The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday March 6th

Town readies for Halloween

Those looking to commute to Chapel Hill for Halloween festivities might find the transportation situation scarier than most of the costumes on Franklin Street.

The Homegrown Halloween event has attracted a crowd upward of 80,000 people in 2007, according to a press release from the town.

This year, the Chapel Hill Police Department will once again try to limit the amount of people to reduce the crowds on Franklin Street.

“We expect we’ll have about as many people as last year, which was around 22,000 people,” said Sgt. Bryan Walker, a spokesman for the department.

To help with the event, the department has enlisted the help of agencies across the Triangle, including the Durham Police Department.

“We will have somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 officers working the event, in addition to the regular patrol shifts,” Walker said.

In order to keep the streets safe for visitors and partygoers, Franklin Street will remain closed to traffic from 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Walker said Franklin Street will be closed between Hillsborough and Mallette streets with barricades to block vehicles along the main street. Carpooling might be a simpler option on Halloween when it comes to parking availability.

Several bus routes will be running on Halloween, but those with stops on Franklin Street will close early. The D, J, NS, NU and EZ Rider route buses will stop running early but will return to normal services Friday morning, said Brian Litchfield, the director of Chapel Hill Transit.

Students will still have a few options to get them home from the event.

“The Safe Ride program is operating to get students from downtown to other areas around Chapel Hill,” Litchfield said.

Police will also operate several DUI checkpoints around the town.

“We don’t talk about the location of checkpoints, but there is always a chance of other agencies running checkpoints around Chapel Hill that I wouldn’t know about,” Walker said.

Despite all of the crowds, Walker said he is confident in the department’s ability to contain the event.

“We don’t expect anything too out of the ordinary. Our department has become adept at dealing with crowds and we always overprepare for the event.”

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