Oh, kids, you love the National Christmas Tree lighting now, but just wait till you’re older. Your parents won’t be carrying you through the D.C. streets, and you will have to commute through the jam created by the annual ceremony timed for the peak of rush hour.
Sure, it’s all bright lights and holiday music to you, and you can stop reading here, because I’m going to tell the adults about the street closings and Metrobus detours for the 5 p.m. Thursday event on the Ellipse.
Here are the downtown D.C. street closings, scheduled to last from 4:15 to about 7 p.m. Thursday:
No traffic will be allowed northbound or southbound on 15th Street NW between E Street/ Pennsylvania Avenue and Constitution Avenue NW. No traffic will be allowed northbound or southbound on 17th Street NW between Constitution and New York avenues NW.
D.C. police say the street closings and related parking restrictions are subject to change without notice based on prevailing conditions.
If there are no traffic delays from the closings and the extra pedestrian traffic, it would be a Christmas miracle. Thursday would be a good night to take Metrorail, but not such a good evening to take Metrobus downtown.
The transit authority announced that several routes will be detoured from 4:30 to about 7 p.m.
The 32, 36, 37 and 39 routes will be subject to these detours:
Eastbound buses to Archives will turn right on 14th Street NW, then left on Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Westbound buses to Friendship Heights will turn right on 14th Street NW, then left on I (Eye) Street NW to 15th Street NW
Buses on the L1 and H1 routes will be detoured as follows: Southbound buses to Potomac Park will turn right on New York Avenue NW, continue on E Street NW, turn left on 19th Street NW, turn left on Virginia Avenue NW, then left on 18th Street NW.
Northbound buses to Chevy Chase Circle will continue on 18th Street NW, then turn left on C Street NW.
Metrobuses and commuter buses will get stuck in the same traffic as everyone else, so delays as well as detours are possible.
The Capital Weather Gang says the Thursday forecast, at least, is trouble-free, with a high temperature in the low-to-mid 50s.