Where will they all park?

December 10, 2008 5:34:10 AM PST
It's being called the event of the century. Millions are expected in our nation's capital to see Barack Obama on inauguration day. For many, the trip to the District of Columbia will be a dream come true, but business and government leaders in D.C. warn the trip could turn out to be a nightmare.

The crowd is expected to jam the city's public transportation system, cell phones may not work and people may be sleeping in the street.

Despite the expected hardships, thousands of North Carolinians plan to make the trip.

During the election, crowds flocked to see Senator Barack Obama. Now, as President-elect, millions are expected in Washington D.C. to see him installed as president. Members of First Baptist Church in Fayetteville say they plan to be there too.

"When you've been through the marches, you've been through all of the pain of the 60s, you've been through the civil rights era, it's something that pulls you and presses you to make it to Washington, DC," Rev. Cureton Johnson said. "It's a pilgrimage more than just a trip."

Reverend Johnson's church members are not strangers to long bus trips; they've been to New York and New Orleans.

Washington business leaders worry the District in not prepared to handle the record crowd that is expected for the inauguration.

Johnson says his members know the trip is not going to be a picnic.

"Well, I'm sure they're planning for meals prior to getting there outside in lower Southern Virginia," Rev. Cureton Johnson said. "Probably breakfast coming out, or dinner coming out of Washington D.C."

Most bus companies in Fayetteville are already booked for the inauguration, but the big question is what are they going do with the people and these buses when they get to D.C.?"

"Well they say it's going to be terrible, but Washington usually is anyway," Carolina Tours Manager Eleanor Deaton said. "But this will be worse."

Deaton's company is sending several buses to the inauguration. The plan is to park at RFK Stadium in D.C. and the passengers have made arrangements to stay.

"Well the people that we're taking already have their rooms and everything taken care of for them for the three or four days they're going to be there," Deaton said.

About 10,000 buses packed with people are expected in D.C. that day.

"If you are patient and you're willing to just make sure that you stay calm and prayed up, you'll be ok," Johnson said.


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