It was the city schools' spring break and the free afternoon at the zoo today, and chaos reigned in the Evergreen neighborhood. Today demonstrated the immediate and urgent need for the zoo to find an off-site parking/shuttle solution, and quickly.
One of my friends who lives on McLean said it took her 45 minutes to travel north from Poplar Ave. to her home, partway up that longish block. Another took equally long to make it the two blocks from North Parkway to Galloway. If we had had a fire in Evergreen, the entire neighborhood could have burned before fire trucks made it through the streets that masqueraded as standing parking lots. I live in the heart of the city and am in favor of parking and walking. Streets are made to park on. But today the streets turned into parking lots themselves, which is dangerous.
Frustration ruled the day. One woman, whose car was sitting stock still in the middle of my street and blocking my driveway, mouthed off at me for wanting to be able to turn into my own drive. Much, much worse were the shots that were fired from the middle of the chaos on the Greensward. My father was walking his dog there at the time, heard the shots (pistol, he thought), and saw the police come.
This is not a sustainable system. Yes, it was one of the worst days of the year because of spring break, but the zoo has got to get a better plan and not have the entire neighborhood grind to a halt. Off-site parking is long overdue, and with the huge donations they've gotten over the years, it's time to make this a priority. I've been assured that this is something the zoo is working hard on, and I hope they make progress soon. There are enormous, currently idle parking lots at the fairgrounds and at the Sears tower, both within easy shuttle bus distance. The parking on the Greensward didn't even make a dent in the traffic today, so it's time for the zoo to give the park back to the people and make arrangements that can actually handle zoo needs.
Before we have a baby panda or elephant, please!
Here's the view looking north on McLean from Overton Park. Northbound traffic was stalled completely as far as the eye could see in both directions.
The CA story on the same topic is here. Apparently the zoo admitted a record crowd of 25,314.