Halloween safety tips in Sandy’s aftermath

October 31, 2012

Whether or not you are in costume, you can find a Halloween event to attend in The Going Out Guide. (Evy Mages — For The Washington Post)

This post has been updated.

Drivers have a lot on their minds as they navigate through their first commutes after Hurricane Sandy’s departure, but I hope they’ll remember to watch out for trick-or-treaters on their way home.

Halloween hazards will combine with the dangers of some darkened signal lights, downed trees and power lines, and patches of wet leaves that can cause skids.

Slow down. Speeding makes it more difficult to stop unexpectedly. Be especially cautious between 4 and 9 p.m., the hours when children are most likely to be out. Enter and exit driveways slowly. Watch for children running across streets or darting out from between parked cars.

Pedestrians, including parents who will be shepherding little monsters, should be mindful of the increased risks in their neighborhoods because of storm debris.

Look left, right and left again before crossing the street; cross at crosswalks or intersections; avoid dark clothing; and use reflective devices such as vests and blinking lights; avoid costumes that may impair vision; make eye contact with drivers when crossing streets; watch for speeding cars.

The Capital Weather Gang rates Halloween as a “go” in the D.C. area. Skies will be mostly cloudy. Breezes may be up to 15 mph, and there’s a slight chance of a shower.

Leesburg cancels parade

The Post’s Caitlin Gibson reports: A popular Loudoun County Halloween parade sponsored by the Leesburg Kiwanis has been cancelled in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

The well-attended parade has taken place every year since 1957, following a route along King Street in the historic downtown. Suzanne Wright, secretary for the Kiwanis, said local officials were concerned that there would not be enough personnel available to handle the parade and storm cleanup responsibilities.

SoberRide program

This tip is strictly for the adults. The SoberRide program of the Washington Regional Alcohol Program will again offer free taxi rides home to travelers who think they’ve had too much to drink on Halloween night and don’t want to risk driving.

The program will run from 10 p.m. Wednesday to 4 a.m. Thursday. A cab ride home will be free up to the equivalent of a $30 fare for passengers who call 800-200-8294 (TAXI).

High heels in Dupont Circle

The High Heel Race along 17th Street NW, a Halloween season tradition, had to be postponed because of Hurricane Sandy. But it has been rescheduled for 9 p.m. Thursday. Expect crowding in the area just east of Dupont Circle.

Halloween in Georgetown

Georgetown is another traditional gathering place on Halloween, and the District will close some blocks to traffic and impose parking restrictions. While main streets, including M Street and Wisconsin Avenue, should be open, there’s likely to be a lot of congestion, involving both vehicles and pedestrians.

No parking will be allowed on these routes from 4 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday: K Street NW from 30th Street to Wisconsin Avenue, Water Street NW from 32rd Street west to the Capital Crescent Trail, the 1000 through 1300 blocks of Wisconsin Avenue NW, M Street NW from 25th Street to the Key Bridge, the 1100 block of 26th Street NW and the 1000 block of Thomas Jefferson Street from the C&O Canal north to M Street.

These streets will be closed to through traffic from 6:30 p.m. to 4 a.m.: the 1000 block of Grace Street NW, the 1000 block of Thomas Jefferson Street NW, the 1000 through 1500 blocks of 29th Street NW, the 1000 through 1500 blocks of 30th Street NW, the 1200 and 1300 blocks of Potomac Street NW, the 1200 through 1500 blocks of 27th and 28th streets NW, the 1200 through 1600 blocks of 33rd Street NW, the 1200 through 1700 blocks of 34th Street NW, the 1500 block on 32nd Street NW, the 1600 and 1700 blocks of 35th Street NW, the 2600 through 3100 blocks of Dumbarton Street NW, the 2600 through 3100 blocks of P Street, the 2600 through 3600 blocks of O Street NW, the 2700 through 3600 blocks of N Street NW, the 2700 block of Poplar Lane NW, the 2700 through 2900 blocks of Olive Street NW, the 3100 blocks of Blues Alley, Oak Alley and South Street NW, the 32 through 3400 blocks of Q Street NW, the 3200 block of Cecil Place NW, the 3200 through 3600 blocks of Prospect Street NW, the 3200 through 3600 blocks of Dent Place NW, the 3300 block of Cady’s Alley and the 900 block of 30th Street NW.

Only residents and employees of businesses within these areas will be granted access, (You have to present proof of residency or a work ID.) D.C. police and the District Department of Transportation said. The police have discretion about closings, and drivers could find other blocks closed as well.

Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region.
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Robert Thomson | October 31, 2012