Roads, skies will be busy this fourth of July weekend
By Brigid Gaffikin, Bay City News Service
June 29, 2006
Sky-high gas prices don't appear to be stopping many Northern
Californians from driving to holiday destinations this Fourth
of July, usually the biggest travel weekend of the summer, AAA
spokeswoman Cynthia Harris reported today.
Some 4.5 million Californians are expected to take to the roads
and drive more than 50 miles this weekend, up 1.4 percent from
the number of holiday motorists last year, according to the AAA.
Another 1.1 million Californians will set out by plane, train,
bus or other means of travel, Harris reported.
The Fourth of July weekend is the busiest summer travel period
each year; it is also the deadliest on the nation's highways,
with alcohol a factor in the majority of last year's holiday highway
deaths, according to the AAA.
On Tuesday the AAA is offering a "Tipsy Tow" program
from 6 p.m. through 6 a.m. Wednesday in Northern California, Nevada
and Utah. Both members and non-members will be towed at no cost
for up to seven miles to the driver's home, according to the association.
The AAA's Tipsy Tow Program can be reached at (800) 222 4357.
With motorist safety in mind, the California Highway Patrol is
increasing its presence on the roads this holiday weekend, with
all available officers out on patrol, CHP Sgt. Les Bishop said.
Even though the official July Fourth holiday is on a Tuesday
this year, the holiday weekend begins Friday for many people.
There are "more days that people have off and more days
that people will be likely to drink and drive and we're going
to do everything we can to get them off the roadway," Bishop
Over the Independence Day weekend in the Bay Area last year one
person died and another 12 were injured in alcohol-related collisions,
according to the CHP. From July 1 through July 4, 392 people were
arrested on suspicion on driving under the influence of drugs
In a brand-new initiative this year the CHP and law enforcement
agencies across the country will initiate a zero-tolerance zone
Friday along all of Interstate Highway 80, some 3,233 miles from
California to New Jersey, Bishop said.
The skies will also be busy this weekend, with more than 465
flights expected to depart San Francisco International Airport
to destinations across the U.S. and internationally on Friday,
according to airport spokesman Michael C. McCarron.
In San Jose, 181 flights, to both domestic and international
destinations, are scheduled for Friday, Norman Y. Mineta San Jose
International Airport spokesman Rich Dressler said.
Some 3 percent more people are flying out of San Jose this holiday
weekend than last year, he said.
In Oakland, Friday is expected to be the busiest air travel day
of the weekend, followed by Monday and then Wednesday, said Oakland
International Airport spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes.
Anyone traveling by air from any of the Bay Area's three airports
is advised to arrive at the airport 90 minutes before domestic
flights' scheduled departure times and 2 hours before international
Barnes said passengers should check the Web site of the Transportation
Security Administration for information about what not to bring
on flights, which will help save time while checking in and in
San Francisco will likely see large numbers of visitors arriving
this weekend, according to Dan Goldes, spokesman for the San Francisco
Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The city's waterfront activities are "a big draw, especially
for regional visitors coming into the city for the day,"
San Francisco's July Fourth fireworks show begins at 9:30 p.m.
Tuesday near Aquatic Park, at the waterside foot of Russian Hill.
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