City not equipped to handle Grand Illumination crowd

My wife and I ventured downtown Sunday night for the Grand Illumination. We won't go again, it was not a good experience.

As everyone knows, there are not nearly enough parking spaces for the hundreds and hundreds of cars, restricted by road blocks to many streets and roads, some for no apparent reason. As always, it was dark as pitch in the historic area, as Colonial Williamsburg continues to pretend it's the 18th century. You can’t see where to walk on sidewalks and gravel walks that are not lighted, poorly laid out and uneven.

Hordes of people with small children, even dogs, had to cross streets in the dark against an endless stream of two-way traffic. The local police did a good job of blocking off streets, but made no attempt to direct traffic or help pedestrians cross against the traffic. The drive home through the College of William and Mary was a pleasure given the lighting and ability to clearly see pedestrians trying to cross the street.

The city and CW should be admonished for inviting throngs of people to a town essentially laid out in the 17th and 18th centuries, then giving them no help with driving, parking or pedestrian traffic. Mitchell Reiss is so concerned with visitor safety, he wants to erect a fence around the historic area. First, he and the city should be concerned with public safety at the Grand Illumination. We believe the city is currently not equipped to safely accommodate a crowd of this size at night.

William Bryant


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