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Managing park crowds starting to look a little like Disneyland

Hikers have one more thing to worry about when making their way out to the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park. In addition to strictly enforcing park hours, officers have now been given instructions to cite visitors who cross Mills Avenue without the use of a crosswalk.

This additional measure is being taken after the Claremont City Council unanimously voted Tuesday night to add an ordinance prohibiting jaywalking on Mills south of Mt. Baldy Road. The new measure is the city’s latest attempt to address overcrowding at the popular hiking destination.

“The increased volume of pedestrians...has created a safety hazard for pedestrians and motorists alike,” said Captain Jon Traber, believing the added measure will “resolve much of the conflict.”

Over the last 2 years the city council has been working to address overcrowding, littering and safety issues at the park. A major concern for many has been pedestrians using the roadway as a walking path. To fix this problem, the city has created a pathway along the west side of Mills Avenue as well as created a crosswalk connecting the south parking lot with the park itself.

The code provides yet another tool to fix those safety issues by ensuring pedestrians use those pathways and crosswalks to enter the park, reiterated City Manager Tony Ramos. Hikers must use the official crosswalk at Mills Avenue and Mt. Baldy or unmarked crosswalk at Adirondack Lane in order to cross the street from the east to the trails on the west legally.

City Attorney Sonia Carvalho did make it clear that the city would not be able to keep pedestrians from walking along the side of the roadway, however. This would be in violation of state law, which allows pedestrians to walk along the left edge of a roadway. This is not what the city intends to do, she emphasized.

“Someone walking their dog along that edge is different from seeing a crosswalk or control signalization and purposely avoiding that or not using those safe pathways that have been provided to you and that’s what we are trying to prevent,” Ms. Carvalho said.

Check out our complete council coverage Thursday.

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