How DC is preparing for Joe Biden’s address to joint session of Congress

President Joe Biden is set to address a joint session of Congress 9 p.m. Wednesday, and this “national special security event” of course means some added security measures that will affect traffic downtown.

Here’s what to know.

Not a State of the Union

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invited the president to share his “vision for addressing the challenges and opportunities of this historic moment.” And while it’s not a State of the Union address, it’s still a joint session, and as such merits the status as a national special security event, clearing the way for multi-agency coordination to keep it all secure.

Chris Rodriguez, D.C.’s homeland security director, said the Secret Service is the lead coordinator on the federal side.

“We are in support of the federal government,” he said. “We are also — from a [D.C. police] and homeland security standpoint — fully activated for that event.”

D.C.’s National Guard said it will provide approximately 20 service members to assist with any security and safety measures. Their assistance comes following a request from the District’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency.

Who’s allowed?

No guests will be allowed to attend Biden’s address before a joint session, which will be delivered just before his 100th day in office.

Per Capitol Police, access to the Capitol and Capitol Square will be limited to “authorized pedestrians” and those with credentials beginning at 5 p.m.

Pedestrian and vehicle access will be limited to those with congressional IDs or those with event credentials beginning at 7 p.m. No vehicles will be allowed beginning at 7 p.m., except for those displaying a congressional parking sticker with at least one occupant holding a valid congressional I.D., and/or a special event placard and credential from Capitol Police.

Traffic impact

The following street closures will take effect at 7 p.m. Wednesday and will be re-opened after the speech.

  • Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, from Third to First streets Northwest.
  • Constitution Avenue Northwest, from Louisiana Avenue Northwest to Second Street Northeast.
  • First Street Northwest, from Louisiana Avenue Northwest to Washington Avenue Southeast.
  • New Jersey Avenue Northwest, from Louisiana to Constitution avenues Northwest.
  • D Street Northeast, from Second Street Northeast to Louisiana Avenue Northeast.
  • Delaware Avenue Northeast, from Columbus Circle Northeast to Constitution Avenue Northeast.
  • First Street Northeast, from Columbus Circle Northeast to C Street Southwest.
  • C Street Northeast, from Second Street Northeast to Delaware Avenue Northeast.
  • Maryland Avenue Northeast, from Constitution Avenue Northeast to First Street Northeast.
  • Second Street Northeast, from Constitution Avenue Northeast to East Capitol Street Northeast.
  • East Capitol Street, from Second to First streets Northeast.
  • Independence Avenue, from Second Street Southeast to Washington Avenue Southwest.
  • C Street Southwest, from Washington Avenue Southwest to First Street Southeast.
  • Delaware Avenue Southwest, from Washington Avenue Southwest to C Street Southwest
  • South Capitol Street from D Street Southeast to Independence Avenue Southeast.
  • New Jersey Avenue Southeast, from D Street Southeast to Independence Avenue Southeast.
  • Maryland Avenue Southwest, from Third to First streets Southwest.

Jack Pointer

Jack Pointer is a writer and editor with a variety of news and publishing experience, including more than a decade at The Dallas Morning News and Chicago Tribune.

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