Press Releases from Congressman Jim Moran

For Immediate Release:
January 9, 2009
Contact: Austin Durrer

Moran & Connolly Announce Pedestrian Access on 14th St. Gained

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 9, 2009 – Reps. Jim Moran (D-VA) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA) announced that the west side of the 14th Street Bridge will be open to pedestrian foot traffic on Inauguration Day. Original plans called for all Potomac River bridge crossings to be closed to pedestrians with the exception of the Memorial Bridge and Chain Bridge.

“I appreciate the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Park Service and the numerous federal, state and local jurisdictions involved in this decision for their willingness to reconsider the initial plan to close the 14th St. Bridge to pedestrians,” said Moran. “Metro doesn’t have the capacity to accommodate everyone who wants to attend the inauguration. For many Northern Virginians, if you’re not coming in on a bus, the only other option is to walk. With direct access to the National Mall, it makes perfect sense to open the 14th Street Bridge.  This is a positive step towards making the inauguration both secure and accessible for all of those living south of the Potomac. More mobility-related modifications need to be made but we’re moving in the right direction.”   

"I appreciate that the Secret Service and inaugural officials have seen the benefit of opening the 14th Street Bridge to pedestrians on January 20th.  It will make it just a bit easier for Northern Virginians to trek over the river to witness history," Rep. Gerry Connolly said.

Earlier today, Moran and Connolly sent a letter to the Secret Service requesting an easing of restrictions on pedestrian access to the Potomac River bridges on Inauguration Day. It also called for medical personnel and hospitality workers scheduled to work on Inauguration Day be provided authorized to cross.  The letter can be accessed at


For Immediate Release:
January 9, 2009
Contact: Austin Durrer

Moran & Connolly Call for Revised Bridge Policy
Mobility for Medical Staff, Hospitality Workers and Pedestrian Needed

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 9, 2009 – Reps. Jim Moran (D-VA) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA) sent a letter to the U.S. Secret Service today, calling for changes to the policy closing the Potomac River bridge crossings between Virginia and the District of Columbia. The letter requests the Secret Service to provide authorized access to Potomac Bridges for medical personnel and hospitality workers scheduled to work on Inauguration Day. It goes on to request an easing of the restrictions on pedestrian access to the bridges, only two of which are open to foot traffic on Inauguration Day (Memorial Bridge and Chain Bridge).

“Commonsense, not fear, should be guiding our transportation policies on Inauguration Day,” said Moran. “Bridge access for key personnel, such as medical staff and hospitality, needs to be initiated. For weeks we’ve been told that those living within a couple miles of the National Mall should try to walk to the ceremonies. But only two of the bridges are open to foot traffic, one of which is nowhere near the Mall. That’s not acceptable.”

Connolly stated, “My sincere hope is that the Secret Service will reconsider their decisions,” said Connolly.  “I urge them to explore ways to provide transportation choices for Northern Virginians wishing to attend the inauguration and for key medical personnel traveling to the District.”

The U.S. Secret Service announced the closure of Potomac River Bridge crossings on Inauguration Day earlier this week. The bridge closures begin at 2:00AM on January 20th and last until the cessation of the Inaugural ceremonies around 7:00PM. 

The following is the full text of the letter to the U.S. Secret Service:

Mark Sullivan
U.S. Secret Service
245 Murray Drive,
Building 410,
Washington, DC 20223

Dear Director Sullivan:

We write to express our concern regarding the decision to close bridges leading into Washington D.C. from Virginia on Inauguration Day given the effect on commutes for key medical personnel and other service industry employees scheduled to work on January 20, 2009, and pedestrians in Northern Virginia.

While we recognize the security of the President and those attending the event are your foremost concern, we are troubled by the decision for three reasons. First, by impeding the ability of key medical personnel traveling from Virginia to reach their respective places of employment in the District, we risk staff shortages at local hospitals vital for treating medical situations that will inevitably arise given the record crowds.

Second, the hospitality industry will be operating at full capacity for the Inauguration. Given these difficult economic times, lost wages due to an inability to reach their work destination could present particular economic hardship for individuals and families.

Third, we wish to take issue with the restrictions on pedestrian use of the Potomac River bridges.  WMATA and the region's transit operators lack the capacity to handle the anticipated surge in demand.  Many of our residents who live closer to the District had planned to walk to attend the inaugural events.  Many of these residents are also hosting family and friends from out of town who had also planned to attend events downtown.  At least three of the bridges closed to the general public, the 14th Street, Roosevelt and Key Bridges, have sidewalks.  Moreover, if closed to regular vehicular traffic, they will have additional lane capacity to handle any surge in pedestrian traffic.  In our view, this is a needless restriction, and is contrary to the call for the public to seek non-motorized means of access to the city.

In light of these concerns, we ask the U.S. Secret Service to grant authorization for medical personnel and hospitality industry employees to access bridges leading into Washington D.C. on Inauguration Day.  Further, we request that you ease the restrictions on pedestrian use of Potomac River bridges.

We recognize that your agency has been working tirelessly to plan for what is shaping up to be a historic day in American history. Thank you for your consideration of this request and we look forward to hearing from you in a timely manner.    


James P. Moran