When some of our readers communicated their confusion regarding significant traffic delays on Sunday mornings near Blackhawk, it sparked our interest.
Sundays are usually calm, with less vehicles on the road and no rush hour traffic to be concerned with. Some reported that the approximately 5 minute delays were a result of construction or even an accident.
Upon investigation, we learned that Danville PD was consistently closing 1 of 3 west-bound lanes on Camino Tassajara, in front of the Blackhawk Plaza. There was no accident, no construction and no hazards in the roadway. We also discovered that these closures occur on the first Sunday of every month, for around 2 hours – evidently on the same days as Blackhawk’s Cars & Coffee event.
So, we contacted the folks at the Blackhawk Auto Museum to see if they knew why the road was partially closed- and if it had anything to do with their event. We spoke to Tim McGrane, Executive Director of the Blackhawk Auto Museum, who was able to confirm “the Blackhawk Museum has a services agreement with Danville Police Dept to provide two police officers with patrol cars to provide traffic control as required during the event…the temporary traffic safety pattern is in effect from approx. 9am to just after 10am.” McGrane added that the traffic experienced during the event is no worse than rush hour traffic on the same stretch of Camino Tassajara. McGrane explained “the purpose of this traffic control by the Danville Police is to create a safe departure pattern for cars leaving Blackhawk Plaza and for pedestrians crossing Camino Tassajara at the traffic lights at Blackhawk Plaza Circle.” He goes on to say that Camino Tassajara is a mostly two lane road, and only has three lanes during a small stretch of road in front of the plaza. McGrane notes that the start of lane #3 is simply “extended.” However, most folks that drive Camino Tassajara know that the additional westbound lane is not the far right lane, but the far left. During the closure, vehicles in the right lane must merge into the #2 lane, while vehicles currently in the #2 lane remain there (see photo). As a result, vehicles are temporarily funneled into one lane, which results in the traffic backup some readers reportedly encountered.
We contacted the Town of Danville’s Public Information Coordinator Geoff Gillette about communication with the Museum’s event coordinators regarding traffic safety at the event. He told us that “the [Blackhawk Auto Museum] coordinators pay for two Danville police officers to work overtime during the car show.” He noted that the lane closure was in place to prevent unsafe departures (burnouts, speeding etc) by vehicles leaving the event. Gillette affirmed that “dialogue has been very fruitful and we have established excellent cooperation with the organizers of the event.” In summary, the lane closure is Danville PD and Cars & Coffee event coordinator’s method to ensure traffic safety on Sunday mornings, despite the traffic backup that it may cause.
The Blackhawk Cars & Coffee event occurs the first Sunday of every month, 8AM to 10AM. It is a family friendly event, rain or shine. McGrane encourages our readers to come experience the event, adding that the show has become “an event that local families attend to enjoy both the cars participating and the community spirit of all those attending.”