region’s upcoming transit projects will require reallocating some lanes from cars to transit. Reed cites Minneapolis’s Green Line, which runs through the […]