EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Inauguration

January 14, 2009

Inaugural organizers plan for disabled people

Inaugural organizers and transportation officials say people with disabilities and the elderly should expect long delays in getting to the National Mall, parade route and swearing-in ceremony. They are advising everyone to plan ahead and have a backup plan. Here's a highlight of what to expect on Jan. 20:

No cars with disability tags or license plates will be allowed to park around the Capitol on Inauguration Day.

People with disabilities attending the swearing-in ceremony may be dropped off at South Capitol and E Street and North Capitol and E Street, where golf carts will be available to transport them to security check points.

Canes, including those with a fold-down seat, walkers and scooters are allowed at the swearing-in ceremony.

There will be raised platforms for wheelchair users in the seating areas at the Capitol, but space is limited. Similar platforms will be on the National Mall, too.

Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant bleachers will be available along the parade route for people with disabilities who have parade tickets and those who don't.

Sign language interpreters will be in different sections at the swearing-in and along the parade route. Open captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing will be available on large TV screens on the Mall and parade route.

Audio description services will be available for the blind and those with limited vision at the swearing-in ceremony and the parade.

Thirteen entry points for the parade will open at 7 a.m. Jan. 20. All will accommodate people with disabilities.

MetroAccess, Metro transit system's subscription service for people with disabilities, will operate its regular schedule on Jan. 20, but there will not be service to inauguration venues. Door-to-door service will be limited. Customers should expect major delays and to maneuver long distances on their own.

Access to elevators in Metro's train stations will probably be limited because of crowds. Escalators won't be operating in certain stations.

Wheelchair-accessible port-a-potties will be available along the parade route, National Mall and Capitol grounds.

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