Security tightens for inauguration

Road closures, beefed-up security and parking restrictions are only some of the measures the University and city have planned to manage the throngs of people expected for the inauguration next week, administrators said.

Nearly all of the Foggy Bottom campus will be inside the Secret Service’s security perimeter to enforce security restrictions on the days surrounding Jan. 20.

The National Guard will be working with the Metropolitan Police Department Special Operations Division to enforce security restrictions throughout the inauguration. National Guard officers will be stationed along the security perimeter across Pennsylvania Avenue, down 23rd Street and along Constitution Avenue, often in pairs, said John Petrie, assistant vice president for public safety and emergency management.

To access campus on Inauguration Day, students may need to show GWorld cards to security personnel, though specifics remain uncertain. Nonstudent residents who live on campus may need to provide government identification with their local address, officials said. The 1,480 guests that registered to stay on campus will be issued identification cards with their name and temporary residence. Petrie stressed it is crucial for all students and guests to keep their identification with them at all times.

The University Police Department has contracted about 50 additional security officials from the security firm AlliedBarton to monitor residence halls. The new personnel will work in two shifts and supplement an already increased UPD officer presence, said UPD Chief Dolores Stafford.

No parking and very limited vehicular traffic will be allowed on campus beginning the afternoon of Jan. 19.

From 3 a.m. on Jan. 19 to 7 a.m. on Jan. 21, parking will be prohibited on all parts of campus east of and including 23rd Street, and only area residents or those conducting essential business in the area will be allowed to travel by car. “Essential business” refers to UPD and facilities management vehicles, and people coming into GW and parking cars in campus garages, Petrie said.

“The road closures for [Jan. 20] are nothing short of astronomical,” Petrie said, in reference to the massive traffic restrictions and road closures that will blanket much of downtown D.C.

While driving on campus may be severely limited, most of GW’s vehicular services will be running as normal during the inauguration. University police intend to operate 4-RIDE on both Jan. 19 and 20, and the Colonial Shuttle Service will run Jan. 20 as well, though it will not operate on Jan. 19.

“We may run into some traffic issues, but we do intend to start running the shuttle buses on the 20th,” Stafford said. “Each day, 4-RIDE van service will be running, and we will actually have additional drivers.”

The Vern Express, too, will be operating throughout the inauguration, but Petrie and Associate Vice President for Academic Operations Jeffrey Lenn were unsure of its route and where it may drop off students on Jan. 20.

The Vern Express’ normal route goes down the Whitehurst Freeway, which will remain open during the inauguration – but Petrie said MPD has noted the freeway is the quickest link from the National Mall to the Key Bridge and could be overcome with pedestrians.

“Tuesday will be a challenge,” Petrie said. “There are a couple of other alternate routes that they’ve worked so the shuttle will be able to continue to operate down here.”

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