PRESS RELEASE from Presidential Inaugural Committee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                CONTACT: Matt House             

December 19, 2012    



Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC), announced a comprehensive crowd management plan for the 2013 Inaugural Ceremonies. The plan is designed to address issues that arose during the 2009 Inaugural Ceremonies, and to ensure the 57th Inaugural Ceremonies are safe and memorable for those who attend.


“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,” said Schumer. “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.”


During the 2009 Inauguration, many ticket holders encountered significant obstacles gaining entry to the ceremonies via the Third Street tunnel. Poor and insufficient signage was a lead contributor to long ticket lines and misdirected attendees. In addition, there were too few ticket checkers to ensure that people were in the correct line. Therefore, attendees who had the wrong ticket color were unaware of the problem until they reached the entrance, often after waiting hours in line. Insufficient magnetometers for the crowd size also became overwhelmed, leading to shutdowns and long lines in ticketed sections. 


The 2013 Inaugural Ceremonies crowd control plan is designed to address the issues from 2009. First, the Third Street tunnel will be closed to pedestrians. Second, there will be a dramatic increase in signage for ticketed areas. The signs will be posted at major landmarks and Metro stops to direct attendees to ticket entry areas. There will also be large banners clearly marking the ticket entrances. Additional details on signs, gates, and procedures for ticketed guests will be released at a later date.


Third, the crowd control plan also dramatically increases the number of personnel dedicated to directing attendees to the correct lines (according to the color of their ticket) before arriving at the entrances. Fourth, and for the first time ever, JCCIC will have dedicated staff monitoring tweets and other social media outlets. If the monitors detect a large number of tweets regarding a log-jam or slow-moving lines in a certain area, officials will be directed to the area of concern to address the issue in real time.


Finally, there will be more magnetometers in place to help with line flow.


The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies is responsible for the oversight and planning of the Presidential Inauguration and related ceremonies on the U.S. Capitol grounds.


The Joint Committee was authorized by S. Con. Res. 35, which passed the Senate on March 1, 2012, and the House on March 5th.  Members of JCCIC are appointed by the Vice President and the Speaker of the House. In accordance with tradition, the Senate representatives on JCCIC are Majority Leader Harry Reid, Rules Committee Chairman Charles E. Schumer, and Rules Committee Ranking Member Lamar Alexander.  The House members of JCCIC are Speaker John A. Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.


S. Con. Res. 35 established the date of the 2013 Inauguration as Monday, January 21, 2013, since January 20, 2013 falls on a Sunday.  This is the seventh time in U.S. history that the constitutionally mandated Inauguration date has fallen on a Sunday.  The last time was for President Ronald Reagan’s second Inauguration in 1985.  When this occurs, the public ceremonies traditionally are held on Monday.


In addition, January 21, 2013 is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. It will be the second time that this federal holiday has coincided with a Presidential Inauguration. The first was President Bill Clinton’s second Inauguration in 1997.