Inauguration Fencing And Concrete Barriers Have Started Coming Down The "Field of Flags" display on the Mall will also disappear early Thursday, meaning residents won't get to see it in person.
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Inauguration Fencing And Concrete Barriers Have Started Coming Down

The National Guard at one of the downtown checkpoints on Inauguration Day. Tyrone Turner/WAMU/DCist hide caption

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Tyrone Turner/WAMU/DCist

On Wednesday evening, crews began methodically removing the unprecedented security measures that have overtaken the District in the lead-up to President Joe Biden't inauguration.

Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio says it will take about 36 hours to remove all the barriers and fencing across the city's central business district. Crews will begin at 6 p.m. on major streets like 7th, 9th, and 12th, and work east to west, he says.

"This will take some time," Falcicchio tweeted. "Give crews time/space to work safely." Indoor dining will also resume Friday morning with 25% indoor capacity.

Downtown Metro stations will also remain closed until Friday, Falcicchio said in a call with DCist/WAMU.

Mayor Muriel Bowser has said at prior press conferences that the city will need a find a "new normal" and a "new posture" for security after the violent attack on the Capitol on January 6. She says increased security in the downtown area should not be permanent and that she would work with DC Homeland Security to make sure security needs are met.

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"We don't want fences and armed troops in our city any longer than they need to be, but we need to be smart in our new posture," she said Tuesday.

A spokesperson for Bowser says more information on the larger security conversation will come later.

Bowser took to Twitter Wednesday night to thank D.C. residents and businesses for putting up with "intense security" ahead of the inauguration.

Meanwhile, a display of 191,500 flags on the National Mall will also be removed starting Thursday morning, likely before all the security measures have been removed and the public can get a good look.

The flags represent the people who could not attend the inauguration because of the pandemic. The display takes up nearly 10 blocks of the National Mall (from 3rd to 13th Street) that would usually be filled with fans of the President on Inauguration Day. There are sections with American and state and territory flags, plus a giant American flag.

At night, the "Field of Flags" installation is lit up by 56 spotlights, representing the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the other territories. Residents can see the lights from Arlington National Cemetery, the high hill of Cardozo High School and many other places around the region.

A field of flags is spread across the National Mall, with the Washington Monument in the background on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, as seen from the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on the evening ahead of the 59th Presidential Inauguration in Washington. Susan Walsh/AP Photo hide caption

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Susan Walsh/AP Photo

The National Mall has been closed to the public as part of the inauguration security. Fencing surrounds most of the area, and downtown has been divided up into "Red Zone" and "Green Zone" security areas.

Many District-area Twitter users expressed interest in seeing the display in person. but that likely won't be possible.

Officials with Biden Inaugural and the National Park Service say the security perimeter won't be fully down before the flags are removed Thursday. However, the public can take a look at the display on Google Street View.

This story is from DCist.com, the local news website of WAMU.

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