Monday, January 19, 2009

Inaugural Gridlock

If what they are predicting traffic-wise for the Presidential inauguration is anywhere close to correct, this is going to be one crazy rush hour: a whole day of gridlock.

Our area traffic has grown to the point where if there is anything more serious than a fender-bender on any part of the Beltway, all the feeder routes back up into Virginia, Maryland, and DC. Our traffic ecosystem is a precarious one indeed.

Already in anticipation, many businesses and almost all school systems have closed down for the day in Northern Virginia. All the bridges into DC are closed to vehicular traffic, the Metro will be maxed out, and all the streets on or near the parade route are closed, closed, closed. (Not to be left out Baltimore has decided to close the schools to mark the historic occasion).

Both as a Catholic and a political scientist I understand the importance of rituals and the marking of important events, symbolism, and such; however, I am dismayed by the absolute paralysis this inauguration is causing to two states and the District of Columbia. Sure, I expect that sort of thing in DC (that's why we have a District), but the same thing in Northern Virginia is a bit overblown, and for Baltimore it's just plain silly.

To purposely put our highway system through this amount of stress even for an important day like the Presidential inauguration seems a bit thoughtless, given how many businesses and schools are being shut down. With the economy in recession, we need people to keep working, not to spend money we don't have. I say this regardless of who is occupying the White House.

My vote is: have it indoors where it's warm (since it's always cold in January in DC), limit the attendance by random lottery to reduce the impact to the area, and just show it on TV where millions will get a front row seat. Think of all the time, money, and loss of productivity we'll save.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails