Saturday, 10 September 2011

Rescue and recovery 9 11 attacks,

The rescue and recovery effort after the September 11 attacks comprised the local, state and federal agency reaction to the September 11 attacks. The unprecedented events of that day elicited the largest response of local emergency and rescue personnel to assist in the evacuation of the two towers and also contributed to the largest loss of the same personnel when the towers collapsed. After the attacks the media termed the World Trade Center site "Ground Zero", while rescue personnel referred to it as "The Pile".
In the ensuing recovery and clean up efforts, personnel related to metalwork and construction professions would descend on the site to offer their services and remained until the site was cleared on May 2002. In the years since, investigations and studies have examined effects upon those who participated, noting a variety of afflictions attributed to the debris and stress.

Building evacuation

After American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower (1 WTC) of the World Trade Center, a standard announcement was given to tenants in the South Tower (2 WTC) to stay put and that the building was secure. However, many defied those instructions and proceeded to evacuate the South Tower.(Most notably, Rick Rescorla, Morgan Stanley Security Director, evacuated 2687 of the 2700 Morgan Stanley employees in the building.) Standard evacuation procedures for fires in the World Trade Center called for evacuating only the floors immediately above and below the fire, as simultaneous evacuation of up to 50,000 workers would be chaotic.

Emergency response

Firefighters from the New York City Fire Department rushed to the World Trade Center minutes after the first plane struck the north tower. Chief Joseph Pfeifer and his crew with Battalion 1 were among the first on the scene. At 8:50 a.m., an incident command post was established in the lobby of the North Tower. By 9:00 a.m., shortly before United Airlines Flight 175 hit the South Tower, the FDNY chief had arrived and took over command of the response operations. Due to falling debris and safety concerns, he moved the incident command center to a spot located across West Street, but numerous fire chiefs remained in the lobby which continued to serve as an operations post where alarms, elevators, communications systems, and other equipment were operated. The initial response by the FDNY was on rescue and evacuation of building occupants, which involved sending firefighters up to assist people that were trapped in elevators and elsewhere. Firefighters were also required to ensure all floors were completely evacuated.
Numerous staging areas were set up near the World Trade Center, where responding fire units could report and get deployment instructions. However, many firefighters arrived at the World Trade Center without stopping at the staging areas. As a result, many chiefs could not keep track of the whereabouts of their units. Numerous firefighters reported directly to the building lobbies, and were ordered by those commanding the operating post to proceed into the building.See more about 9 11:

Problems with radio communication caused commanders to lose contact with many of the firefighters who went into the buildings. The repeater system in the World Trade Center, which was required for portable radio signals to transmit reliably, was malfunctioning after the impact of the planes. As a result, firefighters were unable to report to commanders on their progress, and were unable to hear evacuation orders. Also, many off-duty firefighters arrived to help, without their radios. FDNY commanders lacked communication with the NYPD, who had helicopters at the scene, or with EMS dispatchers. The firefighters on the scene also did not have access to television reports or other outside information, which could help in assessing the situation. When the South Tower collapsed at 9:59 a.m., firefighters in the North Tower were not aware of exactly what had happened. The battalion chief in the North Tower lobby immediately issued an order over the radio for firefighters in the tower to evacuate, but many did not hear the order, due to the faulty radios. Because of this, 343 firefighters died in the collapse of the towers.
The command post located across West Street was taken out when the South Tower collapsed, making command and control even more difficult and disorganized. When the North Tower collapsed, falling debris killed Peter Ganci, the FDNY chief. Following the collapse of the World Trade Center, a command post was set-up at a firehouse in Greenwich Village.
The FDNY deployed 200 units (half of all units) to the site, with more than 400 firefighters on the scene when the buildings collapsed. This included a total of 121 engine companies, 62 ladder companies, and other special units. The FDNY also received assistance from fire departments in Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester County, and other neighboring jurisdictions, but with limited ability to manage and coordinate efforts.Besides assisting with recovery operations at Ground Zero, volunteer firefighters from Long Island and Westchester manned numerous firehouses throughout the city to assist with other fire and emergency calls.

Doctors, EMTs and other medical staff
EMTs began arriving at 8:53 a.m., and quickly set-up a staging area outside the North Tower, at West Street, which was quickly moved over to the corner of Vesey and West Streets. As more EMTs responded to the scene, five triage areas were set-up around the World Trade Center site. EMS chiefs experienced difficulties communicating via their radios, due to the overwhelming volume of radio traffic. At 9:45, an additional dispatch channel was set aside for use by chiefs and supervisors only, but many did not know about this and continued to operate on the other channel. The communication difficulties meant that commanders lacked good situational awareness.
Dispatchers at the 9-1-1 call center, who coordinate EMS response and assign units, were overwhelmed with incoming calls, as well as communications over the radio system. Dispatchers were unable to process and make sense of all the incoming information, including information from people trapped in the towers, about conditions on the upper floors. Overwhelmed dispatchers were unable to effectively give instructions and manage the situation.
EMS personnel were in disarray after the collapse of the South Tower at 9:59 a.m. Following the collapse of the North Tower at 10:29 a.m., EMS commanders regrouped on the North End of Battery Park City, at the Embassy Suites Hotel. Around 11:00 a.m., EMS triage centers were relocated and consolidated at the Chelsea Piers and the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. Throughout the early afternoon, the soundstages at the Pier were separated into two areas, one for the more seriously injured and one for the walking wounded. On the acute side, multiple makeshift tables, each with a physician, nurse, and other healthcare and civilian volunteers, were set up for the arrival of mass casualties.
Supplies, including equipment for airway and vascular control, were obtained from neighboring hospitals. Throughout the afternoon, local merchants arrived to generously donate food. Despite this, few patients arrived for treatment, the earliest at about 5 p.m., and were not seriously injured, being limited to smoke inhalation. An announcement was made around 6-7 p.m. that a second shift of providers would cover the evening shift, and that an area was being set-up for the day personnel to sleep. Soon after, when it was realized that few would have survived the collapse and be brought to the Piers, many decided to leave and area was closed down.


NYPD enter their temporary headquarters near the World Trade Center
The New York City Police Department quickly responded with the Emergency Service Units (ESU) and other responders after the crash of American Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower. The NYPD set up its incident command center at Church Street and Vesey Street, on the opposite side of the World Trade Center from where the FDNY was commanding its operations. NYPD helicopters were soon at the scene, reporting on the status of the burning buildings. When the buildings collapsed, 23 NYPD officers were killed, along with 37 Port Authority police officers. The police department helped facilitate the evacuation of civilians out of Lower Manhattan, including approximately 5,000 civilians evacuated by the Harbor Unit to Staten Island and to New Jersey. In ensuing days, the NYPD worked alternating 12-hour shifts to help in the rescue and recovery efforts.

Coast Guard, maritime industry, individual boat owners
Immediately after the first attack, the captains and crews of a large number of local boats steamed into the attack zone to assist in evacuation and provide supplies and water. Water became urgently needed after the Towers' collapse severed downtown water mains.The size of the dust and debris cloud following the collapse of the Twin Towers was such that it necessitated that many of these trips were navigated by radar alone. Estimates of the number of people evacuated by water from Lower Manhattan that day in the eight hour period following the attacks range from 500,000 to 1,000,000. As many as 2,000 injured people in the attacks were reportedly evacuated by this means through there were no reported injuries resulting from the evacuation itself.

Search and rescue efforts

On the day following the attacks, 11 people were rescued from the rubble, including six firefighters and three police officers. One woman was rescued from the rubble, near where a West Side Highway pedestrian bridge had been.Two Port Authority police officers, John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno, were also rescued. Discovered by former U.S. Marines Jason Thomas and Dave Karnes, McLoughlin and Jimeno were pulled out alive after spending nearly 24 hours beneath 30 feet of rubble. Their rescue was later portrayed in the Oliver Stone film, World Trade Center.
Some firefighters and civilians who survived made cell phone calls from voids beneath the rubble, though the amount of debris made it difficult for rescue workers to get to them.
By Wednesday night, 82 deaths had been confirmed by officials in New York City.
Rescue efforts were paused numerous time in the days after the attack, due to concerns that nearby buildings, including One Liberty Plaza, were in danger of collapsing.

Recovery efforts

Firefighter watches debris removal at the World Trade Center on September 28th
The search and rescue effort in the immediate aftermath at the World Trade Center site involved ironworkers, structural engineers, heavy machinery operators, firefighters, police officers, asbestos workers, boilermakers, carpenters, cement masons, construction managers, electricians, emergency medical technicians, insulation workers, machinists, plumbers and pipefitters, riggers, sheet metal workers, steamfitters, steelworkers, truckers and teamsters, American Red Cross volunteers, and many others. Lower Manhattan, south of 14th Street, was off-limits, except for rescue and recovery workers. There were also about 400 working dogs, the largest deployment of dogs in the nation's history.

New York City Office of Emergency Management was the agency responsible for coordination of the City's response to the attacks. Headed by then-Director Richard Sheirer, the agency was forced to vacate its headquarters, located in 7 World Trade Center, within hours of the attack. The building later collapsed due to fire. OEM reestablished operations temporarily at the police academy, where Mayor Giuliani gave many press conferences throughout the afternoon and evening of September 11. By Friday, rescue and reliefs were organized and administered from Pier 92 on the Hudson River.
Volunteers quickly descended on Ground Zero to help in the rescue and recovery efforts. At Jacob Javits Convention Center, thousands showed up to offer help, where they registered with authorities.Construction projects around the city came to a halt, as workers walked off the jobs to help at Ground Zero.Ironworkers, welders, steel burners, and others with such skills were in high demand. By the end of the first week, over one thousand ironworkers from across North America had arrived to help, along with countless others.
The New York City Department of Design and Construction oversaw the recovery efforts. Beginning on September 12, the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY) became involved in the recovery efforts, bringing in experts to review the stability of the rubble, evaluate safety of hundreds of buildings near the site, and designing support for the cranes brought in to clear the debris. The City of New York hired the engineering firm, LZA-Thornton Tomasetti, to oversee the structural engineering operations at the site.
To make the effort more manageable, the World Trade Center site was divided into four quadrants or zones. Each zone was assigned a lead contractor, and a team of three structural engineers, subcontractors, and rescue workers.
AMEC - North Tower along West Street
Bovis Lend Lease - South Tower along Liberty Street
Tully Construction Company, Inc. - Eastern portion of the WTC site
Turner/Plaza Construction Joint Venture - Northern portion and 7 World Trade Center
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) provided support. Forestry Incident Management Teams (IMTs) also provided support beginning in the days after the attacks to help manage operations.
A nearby Burger King restaurant was used as a center for police operations. Given that workers worked at the site, or The Pile, for shifts as long as twelve hours, a specific culture developed at the site, leading to workers developing their own argot.

Debris removal
"The Pile" was the term coined by the rescue workers to describe the tons of wreckage left from the collapse of the World Trade Center. They avoided the use of "ground zero", which describes the epicenter of a bomb explosion.
Numerous volunteers organized to form "bucket brigades", which passed 5-gallon buckets full of debris down a line to investigators, who sifted through the debris in search of evidence and human remains. Ironworkers helped cut up steel beams in to more manageable sizes for removal. Much of the debris was hauled off to the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island where it was searched and sorted.

Reuse of Steel

Steel from the World Trade Center is poured for construction of USS New York
Some of the steel was reused for memorials. New York City firefighters donated a cross made of steel from the World Trade Center to the Shanksville Volunteer Fire Company. The beam, mounted atop a platform shaped like the Pentagon, was erected outside the Shanksville's firehouse near the crash site of United Airlines Flight 93.
Twenty-four tons of the steel used in construction of USS New York (LPD-21) came from the small amount of rubble from the World Trade Center preserved for posterity.

Hazards at the World Trade Center site included a diesel fuel tank buried seven stories below.Approximately 2,000 automobiles that had been in the parking garage also presented a risk, with each containing, on average, at least five gallons of gasoline. Once recovery workers reached down to the parking garage level, they found some cars that had exploded and burned. The United States Customs Service, which was housed in 6 World Trade Center, had 1.2 million rounds of ammunition and weapons in storage in a third-floor vault, to support their firing range.


President George W. Bush speaking at Ground Zero .
In the hours immediately after the attacks on the World Trade Center, three firefighters raised an American flag over the rubble. The flag was taken from a yacht, and the moment, which was captured on a well-known photograph, evoked comparisons to the iconic Iwo Jima photograph.Morale of rescue workers was boosted on September 14, 2001 when President George W. Bush paid a visit to Ground Zero. Using a bullhorn, Bush addressed the firefighters and rescue workers and thanked them. Bush remarked, "I'm shocked at the size of the devastation, It's hard to describe what it's like to see the gnarled steel and broken glass and twisted buildings silhouetted against the smoke. I said that this was the first act of war on America in the 21st century, and I was right, particularly having seen the scene."After some workers shouted that they couldn't hear the President, Bush famously responded by saying "I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon."
At some point, rescue workers realized that they were not going to find any more survivors. After a couple of weeks, the conditions at Ground Zero remained harsh, with lingering odors of decaying human remains and smoke. Morale among workers was boosted by letters they received from children around the United States and the world, as well as support from thousands of neighbors in TriBeCa and other Lower Manhattan neighborhoods.

Military support

Civil Air Patrol

Immediately following the attacks, members of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) were called up to help respond. Northeast Region Commander Colonel Richard Greenhut placed his region on alert mere moments after he learned of the attack. With the exception of CAP, civilian flights were grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration. CAP flew aerial reconnaissance missions over Ground Zero, to provide detailed analysis of the wreckage and to aide in recovery efforts, including transportation of blood donations.

National Guard

Two members of the National Guard at World Trade Center site
The National Guard supplemented the NYPD and FDNY, with 2,250 guard members on the scene by the next morning. The U.S. 69th Infantry Regiment (The Fighting 69th) from Manhattan was the first military force to secure Ground Zero, it formed the core of a task force consisting of local units including Bravo and Charlie companies of the 1/105 Infantry Battalion. The 69th armory on Lexington Avenue became the Family Information Center to assist persons in locating missing family members.
Eventually thousands of Soldiers and Airmen from the NY National Guard participated in the rescue/recovery efforts. They conducted site security at the WTC, and at other locations. They provided the NYPD with support for traffic control, and they participated directly in recovery operations providing manpower in the form of "bucket brigades" sorting through the debris by hand.
Additionally service members provided security at a variety of location throughout the city and New York State to deter further attacks and reassure the public.

US Marine Corps

U.S. marines were also present to assist in the rescue efforts. No official numbers of men who helped out was released but there were evidence that they were there. Films such as 2006 docudrama World Trade Center talked of two marines who rescued two trapped police officers in the rubble.
U.S. Navy
U.S. Navy deployed a hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) to Pier 92 in Manhattan. Crew members provided food and shelter for more than 10,000 relief workers. Comfort's 24-hour galley also provided an impressive 30,000 meals. Its medical resources were also used to provide first-aid and sick call services to nearly 600 people. The ship's psychological response team also saw more than 500 patients.
Handling of cleanup procedure

A May 14, 2007 New York Times article, "Ground Zero Illness Clouding Giuliani's Legacy," gave the interpretation that thousands of workers at Ground Zero have become sick and that "many regard Mr. Giuliani's triumph of leadership as having come with a human cost." The article reported that the mayor seized control of the cleanup of Ground Zero, taking control away from established federal agencies, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. He instead handed over responsibility to the "largely unknown" city Department of Design and Construction. Documents indicate that the Giuliani administration never enforced federal requirements requiring the wearing of respirators. Concurrently, the administration threatened companies with dismissal if cleanup work slowed.
Workers at the Ground Zero pit worked without proper respirators. They wore painters' masks or no facial covering. Specialists claim that the only effective protection against toxins such as airborne asbestos, is a special respirator. New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health industrial hygenist David Newman said, "I was down there watching people working without respirators." He continued, "Others took off their respirators to eat. It was a surreal, ridiculous, unacceptable situation."
The local EPA office sidelined the regional EPA office. Dr. Cate Jenkins, a whistle-blower EPA scientist, said that on September 12, 2001, a regional EPA office offered to dispatch 30 to 40 electron microscopes to the WTC pit to test bulk dust samples for the presence of asbestos fibers. Instead, the local office chose the less effective polarized light microscopy testing method. Dr. Jenkins alleged that the local office refused, and said, "We don't want you fucking cowboys here. The best thing they could do is reassign you to Alaska."
Health effects from responders' exposure to toxins
Main article: Health effects arising from the September 11 attacks

An EPA employee checks one of the many air sampling locations set up around the site of the World Trade Center.
Increasing numbers of Ground Zero workers are getting illnesses, such as cancer.
On January 30, 2007 Ground Zero workers and groups such as Sierra Club and Unsung Heroes Helping Heroes met at the Ground Zero site and urged President George Bush to spend more money on aid for sick Ground Zero workers. They said that the $25 million dollars that Bush promised for the ill workers was inadequate. A Long Island iron-worker, John Sferazo, at the protest rally said, "Why has it taken you 5½ years to meet with us, Mr. President?"
Firefighters, police and their unions, have criticized Mayor Rudy Giuliani over the issue of protective equipment and illnesses after the attacks.An October study by the National Institute of Environmental Safety and Health said that cleanup workers lacked adequate protective gear. The Executive Director of the National Fraternal Order of Police reportedly said of Giuliani: "Everybody likes a Churchillian kind of leader who jumps up when the ashes are still falling and takes over. But two or three good days don't expunge an eight-year record." Sally Regenhard, said, "There's a large and growing number of both FDNY families, FDNY members, former and current, and civilian families who want to expose the true failures of the Giuliani administration when it comes to 9/11." She told the New York Daily News that she intends to "Swift Boat" Giuliani.


Soon after the attacks, New York City commissioned McKinsey & Company to investigate the response of both the New York City Fire Department and New York City Police Department and make recommendations on how to respond more effectively to such large-scale emergencies in the future.
Officials with the International Association of Fire Fighters have also criticized Rudy Giuliani for failing to support modernized radios that might have spared the lives of more firefighters. Some firefighters never heard the evacuation orders and died in the collapse of the towers.

Estimated costs

Estimated total costs, as of October 3, 2001
$5 billion for debris removal
$14 billion for reconstruction
$3 billion in overtime payments to uniformed workers
$1 billion for replacement of destroyed vehicles and equipment
(one Fire Department accident response vehicle costs $400,000)

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1993 WTC bombing

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a special district to serve as the permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution. The District is therefore not a part of any U.S. state and is instead directly overseen by the federal government.
The federal district was formed from land along the Potomac River donated by the states of Maryland and Virginia; however, the Virginia portion was returned by Congress in 1846. A new capital city named after George Washington was founded in 1791 to the east of the preexisting port of Georgetown. The City of Washington, Georgetown, and other outlying areas within the District were consolidated under a single government in 1871, which formed Washington, D.C., as it exists today. The city shares its name with the U.S. state of Washington, located on the country's Pacific coast.
Washington, D.C., has a resident population of 601,723; because of commuters from the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs, its population rises to over one million during the workweek. The Washington Metropolitan Area, of which the District is a part, has a population of nearly 5.6 million, the seventh-largest metropolitan area in the country.
The centers of all three branches of the U.S. federal government are located in the District, as are many of the nation's monuments and museums. Washington, D.C., hosts 176 foreign embassies as well as the headquarters of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organization of American States (OAS), the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). The headquarters of many other institutions such as trade unions, non-profit organizations, lobbying groups, and professional associations are also located in the city.
The District is governed by a mayor and a 13-member city council. However, the United States Congress has supreme authority over the city and may overturn local laws. Residents therefore have less self-governance than residents of the U.S. states. The District has a non-voting, at-large Congressional delegate, but no senators. D.C. residents could not vote in presidential elections until the ratification of the Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1961.


An Algonquian-speaking people known as the Nacotchtank inhabited the area around the Anacostia River when the first Europeans arrived in the 17th century. However, Native American people had largely relocated from the area by the early 18th century.
In his "Federalist No. 43", published January 23, 1788, James Madison argued that the new federal government would need authority over a national capital in order to provide for its own maintenance and security. Five years earlier, a mob of unpaid soldiers besieged the Congress while meeting in Philadelphia, but the Pennsylvania government refused requests to forcibly disperse the protesters. This situation emphasized the need for the national government to not rely on any particular state for security.
Article One, Section Eight of the United States Constitution therefore permits the establishment of a "District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States." The Constitution does not, however, specify a location for the capital. In what later became known as the Compromise of 1790, Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Jefferson came to an agreement that the federal government would assume the states' war debt on the condition that the new national capital would be located in the Southern United States.

On July 16, 1790, Congress passed the Residence Act, which approved the creation of a national capital to be located on the Potomac River, the exact area to be selected by President George Washington. The initial shape of the federal district was a square measuring 10 miles (16 km) on each side, totaling 100 square miles (260 km2), formed from land donated by the states of Maryland and Virginia.
Two preexisting settlements were included in the territory: the port of Georgetown founded in 1751, and the city of Alexandria, Virginia, founded in 1749. During 1791–92, Andrew Ellicott and several assistants, including Benjamin Banneker, surveyed the borders of the federal district and placed boundary stones at every mile point. Many of the stones are still standing.
A new "federal city" was then constructed on the north bank of the Potomac, to the east of the established settlement at Georgetown. On September 9, 1791, the federal city was named in honor of President Washington and the district itself was named Columbia, which was a poetic name for the United States in use at that time. Congress held its first session in Washington on November 17, 1800.
Shortly after arriving in the new capital, Congress passed the Organic Act of 1801, which officially organized the District of Columbia and placed the entire territory under the exclusive control of the federal government. Further, the unincorporated area within the District was organized into two counties: the County of Washington to the east of the Potomac and the County of Alexandria to the west. After the passage of this Act, citizens located in the District were no longer considered residents of Maryland or Virginia, which therefore ended their representation in Congress.
Ford's Theatre in the 19th century, site of the 1865 assassination of President Lincoln
On August 24–25, 1814, in a raid known as the Burning of Washington, British forces invaded the capital during the War of 1812, following the sacking and burning of York (modern-day Toronto). The Capitol, Treasury, and White House were burned and gutted during the attack. Most government buildings were quickly repaired, but the Capitol, which was at the time largely under construction, was not completed in its current form until 1868.
In the 1830s, the District's southern territory of Alexandria went into economic decline partly due to neglect by Congress. Alexandria was a major market in the American slave trade and residents feared that abolitionists in Congress would end slavery in the District, further depressing the economy. As a result, Alexandrians petitioned Virginia to take back the land it had donated to form the District; a process known as retrocession.
The state legislature voted in February 1846 to accept the return of Alexandria and on July 9, 1846, Congress agreed to return all the territory that had been ceded by Virginia. Therefore, the District's current area consists only of land donated by Maryland. Confirming the fears of pro-slavery Alexandrians, the Compromise of 1850 outlawed the slave trade in the District, though not slavery itself.
The outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861 led to notable growth in the District's population due to the expansion of the federal government and a large influx of freed slaves. President Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act in 1862, which ended slavery in the District of Columbia and freed about 3,100 enslaved persons, nine months prior to the Emancipation Proclamation. In 1868, Congress granted male African American residents of the District the right to vote in municipal elections.
By 1870, the District's population had grown 75% from the previous census to nearly 132,000 residents. Despite the city's growth, Washington still had dirt roads and lacked basic sanitation. The situation was so bad that some members of Congress suggested moving the capital further west, but President Ulysses S. Grant refused to consider such a proposal.
In response to the poor conditions in the capital, Congress passed the Organic Act of 1871, which revoked the individual charters of the cities of Washington and Georgetown, and a created a new government for the District of Columbia. The act provided for an appointed governor, a locally elected assembly, and a board of public works charged with modernizing the city. By creating a consolidated government for the whole District, the Organic Act effectively formed present-day Washington, D.C., as a single municipality.
President Grant appointed an influential member of the board of public works, Alexander Robey Shepherd, to the post of governor in 1873. Shepherd authorized large-scale municipal projects, which greatly modernized Washington. In doing so, however, the governor spent three times the money that had been budgeted for capital improvements, bankrupting the city. In 1874, Congress abolished the District's local government and instituted direct rule that would continue for nearly a century. Additional projects to renovate the city were not executed until the McMillan Plan in 1901.
The District's population remained relatively stable until the Great Depression in the 1930s when President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal legislation expanded the bureaucracy in Washington. World War II further increased government activity, adding to the number of federal employees in the capital; by 1950, the District's population reached its peak of 802,178 residents. The Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified in 1961, granting the District three votes in the Electoral College for the election of President and Vice President, but still no voting representation in Congress.
After the assassination of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1968, riots broke out in the District, primarily in the U Street, 14th Street, 7th Street, and H Street corridors, centers of black residential and commercial areas. The riots raged for three days until over 13,000 federal and national guard troops managed to quell the violence. Many stores and other buildings were burned; rebuilding was not complete until the late 1990s.
In 1973, Congress enacted the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, providing for an elected mayor and city council for the District. In 1975, Walter Washington became the first elected and first black mayor of the District.
On September 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 and deliberately crashed the plane into the Pentagon in nearby Arlington, Virginia. United Airlines Flight 93, believed to be destined for Washington, D.C., crashed in Pennsylvania when passengers tried to recover control of the plane from hijackers.

Geography of Washington, D.C.

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal passes through the Georgetown neighborhood.
The District has a total area of 68.3 square miles (177 km2), of which 61.4 square miles (159 km2) is land and 6.9 square miles (18 km2) (10.16%) is water. It is no longer 100 square miles (260 km2) due to the retrocession of the southern portion of the District back to the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1846. The city is therefore surrounded by the states of Maryland to the southeast, northeast, and northwest and Virginia to the southwest. Washington has three major natural flowing streams: the Potomac River and its tributaries the Anacostia River and Rock Creek. Tiber Creek, a watercourse that once passed through the National Mall, was fully enclosed underground during the 1870s.
Contrary to the urban legend, Washington was not built on a reclaimed swamp but wetlands did cover areas along the city's rivers and streams. The highest natural point in the District of Columbia is Point Reno, located in Fort Reno Park in the Tenleytown neighborhood, at 409 feet (125 m) above sea level. The lowest point is sea level at the Potomac River. The geographic center of Washington is located near the intersection of 4th and L Streets NW.
The United States government owns about 23% of the land in the District; lower than the percentage of federal lands in 12 states. Approximately 19.4% of Washington, D.C. is parkland, which ties New York City for largest percentage of parkland among high-density U.S. cities. The large percentage of park area in the District contributes to high urban tree canopy coverage of 35%.
The U.S. National Park Service manages most of the natural habitat in Washington, D.C., including Rock Creek Park, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, the National Mall, Theodore Roosevelt Island, the Constitution Gardens, Meridian Hill Park, and Anacostia Park. The only significant area of natural habitat not managed by the National Park Service is the U.S. National Arboretum, which is operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Great Falls of the Potomac River are located upstream (northwest) of Washington. During the 19th century, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which starts in Georgetown, was used to allow barge traffic to bypass the falls.

Climate of Washington, D.C.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is celebrated around the city each spring.
Washington is located in the humid subtropical climate zone (Köppen: Cfa), exhibiting four distinct seasons. Its climate is typical of Mid-Atlantic U.S. areas removed from bodies of water. The District is located in plant hardiness zone 8a near downtown, and zone 7b elsewhere in the city, indicating a temperate climate. Spring and fall are warm, while winter is cool with annual snowfall averaging 14.7 inches (37 cm). Winter temperatures average around 38 °F (3.3 °C) from mid-December to mid-February. Blizzards affect Washington on average once every four to six years. The most violent storms are called "nor'easters", which typically feature high winds, heavy rains, and occasional snow. These storms often affect large sections of the U.S. East Coast.
Summers are hot and humid with a July daily average of 79.2 °F (26.2 °C) and average daily relative humidity around 66%, which can cause medium to moderate personal discomfort. The combination of heat and humidity in the summer brings very frequent thunderstorms, some of which occasionally produce tornadoes in the area. While hurricanes (or their remnants) occasionally track through the area in late summer and early fall, they have often weakened by the time they reach Washington, partly due to the city's inland location. Flooding of the Potomac River, however, caused by a combination of high tide, storm surge, and runoff, has been known to cause extensive property damage in Georgetown.
The highest recorded temperature was 106 °F (41 °C) on July 20, 1930, and August 6, 1918, while the lowest recorded temperature was −15 °F (−26 °C) on February 11, 1899, during the Great Blizzard of 1899. Over the year, the city averages 37 days hotter than 90 °F (32.2 °C) and 64 nights at or below freezing.


Streets and highways of Washington, D.C., 

L'Enfant's plan for Washington, D.C., as revised by Andrew Ellicott in 1792
Washington, D.C. is a planned city. The design for the City of Washington was largely the work of Pierre (Peter) Charles L’Enfant, a French-born architect, engineer, and city planner who first arrived in the colonies as a military engineer with Major General Lafayette during the American Revolutionary War. In 1791, President Washington commissioned L'Enfant to plan the layout of the new capital city. At L’Enfant’s request, Thomas Jefferson provided plans of cities such as Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt, Karlsruhe and Milan, which he had brought back from Europe in 1788. The plan for Washington was modeled in the Baroque style and incorporated avenues radiating out from rectangles, providing room for open space and landscaping. L'Enfant's design also envisioned a garden-lined "grand avenue" approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) in length and 400 feet (120 m) wide in the area that is now the National Mall.
In March 1792, President Washington dismissed L'Enfant due to his insistence on micromanaging the city's planning, which had resulted in conflicts with the three commissioners appointed by Washington to supervise the capital's construction. Andrew Ellicott, who had worked with L'Enfant surveying the city, was then commissioned to complete the plans. Though Ellicott made revisions to the original plans, including changes to some street patterns, L'Enfant is still credited with the overall design of the city. The City of Washington was bounded by what is now Florida Avenue to the north, Rock Creek to the west, and the Anacostia River to the east.
By the start of the 20th century, L'Enfant's vision of a capital with open parks and grand national monuments had become marred by slums and randomly placed buildings, including a railroad station on the National Mall. In 1900, Congress formed a joint committee, headed by Senator James McMillan, charged with beautifying Washington's ceremonial core. What became known as the McMillan Plan was finalized in 1901. It included the re-landscaping of the Capitol grounds and the Mall, constructing new Federal buildings and monuments, clearing slums, and establishing a new citywide park system. Architects recruited by the committee kept much of the city's original layout, and their work is thought have largely preserved L'Enfant's intended design.
Congress passed the Heights of Buildings Act after the construction of the twelve-story Cairo Apartment Building in 1894. The Act was amended in 1910 to restrict building heights to the width of the adjacent street plus 20 feet (6.1 m). As a result, Washington's skyline is low and sprawling, in keeping with its Parisian-style design. Despite popular belief, no law has ever limited buildings to the height of the United States Capitol or the 555-foot (169 m) Washington Monument, which remains the District's tallest structure. City leaders have criticized the height restriction as a primary reason why the District has limited affordable housing and traffic problems caused by urban sprawl.
The District is divided into four quadrants of unequal area: Northwest (NW), Northeast (NE), Southeast (SE), and Southwest (SW). The axes bounding the quadrants radiate from the U.S. Capitol building. All road names include the quadrant abbreviation to indicate their location, and house numbers are assigned based on the approximate number of blocks away from the Capitol. In most of the city, the streets are set out in a grid pattern with east–west streets named with letters (e.g., C Street SW) and north–south streets with numbers (e.g., 4th Street NW). Some Washington streets are particularly noteworthy, such as Pennsylvania Avenue, which connects the White House with the U.S. Capitol, and K Street, which houses the offices of many lobbying groups. Washington hosts 176 foreign embassies, many of which are located on a section of Massachusetts Avenue informally known as Embassy Row.


The architecture of Washington varies greatly. Six of the top 10 buildings in the American Institute of Architects' 2007 ranking of "America's Favorite Architecture" are located in the District of Columbia: the White House; the Washington National Cathedral; the Thomas Jefferson Memorial; the United States Capitol; the Lincoln Memorial; and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The neoclassical, Georgian, gothic, and modern architectural styles are all reflected among those six structures and many other prominent edifices in Washington. Notable exceptions include buildings constructed in the French Second Empire style such as the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
Outside downtown Washington, architectural styles are even more varied. Historic buildings are designed primarily in the Queen Anne, Châteauesque, Richardsonian Romanesque, Georgian revival, Beaux-Arts, and a variety of Victorian styles. Rowhouses are especially prominent in areas developed after the Civil War and typically follow Federalist and late Victorian designs. Since Georgetown was established before the city of Washington, the neighborhood features the District's oldest architecture. Georgetown's Old Stone House was built in 1765, making it the oldest-standing original building in the city. The majority of current homes in the neighborhood, however, were not built until the 1870s and reflect late Victorian designs of the period. Founded in 1789, Georgetown University is more distinct from the neighborhood and features a mix of Romanesque and Gothic Revival architecture. The Ronald Reagan Building is the largest building in the District with a total area of approximately 3.1 million square feet (288,000 m2).

Demographics of Washington, D.C.
Historical populations
Census Pop. %±
1800 8,144

1810 15,471 90.0%
1820 23,336 50.8%
1830 30,261 29.7%
1840 33,745 11.5%
1850 51,687 53.2%
1860 75,080 45.3%
1870 131,700 75.4%
1880 177,624 34.9%
1890 230,392 29.7%
1900 278,718 21.0%
1910 331,069 18.8%
1920 437,571 32.2%
1930 486,869 11.3%
1940 663,091 36.2%
1950 802,178 21.0%
1960 763,956 −4.8%
1970 756,510 −1.0%
1980 638,333 −15.6%
1990 606,900 −4.9%
2000 572,059 −5.7%
2010 601,723 5.2%

The 2010 United States Census found that the District had a population of 601,657; the first recorded growth since 1950. During the workweek, however, commuters from the suburbs swell the District's population by over 70%, to a daytime population of over one million people. If the District were a state, it would rank 50th in population ahead of Wyoming.
The Washington Metropolitan Area, which includes the District and surrounding localities, is the seventh-largest metropolitan area in the United States with approximately 5.6 million residents as of the 2010 Census. When the Washington area is included with Baltimore and its suburbs, the Baltimore–Washington Metropolitan Area had a population exceeding 8.5 million residents in 2010, the fourth-largest combined statistical area in the country.
According to the 2010 Census, the population distribution of Washington, D.C. was 50.7% Black or African American, 38.5% White, 3.5% Asian, and 0.3% American Indian. Individuals from other races made up 4.1% of the District's population while individuals from two or more races made up 2.9%. In addition, Hispanics of any race made up 9.1% of the District's population. About 16% of D.C. residents were age 18 or younger as of 2010; lower than the U.S. average of 24%. However, at 34 years old, the District also had the lowest median age when compared to the 50 states. As of 2007, there were an estimated 74,000 foreign immigrants living in Washington, D.C. Major sources of immigration include individuals from El Salvador, Vietnam, and Ethiopia, with some concentration of Salvadorans in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood.
Unique among cities with a high percentage of African Americans, Washington has had a significant black population since the city's creation. This is partly a result of the manumission of slaves in the Upper South after the American Revolutionary War. The free black population in the region climbed from an estimated 1% before the war to 10% by 1810. By 1860, approximately 80% of the city's 11,000 African American residents were free persons. Black residents composed about 30% of the District's total population between 1800 and 1940.
Washington's African American population reached a peak of 70% of the city's residents by 1970. Since then, however, the number of black residents has steadily declined due to many African Americans leaving the city for the surrounding suburbs. At the same time, the city's white population has steadily increased, in part due to effects of gentrification in many of Washington's traditionally black neighborhoods. This is evident in a 11.5% decrease in the black population and a 31.4% increase in the non-Hispanic white population since 2000. At the same time, Washington, D.C. has become the top destination for African American professionals who are moving to the area in a "New Great Migration" seeking increased job opportunities.
Researchers using data from the 2000 Census revealed that an estimated 33,000 adults in the District of Columbia identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, about 8.1% of the city's adult population. The city council passed legislation in 2009 authorizing same-sex marriage and the District began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in March 2010.
A report in the year 2007 found that about one-third of District residents are functionally illiterate, compared to a national rate of about one in five. This is attributed in part to immigrants who are not proficient in English.[83] In contrast to the high rate of functional illiteracy, nearly 46% of D.C.'s residents have at least a four-year college degree. In 2006, D.C. residents had a personal income per capita of $55,755, higher than any of the 50 U.S. states. However, 19% of residents were below the poverty level in 2005, higher than any state except Mississippi. According to data from 2008, more than half of District residents identify as Christian: 28% of residents are Baptists, 13% are Roman Catholic, and 31% are members of other Christian denominations. Residents who practice other faiths make up 6% of the population and 18% do not adhere to a religion.
Over 90% of D.C. residents have health insurance coverage; the second-highest rate in the nation. This is due in part to city programs that help provide insurance to low-income individuals who do not qualify for other types of coverage. A 2009 report found that at least 3% of District residents have HIV or AIDS, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) characterizes as a "generalized and severe" epidemic.

Crime in Washington, D.C.

See also: Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia
During the violent crime wave of the early 1990s, Washington, D.C. was known as the murder capital of the United States and often rivaled New Orleans in the number of homicides. The number of murders peaked in 1991 at 479, but the level of violence declined drastically in the 1990s. By 2009, the annual murder count in the city had declined to 143, the lowest number since 1966. In total, reports of violent crimes and property crimes have both declined by half since 1993.
Like most large cities, crime is highest in areas associated with illegal drugs and gangs. A 2010 study found that 5% of city blocks contributed to over one-quarter of the District's total crime. The more affluent neighborhoods of Northwest Washington are typically safe, but reports of violent crime increase in poorer neighborhoods generally concentrated in the eastern portion of the city. Approximately 60,000 residents of Washington, D.C. are ex-convicts.
Many neighborhoods such as Columbia Heights and Logan Circle are becoming safer and vibrant. However, incidents of robberies and thefts have remained higher in these areas due increased nightlife activity and greater numbers of affluent residents. While instances of property crime remain high, reports are still half the level cited during the mid-1990s, and the patterns of theft continue to disperse to the north and east of downtown.
On June 26, 2008, the Supreme Court of the United States held in District of Columbia v. Heller that the city's 1976 handgun ban violated the Second Amendment right to gun ownership. However, the ruling does not prohibit all forms of gun control; laws requiring firearm registration remain in place, as does the city's assault weapon ban.

All About:

Education in Washington, D.C.

District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) operates the city's public school system, which consists of 129 schools and learning centers. The number of students in DCPS steadily decreased for 39 years until 2010.  In the 2009–10 school year, 45,772 students were enrolled in the public school system. DCPS has one of the highest-cost yet lowest-performing school systems in the country, both in terms of infrastructure and student achievement. Mayor Adrian Fenty's administration made sweeping changes to the system by closing schools, replacing teachers, firing principals, and using private education firms to aid curriculum development.
Due to the problems with the D.C. public school system, enrollment in public charter schools has increased 13% each year since 2001. The District of Columbia Public Charter School Board monitors the 52 public charter schools in the city. As of fall 2010, D.C. charter schools had a total enrollment of about 28,000. The District is home to some of the nation's top private schools. In 2006, approximately 18,000 students were enrolled in the city's 83 private schools. The District of Columbia Public Library operates 25 neighborhood locations including the landmark Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.
Private universities include American University (AU), the Catholic University of America (CUA), Gallaudet University, George Washington University (GW), Georgetown University (GU), Howard University, and the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). The Corcoran College of Art and Design provides specialized arts instruction and other higher-education institutions offer continuing, distance and adult education. The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) is a public university providing undergraduate and graduate education. The District is known for its medical research institutions such as Washington Hospital Center and the Children's National Medical Center, as well as the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. In addition, the city is home to three medical schools and associated teaching hospitals at George Washington, Georgetown, and Howard universities.

List of colleges and universities in Washington, D.C.. This list also includes other educational institutions providing higher education, meaning tertiary, quaternary, and, in some cases, post-secondary education.

Federal institutions

National Defense University
National War College
National Defense Intelligence College
[edit]Four-year institutions
University of the District of Columbia

Graduate institutions
David A. Clarke School of Law (UDC)
Graduate School

Private institutions

Four-year institutions
American University
The Catholic University of America
Corcoran College of Art and Design
Gallaudet University (federally chartered university, receives federal funding)
The George Washington University
Georgetown University
Howard University (federally chartered university, receives federal funding)
Strayer University
Trinity Washington University (undergraduate liberal arts college)
Wesley Theological Seminary

Graduate institutions
Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law
The George Washington University Law School (formerly the National Law Center at George Washington University)
Georgetown University Law Center
Howard University School of Law
Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies
American University Washington College of Law
Dominican House of Studies Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception
Institute of World Politics
International Circle of Faith Colleges and Seminaries
Washington Theological Union

Defunct institutions

Mount Vernon College for Women (acquired by George Washington University)
Southeastern University (acquired by Graduate School)

Transportation in Washington, D.C.

Metro Center is the transfer station for the Red, Orange, and Blue Metrorail lines.
According to a 2010 study, Washington-area commuters spent 70 hours a year in traffic delays, which tied with Chicago for having the nation's worst road congestion. However, 37% of Washington-area commuters take public transportation to work, the second-highest rate in the country. An additional 11% of D.C. commuters walked to work, 7% carpooled, and 2% traveled by bicycle in 2009. A 2011 study by Walk Score found that Washington was the seventh-most walkable city in the country with 80% of residents living in neighborhoods that are not car dependent.
An extensive network of streets, parkways, and arterial avenues forms the core of the District's surface transportation infrastructure. Due to protests by local residents during the freeway revolts of the 1960s, much of the proposed interstate highway system through the middle of Washington was never built. Interstate 95, the nation's major east coast highway, therefore bends around the District to form the eastern portion of the Capital Beltway. The funds that had been dedicated for additional highway construction were instead redirected to the region's public transportation infrastructure. The interstate highways that do continue into Washington, including Interstate 66 and Interstate 395, both terminate shortly upon entering the city.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) operates the Washington Metro, the city's rapid transit system, as well as Metrobus. Both systems serve the District and its suburbs. Metro opened on March 27, 1976 and presently consists of 86 stations and 106.3 miles (171.1 km) of track.[189] With an average of about one million trips each weekday, Metro is the second-busiest rapid transit system in the country, after the New York City Subway. Metrobus serves over 400,000 riders each weekday, making it the nation's sixth-largest bus system. The city also operates its own DC Circulator bus system, which connects commercial areas within central Washington.
Union Station is the main train station in Washington, D.C., and handles approximately 70,000 people each day. It is Amtrak's second-busiest station with 4.6 million passengers annually and serves as the southern terminus for the Northeast Corridor and Acela Express routes. Maryland's MARC and Virginia's VRE commuter trains and the Metrorail Red Line also provide service into Union Station. Expansion plans announced in 2011 will make Union Station the city's primary intercity bus transit center.
Three major airports serve the District. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is located across from downtown Washington in Arlington, Virginia and has its own Metrorail station. Given its proximity to the city, Reagan National has extra security precautions required by the Washington Air Defense Identification Zone. Major international flights arrive and depart from Washington Dulles International Airport, located 26.3 miles (42.3 km) west of the District in Fairfax and Loudoun counties in Virginia. Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is located 31.7 miles (51.0 km) northeast of the District in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.
An expected 32% increase in transit usage within the District has spurred construction of a new DC Streetcar system to interconnect the city's neighborhoods.Construction has also started on an additional Metro line that will connect Washington to Dulles airport. The District and adjacent Arlington County launched Capital Bikeshare in September 2010; it is currently one of the largest bicycle sharing systems in the country with over 1,100 bicycles and 110 stations. Marked bicycle lanes currently exist on 48 miles (77 km) of streets and the city plans to further expand the network.

Streets and highways of Washington, D.C.

City streets in the District of Columbia are organized primarily in a grid-like fashion with its origin at the United States Capitol, with diagonal streets running across this grid, as well as circles—a plan laid out by Pierre L'Enfant and revised by Andrew Ellicott and Joseph Ellicott. The north-south roads are primarily named with numbers (i.e. 1st Street, 2nd Street, etc.), while the east-west roads are primarily named with letters (i.e. A Street, B Street, etc.). Among this network of streets, there are diagonal avenues or streets; these avenues are named after each of the 50 United States. Within this grid, all streets are a part of one of the four quadrants, the center being the Capitol Building. There are a Northeast (NE), Northwest (NW), Southeast (SE), and Southwest (SW). All roads end with this suffix at the end of their title. For example, there is a 4th Street NE, 4th Street NW, 4th Street SE, and 4th Street SW.
Exceptions to this nomenclature include the names of the streets that line the National Mall. The north side of the mall is lined by Constitution Avenue, whereas the south side of the mall is lined by Independence Avenue. Both streets follow the NE, NW, SE, SW rule.
Major interstates running through the area include the Capital Beltway (I-495), I-66, I-95, I-395 (also called the Southwest/Southeast Freeway in D.C. or Shirley Highway in Virginia), I-295 (also called the Anacostia Freeway or Kenilworth Avenue), and I-270 (which does not reach D.C., terminating at I-495). Other major highways include the Whitehurst Freeway, in D.C., the George Washington Parkway in Virginia, the Rock Creek Parkway in D.C., the Suitland Parkway in D.C. and Maryland, US Route 50, the Clara Barton Parkway and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in Maryland, and the Dulles Toll Road in Virginia. Portions of I-66 and I-95/I-395 in Virginia are HOV roads (only vehicles carrying multi-occupants or using hybrid energy are allowed on during weekday rush hours).


Washington Metro

The Washington area is served by the Washington Metro public transportation system, operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). WMATA also operates Metrobus, a regional bus system serving D.C. and the closest immediate counties (described further below). The Washington Metro connects with both commuter rail and intercity rail systems at Union Station.

Commuter rail

MARC provides service from Union Station to Baltimore and Perryville with intermediate stops, on both the Camden and Penn Lines. MARC's Brunswick line provides service between Martinsburg, West Virginia with intermediate stops, and Union Station. A new spur of the Brunswick line also goes to Frederick, Maryland. All three lines of Maryland's MARC train system begin at Union Station in Washington where passengers can transfer to the Washington Metro's Red Line; Metrorail service is also provided to New Carrollton (Orange Line) and, College Park — University of Maryland and Greenbelt (Green Line); and Silver Spring and Rockville stations in Montgomery County (Red Line).
Virginia Railway Express commuter trains provide service from Union Station to Fredericksburg and Manassas, Virginia. VRE trains also stop at several Metro stations, including L'Enfant Plaza, Crystal City, King Street, and Franconia-Springfield.

Northeast Corridor
Amtrak's Acela Express and Northeast Regional provides service on the high speed Northeast Corridor from Washington's Union Station to Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston, as well as intermediate stops. In addition, the Vermonter provides service to Burlington, Vermont via New York. The Palmetto provides service to Georgia, the Crescent provides service to New Orleans, and Amtrak's Silver Service trains provide service to Florida, all en route from New York. The Capitol Limited and Cardinal, the latter using a much longer and more southerly route via West Virginia and Virginia, provide rail service between Washington, D.C. and Chicago. Amtrak's nonstop service Auto Train to Sanford, Florida originates 30 minutes south of the city in Lorton, Virginia. Connections to Washington Metro are offered at Union Station in Washington, at New Carrollton Station in Prince George's County, at Rockville in Montgomery County, and at the adjacent King Street Station and Alexandria Union Station in Alexandria.

Metrobus (Washington, D.C.)

Metrobus is a bus service operated by Metro, consisting of 176 bus lines serving 12,301 stops, including 3,133 bus shelters and nearly every Metrorail station. In fiscal year 2006, Metrobus provided 131 million trips, 39% of all Washington Metro trips.[5] It serves D.C. and the inner ring of suburban counties. The Maryland Department of Transportation and several privately-operated companies provide bus service during weekday rush hours between D.C. and more distant counties such as Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Howard, and St. Mary's in Maryland; and Fredericksburg, Loudoun, Prince William, and Stafford in Virginia.

DC Circulator

DC Circulator is a downtown circulator bus system owned by the District of Columbia Department of Transportation, with five routes connecting points of interest in the city center.

Inter-city bus

The Union Station bus station is two blocks from Washington's Greyhound Lines station, which is also served by Peter Pan Bus Lines. A bus stop for the Chinatown bus lines is near Gallery Place–Chinatown and the Verizon Center. The Greenbelt Metro station also has a bus line that commutes to the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, which connects Metro to the Baltimore area's MTA buses and light rail system. MTA Commuter Bus also serves limited parts of Montgomery and Prince George's Counties in Maryland.

Student transportation

Several Metrorail stations offer connections to Home Ride, a bus service which connects Virginia Tech, Radford University, James Madison University, and the University of Virginia to the northern Virginia area. Many students at these schools use Home Ride as a method for getting home on weekends.
Higher education campuses in the area also offer on-site and commuter transportation, such as the University of Maryland's Shuttle-UM.

Airport transportation

Metrorail's Yellow and Blue Lines serve Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Express bus service from L'Enfant Plaza, West Falls Church and Rosslyn is provided to Washington Dulles International Airport. Baltimore-Washington International Airport is served by express bus from Greenbelt, and by rail from Union Station by MARC and Amtrak, although MARC's service only runs Monday-Friday. There is also a planned station for Dulles airport on the upcoming Silver Line.

Cars in Washington, D.C.

Slugging (carpooling and vanpooling)

Slugging, also known as casual carpooling, is the practice of forming ad hoc, informal carpools for purposes of commuting, essentially a variation of ride-share commuting and hitchhiking. Prospective riders gather in the morning at designated points near commuter parking lots in Northern Virginia to accept rides from drivers seeking to meet the high occupancy vehicle requirements of I-66 or of the reversible lanes of I-395. In the afternoon, they gather at the Pentagon and points around Washington for travel back to Northern Virginia.

Car sharing

In December 2001, Metro initiated a relationship with Flexcar, a private company which operates car sharing networks in several North American cities. A competitor, Zipcar, began service in the region and later merged with Flexcar on October 31, 2007. With this service, cars are parked at major Metrorail stations and other convenient locations in the metropolitan area and made available for rental on an hourly basis, with the goal of reducing car dependency and congestion, improving the environment, and increasing transit ridership.


Aviation in Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. is served by three major airports: two are located in suburban Virginia and one in Maryland. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (IATA: DCA, ICAO: KDCA) is the closest — located in Arlington County, Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Hains Point, and accessible via Washington Metro. The airport is conveniently located near to the downtown area; however it has somewhat restricted flights to airports within the United States because of noise and security concerns. Most major international flights arrive and depart from Washington Dulles International Airport (IATA: IAD, ICAO: KIAD), located 26.3 miles (42.3 km) west of the city in Fairfax and Loudoun counties in Virginia. Dulles is the second busiest international gateway on the Eastern Seaboard. It is the Washington region's busiest airport in terms of passengers served. Dulles offers service from several low-cost carriers including JetBlue, although the low-cost selection decreased greatly when Independence Air (which was headquartered at Dulles) folded in January 2006. Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (IATA: BWI, ICAO: KBWI), is located 31.7 miles (51.0 km) northeast of the city in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, south of Baltimore. BWI is notable for its variety of low-cost carriers, such as Southwest Airlines, and its few international flights, on carriers such as Air Canada and British Airways.
Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport are operated by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.
General aviation is additionally available at several smaller airfields, including Montgomery County Airpark (Gaithersburg, Maryland), College Park Airport (College Park, Maryland), Potomac Airfield (Friendly CDP of Prince George's County, Maryland), and Manassas Regional Airport (Manassas, Virginia). Since 2003, the general aviation airports closest to Washington, D.C. have had their access strictly limited by the implementation of the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).


There is a network of 45 miles (72 km) dedicated bicycle lanes around Washington, D.C. and there are 1,300 bicycle racks installed on sidewalks all over the city. An estimated 3.3% of the District's residents biked to work in 2010, and by 2008 the city had the sixth-highest percentage of bike commuters in the United States.
There are also two bicycle sharing services. SmartBike DC was launched in 2008 and Capital Bikeshare began services in September 2010. Washington D.C. currently has the largest bike sharing service in the U.S. with 1,100 bicycles and 110 rental locations.