Thursday, January 15, 2009

Are you "CERT ready" for the presidential Inauguration?

Hi folks!
As you are all aware, the presidential inauguration takes place on Tuesday, January 20th. Are you "CERT ready" for this weekend filled with huge crowds, heavy traffic, road closures and very cold weather?
Let's review some tips to make sure we're all "CERT ready" for the upcoming inauguration.

Stay Informed
  • Visit www.inauguration.dc.gov to get information about road, bridge and highway closures, parking restrictions and mass transit plans.
  • Sign up to D.C. Alerts for real-time information on Jan. 20 about road closures, weather and more. Subscribe at www.inauguration.dc.gov.
  • Information on Virginia Railway Express train service for the inaugural can be accessed at www.vre.org
  • The Virginia State Police website at www.vsp.state.va.us can give you more information regarding transportation in our area. HOV lane restrictions start as early as Saturday on some local freeways.
  • Information on Metro bus and rail service can be accessed at www.wmata.com .
  • Up to date Virginia traffic information can be had by dialing 511 on your cellphone or home phone.

Be Prepared
  • If you plan to attend any inaugural events, consider whether you can stand outside in large crowds for up to six hours and whether you are ready for long delays getting home afterwards.
  • Bring with you any medications that you need because there will be very long delays in getting to and from events.
  • Be aware that it may be difficult to talk or send pictures from your cell phone, according to wireless companies. Send text messages instead of making calls when possible. Or, consider using Facebook or other social networking sites to keep in touch with others.
  • (Did you know CERT has a page on Facebook? You can access the page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fairfax-County-CERT/104461585572 . Sign up, it's free! Come and join the CERT family members already there. I promise you'll see a picture of Derek playing the violin. Honest! )
  • If you are driving, do you carry an emergency kit in your trunk? Might not be a bad idea. I keep my CERT pack in the trunk of my car-might be a good idea to make sure the batteries are still good; rotate the water supply in your pack, etc.
  • Be aware of the weather-below is the weather forecast from the National Weather Service for the Washington DC metro area from Thursday night through Monday January 19th. DRESS IN LAYERS if you are going to attend the inaugural events; it's going to be C O L D.......

Overnight

Mostly Clear
Mostly
Clear
Lo 12°F
Friday

Sunny
Sunny

Hi 22°F
Friday
Night

Mostly Clear
Mostly
Clear
Lo 8°F
Saturday

Partly Sunny
Partly
Sunny
Hi 25°F
Saturday
Night

Slight Chance Snow Chance for Measurable Precipitation 20%
Slight Chc
Snow
Lo 20°F
Sunday

Chance Snow Chance for Measurable Precipitation 40%
Chance
Snow
Hi 34°F
Sunday
Night

Chance Snow Chance for Measurable Precipitation 40%
Chance
Snow
Lo 24°F
M.L.King
Day

Mostly Cloudy
Mostly
Cloudy
Hi 35°F
Monday
Night

Mostly Cloudy
Mostly
Cloudy
Lo 21*F




Make a Plan
  • Consider teleworking on Jan. 20 if possible. Carpool if you are traveling into the District of Columbia. Cars will be restricted from some parts of the city, and it will be difficult to find parking.
  • Be sure to have a full tank of gas before you go anywhere in the region, or you may become stranded while waiting in traffic. Heavy volume is expected on roads, bridges and highways across the region.
  • Although Jan. 20 is a federal holiday and a holiday in many jurisdictions, some localities are enforcing weekday parking regulations. Be sure to plan ahead.
  • Bring your patience (what's that? :) because there will be delays getting to your destination. Some roads, bridges and highways may be closed temporarily, and mass transit systems will be extremely crowded.
  • Keep your cellphone battery charged up.
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Have you updated your family communication plan? Do you know how to get in touch with
loved ones if you become seperated, or overdue to your destination?
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Speaking of planning to avoid heavy traffic-below are the travel restrictions in place for the inauguration.Some of these restrictions start taking place as early as 4pm Saturday January 17th.


Virginia Vehicular Restrictions

All vehicular road restrictions will be coordinated between the Virginia State Police, the Virginia Department of Transportation and local jurisdictions. On January 20, 2009, personal vehicles will not be permitted into Washington, DC, from Virginia.

I-395 north will be closed to general traffic. As a result, northbound I-95 traffic will be diverted onto I-495 North (Inner Loop) or I-495/I-95 East (Outer Loop) at the Springfield interchange.

Eastbound I-66 lanes east of the Capital Beltway/I-495 will be closed to general traffic. Eastbound traffic on I-66 will also be diverted onto I-495.Only authorized vehicles – emergency vehicles, buses, taxis and for-hire limos -will be permitted on I-395 North and I-66 East within the Beltway.

Memorial Bridge will be open to pedestrian traffic only. No motor vehicles will be permitted to cross the bridges.

Key Bridge is restricted to mass transit only.

Chain Bridge is restricted to authorized vehicles and mass transit only, no charter buses.

The Woodrow Wilson and the American Legion bridges will have no traffic restrictions.

North Washington Street at Montgomery Street (City of Alexandria City) to Reagan National Airport will be closed.


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For those of us that live in the south county area, here is some relevant traffic information for you.

US Park Police Closures

The following vehicular road closures will be coordinated by the US Park Police on
January 20, 2009:

The George Washington Memorial Parkway will be closed in both directions from I-495 to the 14th Street Bridge. Buses and authorized vehicles traveling to Washington Reagan National Airport via I-395 may exit onto southbound George Washington Memorial Parkway for the airport only. All other traffic will need to use Route 1 or mass transit to access the airport.

Buses and authorized vehicles will be allowed to exit Washington Reagan National Airport onto northbound George Washington Memorial Parkway to enter the District of Columbia via the 14th Street Bridge. All other traffic will be allowed to exit the airport via Route 1 or southbound George Washington Memorial Parkway.



By making a plan, staying informed, and being being prepared each of us can be "CERT ready" for this exciting and historical series of events.

Terry
your volunteer PIO