Prepare for Thursday’s Christmas Tree Lighting road closures

WASHINGTON — It’s time for commuters to remember, and plan for, the perennial traffic headache associated with the National Christmas Tree Lighting near the White House set for Thursday afternoon. 

Road closures begin at 2:30 p.m. Thursday on adjacent streets for the 94th annual Pageant of Peace Ceremony, which begins at 5 p.m.

Lane closures for road construction on nearby Massachusetts Avenue last until 3 p.m.

Any rush hour here can prove problematic for traffic, but a hockey game downtown Thursday only promises to add to the tree lighting traffic volume.

“Fans attending the Capitals game against the Islanders at Verizon Center on December 1st at 7 p.m. are encouraged to provide for extra travel time,” said Sheila Francis, spokeswoman for Monumental Sports & Entertainment, in a news release.

Francis recommends fans “take alternate routes or public transportation,” but Metro’s round-the-clock track work on the Orange and Silver lines also threatens to slow down commutes.

An expert solution to all these challenges is summed up in two words by the dean of the D.C. area’s traffic reporters, WTOP’s Bob Marbourg.

“Plan ahead,” Marbourg advised. “Try not to be part of the inevitable crush.”

“There are so many events that happen in D.C. that are unplanned, unscheduled … not defined — this is one, at least, where we can chart a course that takes us around the closure points,” Marbourg added.

Find a complete list of planned Thursday street closures around the White House and the Ellipse here.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

Follow @WTOP on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

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