Downtown will be closed to traffic beginning at 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon. The train is the easiest way in and out of town the night of the fireworks, coordinators say. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
In addition to a powerhouse fireworks show, one guarantee for Sunday’s KaBoom event in Red Bank is the logjam of crowds and traffic that comes with it.
Tens of thousands of visitors stream into town by car, rail, on foot and by bike. Gridlock on the periphery of the central business district is likely before the show. Your “secret” path out of town afterward? Forget about it. It’s taillight city everywhere.
Below is a comprehensive rundown on what to expect, where to go and how to get in and out of town with the same amount of hair you came with.
If you plan to drive, expect to get into Red Bank early or burn through a lot of $3.75-a-gallon gas sitting in traffic.
The borough will shut down road access to Marine Park at 5 a.m. Sunday, and surrounding streets of Wharf Avenue, Boat Club Lane and Union Street will be closed at 4 p.m.
Vehicular access to the downtown will be closed off at 6 p.m. No cars will be allowed north of Harding Road/Reckless Place between Maple Avenue and Spring Street until the fireworks are over. Even then, one- to two-hour delays are likely, an advisory from the borough said.
All municipal parking lots will be open and free of charge for visitors. Downtown parking garages at The Globe Court, 141 West Front Street (next to Pazzo MMX) and the John E. Day Funeral Home on Riverside Avenue will also be open. For a $10 donation, visitors may park at the Two River Theater lot or at the Red Bank Middle School, where a $10 donation goes toward an effort to create a summer soccer camp.
Taking the train is highly recommended, organizers say. To make it easier, NJ Transit is offering discounted tickets, at $5 round-trip, to anyone traveling the North Jersey Coast Line, which runs from Bay Head to Matawan/Aberdeen. The transit authority will run extra trains in and out of Red Bank the day of the show, but there may still be delays, according to its website.
A full train schedule can be viewed at www.njtransit.com
“It’ll be faster, quicker and easier,” to take the train, said KaBoom spokeswoman Judy Musa. “You won’t be sitting there cursing a steering wheel.”
The weatherbot says there’s a chance or rain or even thunderstorms Sunday night, but because of the logistics and manpower needed to pull of the event, the July 4 rain date will be invoked only in the event of “extreme circumstances.” If there is inclement weather, officials will wait for a break in the cloud cover and go forward with the show. For more information on the day of the show, call 732.345.0885, visit the Kaboom website or tune in to radio station Q104.3, which is broadcasting the fireworks. Do not call the police station for fireworks info; the department needs to keep the lines open for emergencies.
After the show, what’s the rush? Monday’s a holiday, there will be post-show live music in the parks and many downtown bars and restaurants will be open. Stick around and let others curse their steering wheels.