Los Angeles area beaches saw heavy use this Memorial Day, with some parking lots filled before 10 a.m. and throngs of vehicles clogging roads leading to the coast.
Los Angeles police advised motorists throughout Monday afternoon to avoid Pacific Avenue between Washington Boulevard and Westminster Avenue in the Venice area due to traffic congestion.
Police also said the Vista Del Mar parking lot at Dockweiler State Beach in Playa Del Rey was full and there was a half-mile of backup of cars headed towards beaches on Imperial Highway.
Both directions of Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica were moving at 8 to 12 mph around midday, according to automated reports.
Congestion was also reported on the westbound Santa Monica (10) Freeway in West Los Angeles and Santa Monica leading to PCH.
Battalion Chief Fernando Boiteux of the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Lifeguard Division called it “a big official kickoff for the summer.”
He didn’t have an immediate tally, but said the water rescue total would easily top 100 by the end of the day. There were no fatalities and the bulk of the rescues were routine, he said.
The division, which manned 150 lifeguard stations, was also involved in at least four boat rescues, Boiteux said.
Beach parking lots in Venice and Santa Monica were full by 10 a.m., he said.
“The lifeguards have been busy,” he said. “It’s probably the heaviest crowd we’ve had in 2014.”