Traffic on Angeles Crest Highway is markedly heavier than it was during the tight shutdown and will get heavier still as businesses reopen, adding a new element of risk to a notoriously dangerous road.
By Reg Green
For an hour or two in the morning in normal times thousands of commuters from the Palmdale area travel along here three or four car lengths behind the car in front for nearly forty miles. In the afternoon the powerful flow is reversed.
Closure of the small parking lot
The extra risk has been caused by the closure of the small parking lot on the west side of the highway at the Angeles Crest fire station, forcing anyone wanting to use the most popular way into the San Gabriel mountains for miles around to park on the east side and dart forward and backward across a road that has a blind curve sixty yards away in one direction and thirty in another.
Parking closed abruptly here when, because of Covid-19, the nervous authorities forbade hiking in what is virtually a wilderness and where people are typically hundreds of feet or even miles from each other.
But instead of a few simple signs, they brought in half a dozen massive concrete K-rails that could keep out a fleet of bulldozers let alone a handful of mild-mannered ladies and gentlemen whose main interest in the forest is to preserve it. In their anxiety, the authorities managed to get the barriers here in a day or two. If the past is any guide to the future they will not take them out for months.
No one I’ve asked has any idea how long that will be: not the firefighters, not the maintenance crews who service the towers on Mt. Lukens, not the National Forest itself — or, if it knows, it is keeping it secret.
But even with the barriers there parking space could be created with a little flexibility of mind. I’m not expecting it.
Photo extended caption: As a car comes by from the right, a 54-year old man listens for the sound of another coming around a blind curve to the left before jogging across Angeles Crest Highway at the National Forest fire station four miles from La Cañada. He could walk twenty yards to the next exit as the sign directs drivers to do. But then he’d be twenty yards nearer another blind corner to the right where cars are accelerating up the hill as a passing lane ends.
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