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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Gridlock of Yosemite National Park

Above, Yosemite Valley during the off-season. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

You can tell it's the summer vacation season at Yosemite National Park. There's plenty of things to see and do, but the roads are so gridlocked and parking is difficult to find that people can't get even out of their cars.

That is why I prefer to visit national parks during the off-season. There's far less traffic to contend with and the place isn't crawling with people. In Yosemite, the Yosemite Valley shuttle system is running, which also is a big help. Other than my drive into the park and leaving the park, my RV stayed put at the North Pines Campground. I either walked or made use of the shuttle during my stay.

The Modesto Bee has an article on the gridlock problems of Yosemite during the summer.

It begins with:
It’s the summer tourist season, and Yosemite Park is gridlocked with traffic. 
At 12:30 on a Saturday afternoon, a long line of cars, buses and RVs that entered the park at Big Oak Flat move slowly along the main paved road past Cascade Falls and on down to merge with vehicles coming east on Highway 140. A quick left turn brings a car into the line of traffic heading into Yosemite Valley. 
Then all vehicles come to a stop. 
For the next two hours, vehicles either sit parked in traffic lanes at a complete halt or they inch forward at a pace far slower than their frustrated passengers, who get out of their vehicles and walk ahead searching for the source of the problem. There are rare surges when vehicles may move forward 100 yards before traffic returns to a gridlocked standstill. There is nowhere to even turn around.
If the above isn't bad enough, after getting into the park (after paying the $30 entrance fee) is another nightmare awaiting visitors:
Park employees at the entrance stations are still continuing to allow literally hundreds of additional vehicles each hour into the Park to jam up behind the already gridlocked traffic. Knowing full well Yosemite Valley is jammed with traffic, park employees are continuing to charge $30 per vehicle and send hundreds of additional vehicles on into the park to literally come to a standstill and then inch forward for hours in a traffic jam. New families become trapped in the traffic jam nightmare.
Instead of enjoying a visit to Yosemite Valley, people are stuck in their cars for hours in a looped traffic jam without ever being able to step out of their cars to see the wonders of the park. Does that sound like fun to you?

To read more, go here.

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