Halloween means afternoon commute begins earlier

"For children it's one of the most dangerous nights of the year," says AAA Mid Atlantic's John Townsend. (Jemal Countess/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON – It’s not meant to spook you, but be aware that Halloween brings with it changes to the afternoon commute.

The commute on Halloween traditionally starts earlier in the day as parents time-shift and head home to get their children ready to trick-or-treat.

“Every mother or father will be leaving around 3 or 4 o’clock in the afternoon,” says WTOP Traffic Director Jim Battagliese.

Because you can’t compress everybody’s rush hour, roads get gridlocked.

Battagliese’s recommendation to commuters is to leave before 3 p.m.

“If you can leave at lunchtime, that’s the best time to leave,” he says.

If you have no plans to greet the trick-or-treaters and hand out candy or to take part in any Halloween festivities, leave after 6 p.m. or 7 p.m.

Road Closures

Drivers also need to be aware that there may be delays due to street closures in D.C.

Southbound 14th Street in Northwest will be closed between G Street and Pennsylvania Avenue through Saturday, according to the D.C. Department of Transportation. F Street Northwest will be closed between 14th and 15th streets during the same period.

Northbound access on 14th Street will be available most of the time, but southbound traffic will be shifted into northbound lanes during the evening rush on Thursday and Friday.

Curbside parking will not be permitted on F Street.

Georgetown Parking Restrictions

Georgetown is known for attracting adult ghosts and ghouls on Halloween.

Parking restrictions start at 4 p.m. Thursday and go until 6 a..m. Friday.

Drivers will find parking restrictions on the following D.C. roads:

  • K Street NW from 30th Street to Wisconsin Avenue NW
  • Water Street NW from 33rd Street to the Mouth of the Capital Crescent Trail
  • 1000 – 1300 Blocks of Wisconsin Avenue NW
  • M Street NW, from 25th Street to the Key Bridge
  • 1100 block of 26th Street NW
  • Thomas Jefferson Street – 1000 block (From the canal north to M Street)

The following streets will be closed to through traffic from 6:30 p.m. Thursday through 4 a.m. Friday:

  • 1000 block of Grace Street NW
  • 1000 block of Thomas Jefferson Street NW
  • 1000-1500 blocks of 29th Street NW
  • 1000 -1500 blocks of 30th Street NW
  • 1200-1300 blocks of Potomac Street NW
  • 1200-1500 blocks of 27th Street NW
  • 1200-1500 blocks of 28th Street NW
  • 1200-1600 blocks of 33rd Street NW
  • 1200-1700 blocks of 34th Street NW
  • 1500 32nd Street NW
  • 1600-1700 blocks of 35th Street NW
  • 2600-3100 blocks of Dumbarton Street NW
  • 2600-3100 blocks of P Street NW
  • 2600-3600 blocks of O Street NW
  • 2700-3600 blocks of N Street NW
  • 2700 block of Poplar Lane NW
  • 2700-2900 blocks of Olive Street NW
  • 3100 Block of Blues Alley
  • 3100 Block of Oak Alley NW
  • 3100 Block of South Street NW
  • 3200-3400 Q Street NW
  • 3200 Block of Cecil Place NW
  • 3200-3600 blocks of Prospect Street NW
  • 3300-3400 blocks of Dent Place NW
  • 3300 blocks of Cady’s Alley NW
  • 900 Block 30th Street NW

Only residents and employees of businesses in the area will be given access. To access the closed streets, residents will need proof of residency and employees will need work identification.

Anyone visiting the area is strongly encouraged to use public transportation to avoid parking and traffic delays.

Trick-or-treat forecast

The forecast calls for a very comfortable temperatures for trick-or-treating.

ABC7 Meteorologist Brian van de Graaff says around the time kids go out, it will be wickedly warm and ghoulishly gusty. Expect temperatures of 67, dropping down to 63, with southerly winds of 10 mph to 15 mph.

Watch for people

Driving through neighborhoods, Battagliese recommends slowing down and taking it easy because of the trick-or-treaters.

“They’re very hard to see. It very hard for them to see when they have the masks on,” he says.

For Drivers

  • Drive slowly.
  • Avoid unnecessary travel on Halloween night.
  • Use caution especially when turning, approaching intersections or when cars are parked curbside.
  • Obey all traffic signals.
  • Watch for children darting into the street.
  • Don’t drink and drive.

For trick-or-treaters

  • Always trick-or-treat with at least two friends or an adult for the entire evening.
  • Only trick-or-treat at homes that have their outside lights on.
  • Carry a bright flashlight so drivers can see you and you can see where you’re walking.
  • Wear clothing with reflective markings or tape.
  • Cross only at crosswalks or at street corners.
  • Never cross the street between parked cars or diagonally across an intersection.
  • Look left-right-left before crossing the street.
  • Look over your shoulder before crossing to watch for turning cars.
  • Obey all traffic signals. Never cross against a red light.
  • Walk, don’t run, whenever crossing the street.
  • Use sidewalks.
  • If no sidewalk is available, walk on the left side of the road facing traffic.
  • Do not take rides from strangers or use shortcuts through backyards, alleys, or parks.
  • Stay in familiar neighborhoods and never cut across yards or driveways.
  • Make sure costumes don’t drag on the ground and that your shoes fit well.

Source: Safe Neighborhood Day

Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

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