I was all ready to hate on Eugene Robinson‘s column this morning. I actually read it late last night. The column’s headline on the Post‘s homepage was something like: Can D.C. Survive The Inaugural? I thought: just more inaugural hype as if the city hasn’t put on a swearing in before or a parade or given downtown to an IMF protest. This ain’t Seattle. We can do this.
Then Robinson summed up my feelings—and a lot of other people’s feelings—with these lines:
“Days early, gridlock has already begun to close its grip on Washington’s federal core — a 10-minute crosstown trip can take two or three times as long as it should. But traffic is far from the only thing the city has to be anxious about. Obama’s inauguration is expected to draw record crowds from around the nation, and many of those visitors will be staying with friends and relatives. Local hosts are forced to keep up with the stream of announcements about logistics — street closings, subway hours, late-breaking restrictions — in order to decide how best to get their guests from point A to point B and back again, assuming that point B can be reached at all.
The biggest single anxiety for locals and visitors alike, though, may be figuring out how to actually attend anything.”
Robinson goes on to admit that the balls aren’t going to be much fine. But he has a great point. Yesterday, some of Washington City Paper‘s Best and Brightest huddled over a map of downtown and analyzed the parade route, the various jumbotron spots, and the rest of the Mall’s zone. We kept asking ourselves: How do we cross the parade route and get to the Mall? Should we even bother crossing the parade route? Why not enter the Mall through the Southwest side?
And, of course, which is the best jumbotron spot? It seems that even if you have tickets, you are still going to be too far to actually see Obama’s speech.