Yosemite launches traffic program

Yosemite National Park is launching a pilot program to address traffic congestion. The program will be tested on the Highway 140 corridor on Thursday to Sunday and on Thursday, May 3 to Sunday, May 6.

It is an initiative to test a new way to pace and send vehicles to the Arch Rock Entrance Station, improving visitor safety and access while enhancing the overall visitor experience on busy traffic days.

Working with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the California Highway Patrol (CHP), vehicles entering the park via Highway 140 will be queued approximately 5 miles east of the Ferguson Slide Bridges, in El Portal. Vehicles then will be sent to the entrance station to allow for minimal delays at Arch Rock.

According to information from the park, this change is meant to greatly reduce the number of vehicles stopped in a rock fall zone along El Portal Road, enhancing visitor safety and access to the park. The anticipated times of operation are from approximately 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the busiest window of vehicles entering the park.

Over the past few years, Yosemite National Park has implemented several pilot programs designed to improve access to parking and ease traffic flow inside the park. For example, this past February, the park implemented a pilot program at Horsetail Fall to manage parking and provide improved visitor access to better manage hundreds of vehicles in Yosemite Valley.

Over the past two summers, the park has implemented a pilot program to offer reserved parking reservations in Yosemite Valley.

A Yosemite National Park news release says the park staff continues to gather data from these programs to better understand traffic patterns with the overall goal of reducing traffic congestion and improving the visitor experience. Knowledge gained from these programs will be integrated into changes the park will implement in the near future.

For updated 24-hour road and weather conditions for Yosemite National Park, call 209-372-0200, press 1 and press 1 again. Updated information is also available on the park’s website at http://www.nps.gov/yose.