A month or so back, some of the predictions for Tuesday’s Presidential Inauguration had as many as 5 million people crowding onto the National Mall to watch the swearing in followed by the inaugural parade. Various officials have since imposed a number of security restrictions, closed a number of bridges that empty onto the mall (starting sometime between now and Tuesday morning, it will become impossible to enter DC from Virginia, you’ll have to go into Maryland first) and so on with the final result that it won’t be possible to attend the inauguration unless you actually live along the parade route.
OK, maybe it’s not quite that severe, but the news reports in recent weeks really have been filled with a growing number of road closures and quite a few area residents have decided to avoid DC altogether until Wednesday. Now officials are concerned they may have scared people away from the area and the latest estimates for crowd size are “only” 2.5 million. (For comparison, the previous record crowd size on the National Mall was 1 million in 1976 for the Bicentennial celebration.)
One side effect of all this activity is a bit of economic stimulus for the DC-area economy. Not just the surge in hotel occupancy, sales of Obama bobblehead dolls, and various inaugural memorabilia, but also some less obvious money makers.
The Washington Post reports that local companies are benefiting from the need to construct “The Great Wall of Privies” with 7,000 porta-potties on the National Mall.
One result of all the security restrictions is that there aren’t many places to park. The Washington Nationals are offering parking spots at Nationals Park for $20/day ($35 if you leave the car overnight).
Not to be left out, The Washington Post is offering you the chance to place a personal message to President Obama in the Inauguration Day edition of the paper. (Your guess is as good as mine as to whether he’ll read them.)
Likewise, if you’re a Washington Post subscriber (and possibly if you’re not), you can also pre-order the special commemorative edition of the paper, buy a special commemorative picture book, or if you’re really into newspaper memorabilia, you can even buy a replica of the press plate for printing the commemorative edition of the paper.
And finally, in a move that seems to have folks around here evenly divided over whether to laugh or cry, the District of Calamity’s City Council decided to cash in on the influx of visitors by passing emergency legislation to allow bars to continue serving until 4:00 AM.