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Date Festival Traffic Safety

Angela Monroe

Date Festival Traffic Safety

CREATED Feb. 17, 2012

INDIO--    It Is the first night of the Riverside County Fair and Date Festival, and thousands came to enjoy it.
But traffic and parking were a headache for people trying to get to the fair.
Over 300,000 people come to enjoy the ten-day long festival.
But they all need a place to park, and that can be pretty tricky this time of year.

The Date Festival promises plenty of fun.
"The Ferris wheel. Piggies. Popcorn," said young Indio resident, Azia Diaz.
"We always go every year," said Indio resident, Andrea Cruz.

But trying to actually get to the fair can be a traffic nightmare.
"Come the weekend and Monday, all hell breaks loose, it gets really bad," said Thermal resident, Jose Becerra.
Jose Becerra runs a parking lot right across from the fair.  They have a permit to rent the premium spots.
"We've been here for 25 years, I've been here for seven, nothing has ever happened to us before, no accidents, nothing."

And Indio police bring in extra staff to help keep the streets safe.
"Our concern during the upcoming weekend and throughout into the following weekend is pedestrian traffic flow," said Ben Guitron with the Indio Police Department.
Traffic can get backed up in front of the fairgrounds on Highway 111 as fairgoers cross the street.
"We're asking the public to please use the designated crosswalks, don't jaywalk, and vehicles or traffic to be mindful of pedestrians," said Guitron.

Many local residents have figured out the way around the traffic dilemma.
"Walking pretty much it's easier, don't have to pay for parking or anything," said Indio resident, Adriana Arellano.
"We've lived here all our life so we can pretty much know where to go, where to park, where not to go, so for us it's not too bad," said Indio resident, Freddie Diaz.

And a bit more advice from Indio police-- don't leave valuables in plain sight in your car, keep a close eye on your kids, and remember to have fun!
The fair's parade is Monday, Presidents Day.
So that's sure to be a tough day to navigate the streets of Indio near the fairgrounds.