San Francisco, CA — The embers of the Annual Gay Pride March has not yet cooled down but Californians are expected to clog the byways and highways when they hit the road this coming Fourth of July. Apparently, a lot more people will be traveling this year during Independence Day, a greater deal more than what has been observed in the past decade.
AAA Northern California estimates that 4.8 million Californians will taking to the road from Friday to Wednesday and some are even taking the opportunity of the mid-week off to file for an entire week’s vacation. It is a 5.2 increase in travelers as compared to 2011 and a significantly higher outcome since 2003.
AAA spokesperson, Cynthia Harris attributes it to the lowering of gas prices and the people being optimistic that the economy is starting to recover and be normal again. According to Harris, “There’s a sort of conscious optimism about what’s happening with the economy. A lot of people have postponed or canceled their travel plans in recent years and are ready to finally take off. It’s spurring people to travel because they feel they can take a few extra days.”
Apparently, the coming Fourth of July holiday has also triggered an increase in other types of transportation like like watercraft, rail, and bus. A 10 percent increase in passengers in expected nationwide by AAA this year.
Despite the no-change in air fare rates, the San Francisco International Airport is expecting 44,000 fliers for this Independence Day weekend. Even in Oakland, a 5 percent increase in airline passengers is anticipated by the airport according to their spokesperson, Rosemary Barnes.
But there are others like CHP Sgt. Diana McDermott who is hoping that this year’s Fourth of July will have less road mishaps as compared to last year. In 2010, 34 people were killed in traffic collisions and 83 percent of those who died in collisions during 2011 would have made it if they had been wise enough to buckle up. McDermott added that 1,562 people were arrested in 2011 for driving under the influence (DUI) during the Independence Day weekend. If people do not wise up this holiday weekend, they might end up either being sued for personal injury, wrongful death or not waking up at all. McDermott’s advice for drivers is that if they find themselves being distracted by the fireworks shooting up from the Embarcadero while on the Golden Gate Bridge, make sure to focus on the road. She stated, ” I’ve worked the San Francisco area on many July Fourths and that’s an accident waiting to happen.”
With all the people traveling this holiday weekend, it could indicate a good sign for California. It could mean that people are still positive that the state’s economy will stabilize soon despite the $15.7 million budget deficit, Governor Brown’s tax initiative and the filing for bankruptcy of Stockton (the largest city to file for bankruptcy as to date).
Hopefully, it could trigger more spending to stimulate the economy. California has lately been struggling hard with the budget deficit and ever since the real bubble had burst, the state seems to have a hard time getting back to its feet again. This coming Fourth of July may it be a sign for everyone that there is still hope that California will be sunny again not just in terms of the weather but in the economy as well. Have a Happy Fourth of July! Stay safe and travel safe.