The Ticket

Inaugural planners to close infamous Third Street tunnel, monitor social media

The Ticket

In the hopes of avoiding another "purple ticket holder" failure (see below), the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) is implementing a new crowd management plan for President Barack Obama's 2013 inauguration festivities.

The plan includes closing a tunnel that proved problematic at the first inauguration, and monitoring social media for crowd-related issues, committee chairman Chuck Schumer announced Wednesday.

“At our very first meeting, the members of the Joint Congressional Committee and I decided that we had to make crowd management a top priority for the upcoming ceremonies,” Schumer (D-N.Y) said in a release Wednesday. “For many months, we’ve been developing a plan that will keep ticket lines moving and ensure that everyone who comes to Washington, DC to celebrate democracy enjoys their experience. I’m hopeful that our plan will solve the issues that plagued past ceremonies, and will contribute to a smooth day on January 21st.”

In 2009, many members of the public who had color-coded purple tickets to attend Obama's public swearing-in missed the ceremony because of crowding inside the Third Street tunnel entry point. This time around, the tunnel will be closed to pedestrians and signage will be improved, including large banners to mark ticket entry points.

Poor signage combined with too few staff and magnetometers at security checkpoints created long lines and misdirected attendees, the committee also said in its release Wednesday. In response, personnel have been added for January's ceremony to help direct specific color-coded ticket holders to the appropriate entrance and more magnetometers will populate security points.

Committee staff will also use social media including Twitter to find and respond to logjams, slow-moving lines and other issues in real-time.

"The 2013 Inaugural Ceremonies crowd control plan is designed to address the issues from 2009," the committee stated in its release.

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