National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony to cause D.C. traffic delays

WASHINGTON — It’s the most wonderful time of the year in D.C. — unless
you’re a downtown commuter. The National
Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
will take place Thursday evening at the

While spectators marvel, nearby drivers will grumble. The event’s street
closures are known to cause some delays.

Around 1 p.m., police will begin blocking 15th Street NW and 17th Street NW on
each side of the Ellipse. By 4 p.m., the two closures will extend from
Constitution Avenue to just south of H Street NW. A small portion of 18th
Street NW will also be blocked.

The 40-foot Colorado Blue Spruce from York, Pennsylvania will be illuminated
at 5 p.m.

“If you’re trying to get out of town, the best way to go is away from the
White House,” WTOP Director of Traffic and Weather Jim Battagliese says.

“Whichever side of the White House you’re on, head the opposite direction. If
you’re on the west side, exit to the west. If you’re on the east side, exit to
the east.”

Federal workers who normally park downtown may wish to telework or call it a
half-day as delays are possible by mid-afternoon.

Several Metro Bus routes will be affected including the busy Pennsylvania
Avenue Line (the 32 and 36 buses). There are numerous missed stops and detours
scheduled for various downtown routes.

In addition to any congestion that may result from the tree lighting ceremony,
there may be additional delays near Federal Triangle due to security for those
who wish to pay their respects to Marion Barry.

The late mayor’s remains are to lie in repose inside the Wilson Building on
Pennsylvania Avenue until his memorial service on Friday.

Drivers should expect intermittent road closures along Pennsylvania Avenue between 12th and 14th streets NW beginning Thursday morning. The intermittent closures will continue from 6 to 9 a.m. Friday.

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