Bowser Talks Inauguration Safety

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DC Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) speaks during the situational update. Photo: Sarah Payne/CCN

During Friday’s situational update, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, Special Agent of Washington Secret Service Field Office Matt Miller and Metro Police Department (MPD) Police Chief Robert Contee spoke about the preparations for the 59th Presidential inauguration slated to take place Wednesday Jan. 20. 

Bowser again encouraged DC residents to watch and engage with the inauguration from home this year. 

“Our constitution mandates that the transition of power occur by noon on Jan. 20, will happen right here in the District of Columbia,” Bowser said. “We want people to enjoy it in their own living rooms with their own families.” 

In addition to many road closures and parking restrictions, DC streetcar service has been suspended until further notice and Capital Bikeshare will be unavailable on the National Mall, Capitol Hill and Union Station until further notice. Within the security perimeter, 13 metro transit stations will also be closed from today through Thursday Jan. 21. 

There will also be a temporary closure of the National Mall beginning Friday Jan. 15 at 11:00 a.m. and extending through at least Thursday Jan. 21. 

The National Park Service announced that two locations along Pennsylvania Avenue have been approved for permits for first amendment activity. These approved permits will allow up to 100 people to gather at the Navy memorial and John Marshall park. Those in attendance, groups that regularly plan activities in the District, will be accompanied by law enforcement and will be subject to screening before entering the area. 

Contee said that the large numbers of National Guard will continue to be stationed in residential neighborhoods, primarily for traffic control, in the days leading up to and following the inauguration. Guardsmen may ask to see identification before allowing residents to access areas close to and within the security perimeter. Miller emphasized that residents having issues with access to their residential street should contact the MPD. 

“In the efforts to ensure safety around the Capitol, that will also bump out to some of the neighborhoods,” Contee said.

Miller said that a graphic of road and bridge closers was forthcoming, noting that the situation is and will remain fluid. He said the team was already on their 11th revision of traffic adjustments.

Miller noted that the inauguration was designated as a national special security event by the secret service following what he called a “deadly and unlawful assault” on the Capitol. Miller emphasized that the secret service is prepared for all scenarios at the inauguration. 

“We cannot allow a recurrence of the chaos and illegal activity that we saw last week,” Miller said. 

Bowser encouraged residents to be vigilant about anything seemingly out of the ordinary in the days leading up to the inauguration and to receive updates about the inauguration from the DC government, text INAUG2021 to 888-777 or visit inauguration.dc.gov.

Sarah Payne is a History and Neuroscience student at The University of Michigan interning with HillRag. She writes for and serves as an assistant news editor for Michigan’s student newspaper, The Michigan Daily. You can reach her at [email protected]