Dear PoP – Inauguration Insanity


“I’m a local blogger who just commented on your blog about having purple tickets and not getting in. Attached is a picture of the narrow part of the 395 tunnel, where we and thousands of others who didn’t get in were stuck for hours. We were there over 3.5 hours.

Check out the crowd in the satellite photos at 1st and C and you can see how dense the group (almost all with tickets) who didn’t get in through the Purple Gate was:

Also attached is a photo from the Giant at Columbia Heights.. $60 for parking!!!”


14 Comment

  • We had blue tickets and made the mistake of waiting in the orderly line that snaked around HHS towards the Blue Gate. As we got closer, it became a mass of humanity including thousands of line-cutters in an every-man-for-himself mess. They closed the gates on us and at least 10k others.

    The only positive was that we were so disheartened that we said screw it to the parade, et al and quickly got on the metro. We were home within half an hour of getting locked out.

  • Glad now that I didn’t have a ticket and just watched by the Wash Monument! In a few weeks Obama should host a big reception for the screwed-over purple ticket holders who were stuck in that tunnel, that would be a very cool and classy thing to do.

  • We did not even venture out. I have two young boys and thought that watching it from home would be the more prudent thing to do. I am sorry about what happened to the other folks. That sucks. But as everyone has said – on a more positive note the Bushies are gone and we now have an amazing first family!

  • Kay, I didn’t venture out for the swearing-in, but I did end up going to the concert Sunday and my group was talking about families bringing small children. We said it seemed like a bad idea to bring small children to such a crowded event since it seemed so easy for a child to get lost or (God forbid) trampled or snatched by some unscrupulous person.

  • Vonstallin

    I saw so many parents with kids (as old at 10 years old) on leshes….At first i was like WTF?

    Then it hit me…once this thing lets out…you will have almost 2million people trying to leave at once…

    The leash made scense then.

    Again, for me riding my Bicycle was ez. No problems at all.
    Actually better getting around vs. when I went to the million man march.

  • I went down to hear Obama’s speech and afterwards my friend and I figured our best bet was to walk as far as we could north (I’m by Ft. Totten metro) and then hop on the green line or catch a bus in order to avoid extremely crowded metros. At some point we were herded onto 18th St and it was just amazing the amount of people walking up it. Because I was caught in the middle of the herd I wasn’t able to stop or take a picture but was wondering if any of PoP’s readers were in that same area and took a picture. There were several people climbing on top of bus shelters to take the shot. When we could manage to look behind it was like a sea of people moving up 18th and I thought that would be a great shot to have. We ended up walking to U street and then jumped on a crowded metro home. All in all though it was worth it to be a part of history.

  • way to go Giant… you guys are more shameless than the thousands of people peddling their obama-wares on every street corner and sidewalk in the city.

  • My lady and I woke up at 3:30 and got out of the house (off Georgia Ave near Takoma) around 4:15. We drove to U street and parked in the neighborhood, hopped the train to find relative calm and empty seats. We exited at at Gallery Place around 5:40 or so. After walking down 7th street we made it to a human barricade of maybe four police officers and a couple of volunteers. At some point, that barricade evaporated and we jogged with others to the locked gates just above Pennsylvania. They stayed locked until about 7:30, by which time the crowd was pretty pissed at having to wait. Cops were in a building above us taking photos, and a lot of people were angry at them for not opening the gates. Considering the fact they were wide-brimmed state troopers from somewhere else, I’m not sure how much control they had over the gates. It was pretty funny to me, actually.

    After getting through security and walking up and down the Penn trying to find the mall entrance, we were ensconced in a mass of humanity in front of a jumbotron somewhere near 7th St. After the benediction, we again walked in many wrong directions and finally ended up at L’Enfant metro with it’s thousands of confused others. This wouldn’t work, so we hiked east and entered the 3rd St tunnel, ending up at Union Station and found it had recently closed. We then walked to NY Avenue metro and caught a cab back to the car. We’re both feeling the pain of the 6 or more miles of cold urban walking, but all-in-all, we would do it again in a heartbeat.

  • We walked down from near Ft Totten. Was about 6 miles to our ticketed locaion on the southwest corner of the Capital Lawn. was easy until we got near the screening location. Then it became bedlam. I don’t think the Inaugural Committee did a very good job with crowd managment resources. I was amused to find about a company of Iowa National Guard troops between Florida and New York Aves. They were pretty much alone. I think just one platoon from that company would have been able to provide crowd control and dirctional advice to partially mitigate that mess.

    Once at the inauguration, my wife and I basically froze a slow death. We dressed very warmly, but standing on ground that is about 10 degrees for 2 and a half hours has away of penetrating to the bone. We walked back to U Street, gave up and hailed a cab.

    All in all a good time, but I probably will not to anything like it again, unless the Capital relocates to Miami!

  • Steve, we thought it would make sense to move the Inauguration to May next time.

    vonstallin, If I had any concept of how badly managed the crowd would be, I would have tied my eleven year old to me. As it was, I made sure she had a firm grasp on my purse, so I could feel her moving along with me. People cutting through seemed to have no care of separating children from their parents.

  • I stayed in Capitol Hill the night before and it took us about an hour to get in, even though we left the 300 block of Maryland Ave at about 6:30… Ended up with a pretty good spot in front of the Washington Monument. I think I spent an hour in SW (Didn’t know such a thing was possible) trying to get back to Capitol Hill afterwards, then ended up walking all the way back to Columbia Heights to avoid the Metro. Good times!

  • Right NateG, because Giant, or whoever is the proprietor of the garage at Tivoli, were the only people trying to profit off inauguration day.

  • I had parade tickets for Freedom Plaza. We got up at 6 AM, was on the petworth metro by 7 AM. We got off at Gallery Place and walked over to our ticket entrance at 12th and F. We waited in one line for a while, then it moved quickly, then we were in a holding area for about an hour. There were two entrances, one was the 12th street tunnel. I thought it was odd that no one was around to give general information about what was going on.

    We decided to enter in the second entrance. after being frisked, we whisked in and got to our seats at 8:30. the bleachers were pretty empty until shortly before the parade started. Unfortunately we waited in the bitter cold for seven hours that with the parade starting nearly and hour and a half late, and NO information being provided to the masses about what was happening that we finally gave in 5 minutes before Obama got to our section. We limped back to the metro — feet totally frozen. We had just enough time to get ready for our ball and meet our friends on time.

    I really think that it’s a shame they hold a two hour lunch after the swearing in when so many people and families are lined up to see them. Every one was exited in our area leading up to the parade but by the time it actually started, people were too cold and exhausted to clap and scream. it was really a miserable day and I wished I had stayed at home.

    I had a friend that got into her seat by me just about the time the parade started. She said they held her in a pen for no apparent reason for two hours not letting her into her ticketed seat area. Since I was there and knew it was empty, it didn’t make sense. it’s like they were just holding people all over for no reason other than to frustrate the attendees. it was all very strange.

  • “I have two young boys and thought that watching it from home would be the more prudent thing to do.”


    That looks like it was the smart thing to do. I know that this was a historic event, but if I had chosen to take my son (an 18 month old) down there and he ended up getting hurt somehow…I would’ve been kicking tourist asses like Neo in the Matrix Reloaded when he was fighting that mob of Agent Smith clones.

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