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Yosemite Falls

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Re: New traffic lane restrictions

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New traffic lane restrictions
May 29, 2012 12:26PM
So... how are the new traffic lane restrictions so far?
Re: New traffic lane restrictions
May 29, 2012 01:29PM
We went down to the Valley on Saturday just before 5pm and the lane restrictions were in place but no rangers were at the El Cap Crossover. However there were rangers in cars along the way to make sure that people were in the correct lane. We could not believe the amount of people who chose to disregard the lane restrictions and blew right past those of us in the left lane. Of course, they got a big surprise when further up the road was a ranger car blocking the right lane. I wonder if they got a ticket. The crowds were thinner than usual. It had been snowing in the late morning at the higher elevations and it was raining every where else so not as many people on Saturday than we have seen in the past. Even with the traffic there was, it only took us about 40 minutes more that it take to get to Yosemite Lodge in the slow season. Different than the time it took 2 hours to go from Bridelveil to housekeeping a few years ago. I think one thing that did help was that they did not close off Sentinel Bridge to traffic like they have done in the past.

The weather was nicer on Sunday and Monday and while we were sitting on the veranda at the Wawona Hotel, you could see that there was more cars coming into the park than we saw on Saturday. We did not go down to the valley on Saturday or Sunday so we don't know what it was like.

One thing was interesting was that there were actually vacancies at the Wawona Hotel and in the valley this weekend. I have never heard of that happening during Memorial Day Weekend. Sunday we had dinner at the Wawona and the staff was saying that the dinner room had been slow all weekend.

We are wondering what cause so many people not to come - the price of gas, the weather or maybe there has been so much talk about traffic issues that people decided not to come?
avatar Re: New traffic lane restrictions
May 29, 2012 04:17PM

We are wondering what cause so many people not to come - the price of gas, the weather or maybe there has been so much talk about traffic issues that people decided not to come?

You didn't mention the two most obvious ones:

1) The price of the lodging – it's higher than ever, both in and outside the park. The park's concessionaire and the motel operators outside of the park are pricing themselves out of the vacation market. There's simply other more affordable options to vacation around the state and the West.

2) It's a dry year. I bet many people have heard that the waterfalls are way down this year due to the lack of rainfall. So why pay sky-high prices for overnight accommodations this year when the waterfalls aren't as good as other years?

And one more less obvious reason: Europe's economy is very sluggish with the uncertainty over the Euro and the Greek financial crisis. I bet there are less European visiting the U.S. this year than years past. That's means probably that less Europeans will be visiting Yosemite this summer too.

Re: New traffic lane restrictions
June 17, 2012 01:27AM
I was in the valley until 4:30pm when I left to go back to the bay area via 140. I'd been there 5 days and even on Friday there was easy parking EVERYwhere along any road to get shots.

Saturday was another story. It was bumper to bumper but not moving and they had traffic directors an equivalent block apart to try to get the traffic moving at all. Hardly any parking spaces anywhere either.

That day I was on foot, just taking walks after a big day at Tunnel View the night before (May 25 storm and clearings). Glad I didn't need to drive the valley that day. I realized what summer must be like and decided not to visit during the summer. Totally different from weekdays, but hotel staff said Memorial Day Holiday was also one of the biggest visitor days all year and summer is no worse. Nevertheless, they had cancellations due to the sudden snow & hail storm.

Lodge staff said that Friday night was unexectedly cold and they were shivering. 37 in the Valley during early evening and 10-20 degrees lower higher up, the weather reports said.

Also, people were cancelling reservations because of the storm announced Friday morning that would come in about 2:30pm that afternoon. It rained the whole time I was on foot Saturday and most vacationers don't consider that ideal expensive-vacation weather.

On the 23rd, a ranger was saying there was a rock fall the previous night but he didn't know where. He thought it was Camp Curry.
Re: New traffic lane restrictions
May 29, 2012 04:46PM
We entered the Valley Saturday morning. I would not have called it uncrowded at all. The crowds just re-confirmed our resolve to avoid the Valley and stick to the high country.

If the NPS really wants to improve traffic in the Valley they must run more shuttle buses and the buses must run at regular intervals. The buses around Happy Isles were packed to the gills.

The shuttle system could make more runs by cutting down on the number of stops. There is no reason why the shuttles make three stops at Curry Village.
Re: New traffic lane restrictions
May 29, 2012 07:08PM
We went in near dinner time and went across the Sentinel Bridge and directly to the Mountain Room so we did not go into the campground/Curry area or Yosemite Village so we did not see the crowds that you did earlier in the day. By the time we got there, I think that many of the people had already left the valley. Once we got passed Swinging Bridge, there were parking spots along the way from there, Sentinel Bridge parking, along the north side of Cook's Meadow and even at the Lodge. Other years, you could not find parking anywhere in the east valley until after 7 or 8 pm. We also only had to wait 20 minutes to get seated at the Mountain Room which is unheard of this time of the year. In 7 years of being in Yosemite during Memorial Day Weekend, I have never seen it like this.

I agree about needing more shuttles during busy times. We were there President's weekend and also the week before Easter and had to wait for a shuttle that was not full. It would also have been nice if they had posted somewhere that the El Cap shuttle was running and cars could have parked in the west valley and taken the shuttle to the east side.
Re: New traffic lane restrictions
June 17, 2012 02:04PM
My friends were complaining it took much longer to get into the valley the Sunday before Memorial Day, traffic was much slower due to one lane.
avatar Re: New traffic lane restrictions
June 17, 2012 06:29PM
One question.... if they get all the cars into the Valley faster; where are they going to park?

THAT is what they are trying to solve. The buses have a place to park. I think the goal was to keep trafic flowing slowing so that they might match the outflow with the inflow.
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