Here we are again heading into another “tourist” season in the Gettysburg, Pa area. Oh it is
not your usual tourist season this year. Here in Gettysburg we are used to the summer months being busy, in fact we know what it is like to be really inundated with guests, we enjoyed huge crowds in the years following the Ted Turner “Gettysburg” and “Gods & Generals” productions. I think some people sent their kids to college on the income revenue from those years. Unfortunately, those numbers have dropped dramatically in recent years, couple that with a crippling economy and the Gettysburg, Adams county area has seen tourist numbers fall off. We still get huge crowds, but not like in those Turner years…
This year, this year however is going to be different, this year we are expecting “the
mother of all tourist years”. This year with the advent of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, we are expecting roughly 30,000 people per day for a 10 day period centering on the July battle reenactment. . What does that mean, that means that this little burg of roughly 7,000 people is going to be greatly impacted. Nerves will be tested, and fingers will no doubt raised, but if we all take a breath and try and be patient, I think we can all coexist nicely. One of the biggest challenges during the summer months, for tourists and locals alike is navigating the roadways of Gettysburg proper. Remember these roads were laid out for horses, not semi’s and tens of thousands of motorists. So I thought I might share some helpful information for those confused by the peculiarities of that is driving in the Gettysburg Borough area.
Some tips to help you through.:
> Stop for people in the crosswalk, it is something we do here in Gettysburg. If you see someone getting ready to head into a crosswalk, stop for them and let them pass. The opposite holds true for walkers, DO NOT stand at end of the curb in a crosswalk and not cross the road. Be mindful of where you are and what the traffic is doing around, too many times traffic has backed up because someone is not paying attention, and standing at the curb while traffic in both directions stops to let them cross and they don’t cross.
> When making a left turn from an intersection you will notice that the car on your right
that is going straight is stopping a full car length ahead of you. There is a reason for that positioning, stay back where the signs tell you to stop. The reason is that semi trucks will be traveling through those streets, and if a truck needs to turn and he can’t because you are out there in the way, you and all the cars behind you will have to back up, the semi wins every time in these situations, so be aware and follow the signs directions. they are not mere suggestions.
> If you are sight seeing and want to slow way down to get a pic or a better look, pull over. Be mindful of the traffic behind you, while you are on vacation and we want you to take the time to enjoy all that our historical and beautiful area has to offer, be mindful that we (the locals) are not on vacation. We still have meetings, appointments, children to pick up etc. It’s business as usual for us, please be understanding if you have been driving 15 in a 30 zone mile an hour zone and the car behind you “salutes” as they hastily drive around you.
> This one is big, huge in fact so pay attention. when entering into the traffic circle, the rule is the car in the circle has the right of way. However, when a space opens…take it. Don’t sit there for minutes on end waiting for someone to invite you into the circle. This will snarl up traffic for miles back if you don’t make your safely take your turn into the traffic flow. Special note*** the traffic circle is ONE lane, not two. Some who experience with traffic circles know that some circles can accommodate two lanes, this one in Gettysburg can not.
> It is strongly suggested that you stay off the alleys, the alleys in town are utilized by locals in the summer months. They are a maze of tiny back roads know only to locals, who use them to stay off the main roads during the high traffic summer months. It may seem like a good idea when here, but truly, you will find yourself in a driving situation you don’t want to be. You folks stick to the main roads, and let us locals navigate freely and out your way on the alleys.
Follow these rules and I think we can all make it through this summer season together. If you have an opportunity to utilize bikes, walking, anything that can get you around and keep you off the roadways, use it. You will have a more relaxing vacation, and we will get to our meetings.