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COAST, CENTRAL, AND NORTHWEST CITIES : BUENA PARK

Neighbors of Soak City Resent Traffic

August 11, 2000|ANDRE BRISCOE | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Business owners and residents near Knott's Berry Farm's new Soak City U.S.A. say the water park has created a hazard and nuisance with car and bus congestion in the neighborhood across from the park.

According to residents, such traffic has dramatically increased in the 7900 block of La Palma Avenue since Knott's opened the park in mid-June.

"I'm just looking at it from a safety point of view," said Weston Sanchez, who lives on a street off La Palma Avenue. "With all the kids who live here and ride their bikes down this street, it's just too dangerous. It's not like they go slow when they come through here. They're driving pretty fast down this street. It's really getting out of hand."

Residents and business owners are upset that Knott's is using a new single-lane entrance on La Palma Avenue despite the large three-lane gate the park has on Stanton Avenue. That gate had been the entrance to Knott's before Soak City was built. It is now used as an exit.

According to residents, traffic on La Palma Avenue backs up daily because the single-lane entrance isn't adequate to handle the number of cars and buses. Motorists, including bus drivers, frequently turn onto the side streets opposite the park and drop off passengers.

According to residents, the area around the entrance has become a drop-off and pickup point for park patrons, turning what was once a quiet street into a bustling zone.

"It's not just local buses and cars that are creating the problem," Sanchez said. "You're getting buses from Los Angeles, San Diego . . . all over the place, pulling in here."

But Knott's Berry Farm and city officials contend that the La Palma Avenue entrance is the best way to keep traffic down during the park's peak hours of operation.

City officials say having a separate entrance and exit to the park is meant to maintain a flow during peak hours--3 to 9 p.m.

"What we have found is that using the La Palma Avenue entrance eases the entire congestion problem we would face" if the exit and entrance were at the same spot as before, City Manager Greg Beaubien said.

Beaubien said he encourages the residents to contact the city. "If we found that there were some problems with traffic, at the very least we would go to Knott's and look at what we can do to solve the problem." he said.

Andre Briscoe can be reached at (714) 966-5848.

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