Palisades Fourth of July Snafus

Even though residents of Pacific Palisades know the Fourth of July routine—a race in the morning, a parade in the afternoon and a concert/fireworks show in the evening (and these events are communicated to the city well in advance)—there were still some snafus this year.

Signs that state “No Parking from 4 a.m. to 1 p.m.,” and cost the race organizers $15 apiece, are posted along the 5/10K course— generally several in a one-block area.

Double posting of City signs cost Will Rogers race organizers extra money.
Double posting of City signs cost Will Rogers race organizers extra money.

Since the parade route shares some of the streets with the race, PAPA (Palisades Americanism Parade Association) and race officials asked the city if instead of two signs at each location, just one sign could be posted, closing the street from 4 a.m. to 4 p.m. This would save the race organizers money. (The parade is considered a celebration of First Amendment rights and does not have to pay for DOT personnel or signs.)

Unfortunately, instead of posting one sign, two were posted on each pole, at three and four locations in a block—on either side of the street. One signed warned “No Parking from 4 a.m. to 1 p.m.”and a second “No Parking from 1 p.m. to 4 a.m.”

Race organizer Brian Shea spoke to Councilman Mike Bonin’s West L.A. Field Deputy Sharon Shapiro, who responded on July 3 by email: “Unfortunately, it seems that they did not post the parade correctly or even on time this year. Signs for the parade were posted two days after the raceroute signs.

“While I know it seems annoying to you, believe me it is just as frustrating for me working yesterday in a scramble to reach DOT staff on a three-day weekend since they had not posted the [parade] route at all,” Shapiro said.

In an even bigger surprise, PAPA board member Rich Wilken, who normally makes sure there are barricades to close off streets along the race route, discovered cars coming up Chautauqua as the runners were lining up. DOT had not closed off Chautauqua at PCH.

When Wilken drove on Sunset Boulevard to Amalfi he found that the street had also not been closed to westbound Sunset traffic. He dragged a barrier onto Sunset, found a police officer and asked him to watch it.

DOT is paid by race organizers to make sure streets are closed and no vehicles get through on the race route. Race officials are now withholding their $11,000 check for lack of services.

The race could have used the one overzealous DOT person who was working the parade-route closures.

Stationed at Haverford Avenue and Temescal Canyon Road, the man refused to let people turn up Haverford (a half block before Sunset). The street allows access to the residential streets below Via de la Paz, which is closed off for the parade, and to Swarthmore down to the bluffs.

According to an eyewitness report from Kyle Heffner of Culver City, who was trying to make his way to a party on Radcliffe around 2 p.m., cars were backed up on Temescal Canyon from Sunset to Palisades High School.

“In the car in front of us, the driver was trying to get through because his dog was throwing up. He said he lived near Via las Olas but the guard wasn’t letting anyone through,” Heffner said.

PAPA President Daphne Gronich responded, “Just bad luck. They [traffic guards] were trying to do their job to keep people safe. We will provide ‘briefing’ next year to all DOT folks who are assigned for the holiday so it doesn’t happen, since the City information they received was insufficient and workers frequently don’t know the area.

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