Gloved individuals donning ski hats and carrying blankets and bags of snacks huddled together at the Silver Spring metro at 5:45 a.m. Monday morning. They were beginning a potentially crowded and arduous trip into the District to attend President Barack Obama's inaugural.
But as the metro car pulled up, it was nearly empty. Everyone got a seat. Some people took two. The car was barely filled by the time riders disembarked at Union Station and Judiciary Square, key inauguration stops.
The District Monday morning had so far drawn nowhere near the number of guests that descended upon the city in 2009. According to anecdotes, streets near the White House were busy at 6 a.m., but very walkable.
Groups of ticket holders near the White House calmly waited in designated corners.
Those scenes seemed to validate the District of Columbia's decision Monday to lower projected turnout estimates from 600,000-800,000 to between 500,000 and 700,000, according to the Associated Press.
An estimated 1.8 million people stood on the National Mall in 2009 to watch the president's historic swearing-in.