New Department of Transportation data shows just how many people may have been on beaches near Port Aransas this weekend
Matt Pierce Briscoe
Port Aransas — We now have at least some idea of how many people filled area beaches at Port Aransas this weekend, according to information from the Texas Department of Transportation.
Between the dates of April 30 and May 3, a total of 45,077 vehicles traveled across the Texas Department of Transportation Ferry at Port Aransas. The data does not include the amount of traffic that came into Port Aransas via State Highway 361 from Corpus Christi.
While some have noted that crowds seemed to be abiding by recommendations for social distancing, observers also reported that the claim of light crowds and proper social distancing was nothing more than an inaccurate account of what was really being experienced on area beaches.
“Let’s just take that number and cut in half,” says Corpus Christi resident James Johnson. “That is still 22,538 vehicles that utilized the ferry system and that is assuming that each vehicle only had one person in it. That’s still a bunch of people.”
Just up the coast in Galveston, they reported higher than normal projections at their beach as well. I’m fact, they estimated that as many as 100,000 people visited their beaches over the weekend. The data available from TxDot on Wednesday suggests that Port Aransas may not have been far behind.
The number of beach visitors to Galveston concerned managers in that city to take action.
“They opened the beaches, and now they need to help us manage the crowds and get them under control,” Galveston city officials wrote to Texas Governor Greg Abbott and General Land Office Commissioner George P. Bush on Tuesday.
Port Aransas Mayor Charels Bujan said that he has reached out for help, too.
“I did, too,” Mayor Bujan told the Southside Light News on Wednesday. “I have sent a message up to Governor Abbott asking him for help with this.”
The Southside Light reaches out to both the General Land Office and to Governor Abbott to get a response. They have yet to respond.