Letters to the Editor

Car show’s not worth the ensuing traffic jam

I am writing in regard to the Pismo Beach Car Show held last weekend.

My husband and I were traveling to Arroyo Grande on Saturday to participate in the house celebration of a Cal Poly student, a 50-year-old Arroyo Grande resident who has finished her master’s program in psychology.

Our residence is in Atascadero, so we left our house at 1:45 p.m. in order to arrive at the party by around 2:30 p.m. As we were on Highway 101 approaching Avila Beach, the traffic began to slow to a stop. We had no idea what the problem was ahead, as we sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

We assumed it was going to let up after a few minutes and continue at a regular speed. That assumption was naive, because the traffic did not speed up until miles and miles and miles ahead. Actually, it didn’t return to a regular flow of traffic until we passed (guess what?) the Pismo Beach exits. The side streets and frontage road were unbelievable. The hotel and restaurant parking lots were actually cordoned off with yellow tape. We arrived at the party an hour late, at 3 p.m.

Some of you may be saying to yourselves, “She was only an hour late; what’s the big deal?” I guess it was not a big deal, really.

But just suppose the Central Coast had a major earthquake during this traffic jam? Or maybe a sudden fire on the hillside? Or, well … you get the picture.

On our way back home from the party, at 5 p.m., going north, the southbound traffic was backed up to about a mile south of the Higuera Street exit.

What this major traffic jam meant to the thousands and thousands of California travelers who use Highway 101 as their main thoroughfare is impossible to know.

I suspect that many travelers who were heading to their fathers’ houses to celebrate Father’s Day were in terrible moods by the time they reached their destinations.

Is the Pismo Beach Car Show so important to the City Council that it doesn’t care how it affects the rest of the traveling public on Highway 101? Has the council ever considered moving the car show to a different weekend?

I find the traffic jam and the entire scene in Pismo Beach last weekend an absolute atrocity and completely unacceptable.

I wonder just how many complaints you will receive from city officials and the public alike, and how many emergency responders were delayed, trying to maneuver their way through the vehicles on the freeway and roadways.

I truly cannot believe how one little city could cause so much havoc and not be held accountable to the local citizens, as well as all travelers traveling Highway 101.

I certainly hope the city will reconsider the car show and the importance of holding it on the same weekend as Father’s Day and Cal Poly graduation.

Really, folks, a car show just is not so important that it cannot be moved to a more convenient weekend in June.

Rebecca Morrow Collie has lived in San Luis Obispo County since 1971.

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