2019 March for Life: What you need to know

WASHINGTON — If you’re thinking about going to Friday’s March for Life on the National Mall, here’s what you need to know about getting there and getting around.

What is it?

The 46th annual March for Life is a rally marking the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion in the United States. Organizers call abortion “a human rights abuse.”

When is it?

It starts with a rally at noon on Friday, Jan. 18.

Where is it?

The rally starts on the National Mall at 12th Street, between Madison Drive and Jefferson Drive. At 1 p.m., attendees will march up Constitution Avenue to the Capitol and the Supreme Court.

Here’s the map of the route from the organizers.

What about the government shutdown?

It won’t affect the march.

“Permits allowing events to take place will be issued for First Amendment demonstrations on the National Mall whose applications were submitted prior to the lapse of appropriations,” National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst told WTOP.

“These include the Indigenous People’s March and March for Life on Jan. 18, and the Women’s March on Jan. 19.”

How can I get there?

Organizers recommend taking Metro. The three closest stops are Federal Triangle and Smithsonian (on the Orange, Silver and Blue lines), and Metro Center (on all those lines plus the Red Line).

A few pieces of advice for Metro newcomers (and, sadly, not-so-newcomers):

  • Metro runs on SmarTrip cards, which you can (and should) load up at machines in the stations before your trip.
  • Let people get off the train before you get on.
  • That said, be quick about getting on. If you’re waiting for a train and see most people congregated at one spot on the platform, head for a less-populated spot — spread the crowd out a bit.
  • Know that Metro doors are not like elevator doors — don’t stick your hand or foot out at a closing door thinking it’s going to spring open. It won’t.
  • There is no eating, drinking or smoking on Metro.
  • If you want to stand on the escalators, stand to the right. Leave the left side to people who are walking down.
  • Changing trains is the real time-killer. If you have the choice, get as close as you can get on one train and then walk. Here’s Metro’s map of their system.

Will roads be closed?

Yes. From the District Department of Transportation:

  • F Street Northwest from 6th Street to 7th Street, outside the Capital One Arena, will be closed for the opening musical performance by the Sidewalk Prophets from 6 a.m. to about noon.
  • And 7th Street from F Street to Jefferson Drive Southwest will be closed from 10 a.m. to about noon.

The following streets will be closed from 10 a.m. to about 3 p.m:

  • Constitution Avenue from 14th Street Northwest to Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
  • 4th Street from Independence Avenue Southwest to Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest

And, here’s a map:

What can’t I bring?

Firearms, explosives and weapons; pepper spray and large bags aren’t allowed on the National Mall. Signs can’t be higher than 12 feet.

If you’re headed to the grounds of the Capitol or the Supreme Court, you also can’t take bags bigger than 18 inches wide by 14 inches high by 8.5 inches deep; also aerosol containers, food and drink, or sealed envelopes and packages.

If I can’t make it, can I watch on a live stream?

Yes. The organizers say they’ll stream it on their Facebook page.

What’s the official site?

It’s right here.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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