Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Kirkwood 500

This afternoon we took a nice walk on the Mokelumne River's Electra Run. Just before 5 p.m., we drove through Pine Grove and tried to turn left across the westbound traffic onto Pine Grove-Volcano Road.

After more than 100 cars passed us by, the traffic stopped. It had backed up all the way through town, from the stoplight at Ridge Road and Highway 88. Fortunately, a considerate driver left the intersection clear so we could make our turn.

I've never seen anything like it in Pine Grove. I hate to think of what would have happened if the fire department or ambulance needed to get through town.

Judging from the snowboards and ski racks on the SUVs and cars, at least one-third, if not one-half, of the traffic was coming from Kirkwood Mountain Resort.

Back when the county approved the expansion of Kirkwood, those of us involved in the process warned about what it would do to traffic in Pine Grove. I've seen people flying through town on the way to and from the resort, but I've never been stuck in traffic like this.

Kirkwood is touting its new online carpool forum as a solution for resort traffic and parking woes. Maybe some people are using it, but at least tonight, that system didn't seem to have much effect down here.

Perhaps it's time for Kirkwood to pay the CHP or sheriff for some traffic control in Pine Grove on Sunday evenings.

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