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WAYNE EGGLESTON, San Clemente

For several decades, on the Fourth of July, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the city have closed off portions of Avenida Del Mar, Alameda Lane and Avenida Victoria around the Pier Bowl starting at 6 p.m.

This has been done to keep thousands of pedestrians and hundreds of cars from intermingling in a small compact area, for safety reasons.

 However, this year, they did not close these streets to cars. The result after 7 p.m. was pedestrian and car gridlock chaos. Visualize thousands of pedestrians walking down these streets and sidewalks and hundreds of cars all together in one big traffic-pedestrian dangerous situation.

From the perspective of Park Semper Fi, where we were having a potluck for Marine families, this non-closure of streets resulted in a very dangerous situation, with gridlocked cars backed up trying to find already filled parking and pedestrians walking between moving cars.

We witnessed small children darting in between cars. There were a number of altercations, and we felt that we should be calling 911. But, if we had, deputies and ambulances would not have been able to get through.

When the fireworks started, cars just parked in the middle of the streets and all the lanes between upper and lower Pier Bowl parking. After the fireworks, the car/pedestrian issue is always bad. This year, pre-fireworks, was a dangerous traffic issue that could have been avoided.

Hopefully, next year, all of this can be avoided by closing the streets that become the pathway for thousands of pedestrians. It just makes common and safety sense.

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