Historical Beginnings and Metro Closings

Confusion abounded in the nation’s capital with mass Metro closings during the Inauguration of President Obama.

For Daryl Johnson, this return to D.C. is almost as momentous as the first occasion that brought him to the nation’s capital. It has been almost fifteen years since the 1994 “Million Man March”, but the drove of people uniting brings the same refreshing spirit. However, with Metro rail closings, the spirit got a little confusing and claustrophobic.

“I should tell Obama,” Johnson said with a smile. He and his wife, Terri, along with their daughter Brittany, drove from Merriville, Indiana and are staying on the outskirts of D.C. They arrived at the closest Metro station around 10 o’clock the morning of the inauguration and did not experience any trouble.

“The ride here was alright. None of the escalators worked, but how are we getting back?” Johnson questioned.

For many, the ride back turned into a hike back. Paris Weeden, a sophomore at Howard University, explained how police officers redirected her from the L’fant Plaza Metro station’s entrance to another entrance located on 7th and D. The Harlem native was then directed from that entrance and ended up on the D.C. waterfront.

“My legs were numb,” Weeden said.

Unlike Johnson, Weeden described her journey to the Washington Mall as being just as hectic. After arriving at the Shaw-Howard Metro station around 5 o’clock a.m., the station was packed – and so were the trains. “We couldn’t get on the first two trains”, she said.

It was that wait and crowd that influenced Weeden to leave early from the inauguration in the first place, in hopes to avoid that rush back. “Right after [Obama] said ‘so help me God’, we we’re on our way back to the Metro,” she said.

Sheri Lamb, 19, from Newport News, said that most of the confusion came not from the closing of the rails, but from those who were not familiar with the Metro system in general. “They didn’t know where to go,” she said.

And that finally paid off. After walking blocks to get to the nearest Metro station, Sheri and others with her rushed past the tourist crowd and into a practically empty Metro station right as an empty train came by. “The solider [in the station] said it’s the only thing running.”

But in all, no one had hard feelings toward Metro authority. For such a historical occasion, security measures are to be considered.

“It was expected,” said Lamb.