If Checkpoints Choke

Tuesday - 1/13/2009, 9:44am EST

FederalNewsRadio has learned spectators could be turned away even before the Inaugural parade begins.

The Secret Service tells FederalNewsRadio that once the sidewalks along the parade route are "filled to capacity" they won't be allowing any more people through the security checkpoints to view the parade.

Here's the tricky part: there is no pre-determined cut-off number. Secret Service will make the decision that day based on how crowded the parade route gets. It may not happen but it is a possibility if too many people show up.

While some people attending the parade have reserved seating, most just show up and stand along the parade route.

There are 13 entry points along the parade route. Police will count heads at parade checkpoints. The Secret Service tells us that if the sidewalks around one entry point along the parade route fill up, the people who are still in line will be advised to go to another parade route entrance and get back in line there.

As an alternative, the Presidential Inaugural Committee tells us that you will be able to view the parade on the jumbotron screens being set up all along the National Mall. If you decide to go to the National Mall you will be able to watch both the swearing-in ceremony and the parade on the jumbotrons.

The best thing to do, by all accounts, is get there early! Crowds are expected to start arriving around 7 a.m. The parade is expected to start around 2:30 p.m. or 3 p.m. Security lines are going to be long and they are going to take hours to get through. And now that we have this new information, it's even more important that you get there early or you might not be able to get a spot along the parade route at all!

The checkpoints are at the following locations:

  • 2nd Street NW and C Street NW
  • 3rd Street NW and C Street NW
  • Indiana Avenue NW between 6th St. NW and 7th St. NW
  • 7th Street NW and D Street NW
  • 10th Street NW and E Street NW
  • 12th Street NW and E Street NW
  • E Street NW just east of 13th Street NW
  • 13th Street NW just north of E Street NW
  • 14th Street NW just north of E Street NW
  • 12th Street NW between Constitution Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue
  • 10th Street NW between Constitution Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue
  • 7th Street NW between Constitution Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue
  • Constitution Avenue between 6th Street NW and 7th Street NW


(WTOP.com contributed to this report.)

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