Officials have revised the early projections that 4 to 5 million people would attend the upcoming presidential inauguration, decreasing estimates by approximately half.

Despite some of these new predictions, there remains no universal agreement among officials as to how many people will show up on Inauguration Day.

“Nobody knows for sure what that number is,” Leslie Kershaw, a spokesperson for Mayor Adrian Fenty, said. “And we are preparing for the highest numbers we can at this point.”

According to D.C. City Administrator Dan Tangherlini, the early estimates of 4 million are “the high end of what the number could possibly be after estimating the capacity of the area.”

Tangherlini said that the National Mall can hold approximately 3 million people, and adding the surrounding areas makes a maximum of 4 million.

“Our job is to maximize the amount of people that can attend, and be ready for the most people possible,” Tangherlini said.

Tangherlini added that the attendance number is difficult to predict because of the variety of factors involved – including constraints on transportation systems and inclement weather.

These concerns have Georgetown students reconsidering attending the inauguration.

“I understand that this is a historic event, but if I have walk to the National Mall at 4:00 [a.m.] and wait in the freezing cold for the ceremony, which I probably will barely be able to see, it just might not be worth it,” Alex Wilson (MSB ’11) said. “I would probably get a better view on TV without having to deal with all the chaos.”

According to a recent Washington Post article, an estimated 500,000 people will be arriving in D.C. in charter buses, while about 400,000 people could arrive to D.C. via plane into one of the D.C. area’s three airports in the week preceeding the inauguration. An estimated 75,000 people could arrive by Amtrak and Maryland Rail Commuter service, while the Virginia Railway Express commuter trains could carry another 50,000 into the district on Jan. 20.

The weather is also an important factor in determining the presidential inauguration crowds. Ronald Reagan’s second swearing-in ceremony had to be moved indoors as a result of temperatures below negative 10 degrees. Despite a blanket of snow at John F. Kennedy’s 1961 inauguration, approximately one million people turned out at the event. At this point, such harsh conditions are not predicted for Obama’s inauguration.

“The weather is looking likely to cooperate,” Tangherlini said.

As of last night, the Weather Channel predicts Tuesday to be mostly cloudy and 33 degrees.

On Inauguration Day, numerous methods will be used to more accurately assess the size of the crowd, including helicopter fly-overs.

At this point, predictions point to the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama drawing the largest crowd ever recorded on the National Mall. The record is currently set at 1.2 million for President Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1965 inauguration. More recently, President Bill Clinton drew about 800,000 people to his 1993 inauguration, and President George W. Bush’s 2005 inauguration crowd reached 400,000, according to a USA Today article.

“I am confident that this will be a record number for the presidential inauguration,” Tangherlini said.

Georgetown has been kept up-to-date with these predictions to best deal with the influx of people into D.C. this weekend.

“University officials continue to coordinate with local authorities for information related to inaugural events and to best understand any impacts that logistical planning may have on campus,” Andy Pino, director of media relations, said.

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