Police hope to control July 4 gridlock
The Fourth of July fireworks display at Shoreline has become a Mountain View tradition. Unfortunately, so has post-fireworks gridlock, the result of thousands of spectators getting back in their cars and trying to drive out on the area's two roads: Shoreline Boulevard and Amphitheatre Parkway.
For about 8,000 people, the draw is the San Francisco Symphony's performance at Shoreline Amphitheatre, which is followed by fireworks. But the traffic problem, police say, is caused by about 10,000 others who choose to park nearby — in the Google parking lots, for example — to watch the fireworks display. The city's system for guiding traffic out of the area is only designed to move vehicles out of the Shoreline Amphitheatre, police say. Everyone else has to wait.
"We do expect traffic will be an issue," said police spokesperson Liz Wylie. "We are doing more this year than last year. We will have more officers this year [directing traffic] than last year."
"I remember my experience from last year of how difficult and how long it took to leave the area when the fireworks were over," said resident Sarah Sun in an e-mail to the Voice. "It took almost two hours sitting bumper to bumper."
Sun recommended the city provide a shuttle service to the area, something the City Council has discussed.
"The shuttle idea is a good idea," said council member Margaret Abe-Koga. "We would have to budget it. We are still talking about community shuttles. We've directed staff to find more specific routes that would make sense. One route I was thinking was downtown to the North Bayshore area."
Another solution that already exists is the Stevens Creek Trail. Though it's technically closed after dark, residents of the Old Mountain View neighborhood have organized walks to the July 4 event using the trail.
The Fourth of July Fireworks Show with the San Francisco Symphony begins at 8 p.m. Doors open at 5 p.m. Lawn seats are $24 each. For more, call (650) 967-3000 or visit www.shorelineamp.com.