“Holiday Weekend in Niantic”
Everywhere I go, people stop and tell me how much they love our town however, the holiday weekend’s traffic woes will test that theory. Patience and acceptance are the words of the day.
I write this on the eve on the 4th of July weekend. Great, hot weather is planned and with that will come crowds, traffic, parking issues, etc. Here are some helpful hints and thoughts to help get us thru the peak summer weekend:
– First, everybody take a deep breath. 🙂
– If you are planning to come to one of our public beaches, plan to get there early. Parks and Rec reports the peak times on our beaches (and parking availability) are between 11AM-3PM. I would recommend coming down to the beach and parking by 10AM. Set up your beach chairs and blankets and then walk downtown for a breakfast sandwich, purchase your lunch sandwiches, or just take a stroll on the boardwalk (take your valuables with you). Your beach sticker does not guarantee you a space. As you know, our beaches MUST remain open to all (this is a State Law). Our only advantage in securing a space is being a local and having first hand knowledge. Take advantage of it.
– TRAFFIC — With gas prices at an historic low, the holiday on a Monday, and perfect summer weather, we will see an unprecedented amount of traffic in our area. There is no doubt in my mind that this weekend will be no different than most of the other summer weekends on I-95…in fact, there is a good chance it will be much worse. When Rocky Neck fills up and closes to cars, we see spillover onto our roads. When 95 backs up to a standstill, drivers try to cut thru on Rte 1 or Rte 156. We cannot do anything about this other than be prepared, leave early, and be patient. Our emergency responders will be on the job and prepared for the onslaught of humanity.
– Please keep it SLOW in our town. With so many visitors (or people passing thru), it’s important to set a reasonable prevailing speed. Drivers looking for shortcuts find themselves on our backstreets and local roads far too often. Be careful when walking, jogging, or biking. And for goodness sake, please yield to pedestrians!!!
– This is Lobsterfest Weekend too! The Niantic Lions have gone all out to bring the very best Arts and Crafts venders to our town green along with a terrific menu of food. PLEASE make plans to come down to the Town Hall property on Saturday or Sunday and support the Lion’s largest fundraiser of the year. They do so much for our community—let’s be sure we give them the support they need.
– Increased patrols will be on our roadways and waterways keeping people safe. It’s cool to celebrate and enjoy friends and family, but please stay away from the wheel if you have been drinking.
The burden of living in such a wonderful town is dealing with some of these issues. Remember that the peak summer weekends are only 6-8 weekends a year; it is a fact that this too shall pass. While we have to put up with traffic jams, limited parking, and crowded beaches, we get to enjoy all that our town has to offer thru-out the year. Just breathe.
Have a #FantasticNiantic weekend. Keep it fun but keep it safe.
As always, I’m interested and welcome your comments: MNickerson@ELtownhall.com
Mark C. Nickerson
Town of East Lyme, CT