An office building manager in downtown Washington, D.C. is preparing for the 9/11 "Million Muslim March" by explaining to the tenants of the building what's expected for tomorrow.
"Below is information relating to Wednesday’s Million Muslim March," the memo begins.
"March Estimates: Police concur that the best estimate on the size of the March will be somewhere in the hundreds, not thousands, of participants. That number may include entire families with children in tow."
The counter-protest is expected to be much larger. "Counter-Protest Estimates: Police estimate that there could be as many as three thousand (3000) bikers trying to circle the March and drown out the sound of the speakers at the kick-off rally with their engine noise. No other counter protest groups that are being taken seriously have identified themselves and/or made their intentions known, but that does not mean there will not be any others," reads the memo.
Street Closures: There are no street closures planned for the event. The bikers will be told that they must keep moving with the flow of traffic. They will not be allowed to come to a stop to rev their engines or otherwise impede traffic. In order to enforce that edict, there will likely be lots of police on bikes, scooters, and motorcycles riding with the group. With that many vehicles being added to the normal mix in a small area, the definition of “flow of traffic” could take on a new, slower, definition.
Marching on Pennsylvania Avenue: Due to the fact that this is a late afternoon event, and the original plan involves a rally on the Mall followed by march to Capitol Hill and then a march down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House, there is the possibility that the March could hit Pennsylvania Avenue at the beginning of rush hour at 4PM. While the police will try to contain the event to the Mall to the maximum extent possible, all of my sources indicate that if the marchers demand to march on Pennsylvania Avenue, they will be allowed to do so, no matter what time it is. One lane of traffic will be provided for them and traffic will be stopped along the 15 block route to the White House as they need to cross intersections.
If the bikers follow along, they will have to continue moving in the flow of traffic. That will cause them to circle the block onto parallel streets like E Street in order to get back onto Pennsylvania Ave. to continue their efforts against the March. No matter what time of day, all of this can’t be good for traffic flow, but it would be especially disruptive during rush hour.
Other Protest Groups: There are other protest groups that have stated their intention to protest all week with regard to the controversy involving Syria. They have all said that they will focus their activities at the White House and Lafayette Square. The direct route would take them down Pennsylvania Avenue. Today and Tuesday could be particularly active because the President will address the nation regarding Syria Tuesday night. Both Lafayette Square and Capitol Hill will be the site of constant vigils and protest activity until Congress votes on the Syrian resolution.