City Desk

Terry Lynch Finds “A Vacuum of Crowd Control” Post-Inaug

Little about this inauguration pleases Terry Lynch, executive director of the Downtown Cluster of Congregations. Not the extended boozing. And not the behavior of the Secret Service.

He reports in a message to LL Daily: "I waited at the 7th & D checkpoint entrance amidst a crowd of thousands; Secret Service had only a few metal detectors in place, so over a couple hours only 250 folks maybe got through, leaving tens of thousands to leave or left out. A disgraceful performance by the Secret Service."

Further, Lynch is also not pleased by City Administrator Dan Tangherlini who, he says, "has failed to allow many folks to witness the parade or leave with some orderly semblance after the the Inauguration."

To sum up: "A very disappointing showing; security has trumped access; and there was a vacuum of crowd control afterwards. DC's residents and its many visitors deserved better."

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  • not in dc any more

    I'm so glad to hear that Terry Lynch hasn't chilled out any (hahaha). It's been years since i had to try and keep him happy when planning events in DC, but obviously he's still the same beast. Nothing pleases him- if he had his way there would be gilded sidewalks and police escorts for anyone at any moment who wants to go to church. God forbid people visit the city or try to have a good time!!!

  • Adams Morgan

    Terry Lynch is a shrill harpie and people (you too City Paper) really need to stop giving him ink/air time.

  • Scott S.

    I definitely experienced the lack of crowd control. The biggest problem is that there weren't enough exit routes for attendees to take, resulting in a frustrating slog toward 18th street.

    However, I should say the Secret Service did a good job of preventing the crowd from breaking down fences, which would have created absolute chaos.

  • KC

    I waited at the 10th & E street checkpoint for almost 6 hours to get into the parade and still didn't get in. Movement of the line was monumentally slow. I started in line at the southern doors of the Ford Theatre and after 6 hours had made it to the center of the 10th/E intersection.

    There was almost no crowd control and no advance planning for movement of emergency vehicles across E street which meant that each of the 4 times an ambulance or police car needed through the line was split at the intersection and then a huge surge forward as people scrambled to beat their last position and new folks joined the line at the front.

    Adding to the confusion was the cross-crowd traffic coming from people heading to or coming from the mall in such volume that the line holders started chanting "yes you can - go around!" and refused to let people pass as they tried to prevent additional line jumpers.

  • Skipper

    Terry Lynch is a media quote whore.

  • mattyillini

    For us the BIG problem was trying to leave after the ceremony. We were in the Silver section and trying to get out actually became a big frightening at times. Nothing was open. We entered through the 3rd Street tunnel and made the erroneous assumption that streets northward would be opened up. They were not. We finally got out through a maze of fencing that literally made us feel imprisoned. We walked down Independence Avenue only to find the 7th Street tunnel closed. We were told to go to 14th, but it was blocked off. Then we headed toward the water front and walked through the tidal basin area. At least, we were allowed to escape up 18th Street and then make our way home to the Logan Circle area. It was actually a bit scary at times... everyone was like refugees fleeing a war zone. The scariest part was when we were still in the "enclosed area" and I thought for a moment that people might rush a tiny hole and there would be hundreds of people squished against the fence. NO ONE THOUGHT ABOUT THIS POSSIBILITY. I felt sorry for the the police and security people -- they had not been given any information or instructions. No one knew anything.

  • nashpaul

    KC, I must have been with you in that line. Matches my experience exactly, though I gave up after a few hours to at least catch the swearing-in on TV -- sounds like I'm glad we did.

    The planning by the Secret Service, DC police, and others for crowd control was utterly incompetent. There are more security lines at any airport in the country than there were at most inauguration entrances.

    The parade route was empty. Anyone know who to contact at Ticketmaster for a refund?

  • yellowliner

    My experience was similar to mattyillini. I had no problem getting to, getting in or during (in the general public area on Mall -- no security checks, lots of empty space) but afterward was a nightmare. I ended up trapped south of the Mall with no Metro access, no bus access and no way out for four hours. Dismal.

  • NYC Gal

    I agree with what others are saying and frankly have been surprised there hasn't been more written in the media on the topic - I had no problems arriving onto the mall and the whole experience was fine until it was over. It took me hours to get off the mall - they had closed us in - 14th was blocked off and the porta potties served as a barrier too. It was very scary - every one was confused, people were crying and of course everyone was cold and wanted to go home. The fear factor was heightened when you realized the only security was a few national reserve guys and they had no idea what was going on. Shame on whoever was in charge. With all the talk of the expected crowds how is it that they weren't perpared?

  • Emme

    Useful info, nice blog, thanks.