Inaugural Crowds May Turn D.C. Into Parking Lot

Estimates that as many as 5 million people will descend on Washington, D.C., for the presidential inauguration have been dismissed, but city officials are still preparing for a large turnout.

City Administrator Dan Tangherlini tells NPR's Robert Siegel that the district does not know the exact number of people who will attend, "so what we have to do is be prepared for the highest-end estimates."

Tangherlini calls the estimation of crowds "more art than a science," noting that the district is looking at how many people the Metro transit agency can carry, how many people have booked flights and how many hotel rooms have sold out.

"But we simply don't know how many people will simply walk here from other parts of the region or neighborhoods and how many people will try to drive," he says.

His advice: Don't drive.

The district has expanded parking restrictions so a record number of tour buses can be accommodated.

"We think that people, particularly if they think they're going to drive their own vehicle here, have to start thinking about a plan of where they're going to park," Tangherlini says.

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