updated 12/4/2008 12:51:31 PM ET 2008-12-04T17:51:31

President-elect Barack Obama's inaugural committee says, in a change from tradition, the entire length of the National Mall will be open to the public during his inauguration.

The announcement came Thursday from the committee, which has pledged to make Obama's inauguration "the most open and accessible in history."

People who cannot get the 240,000 tickets to the swearing in on the Capitol building grounds can fill the mall, an open-area national park in downtown Washington that stretches from the steps of the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial. In the past, parts of the mall have been closed off as a parade staging area.

The Park Service says it is expecting at least 1 million people for the inaugural, and the city has put the number as high as 5 million.

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