It is estimated that about 7,500 people attending this year's last Hot August Nights car show of the summer. While many enjoyed the popular event Thursday, parents of students at nearby schools were not too happy with the road closures and traffic jams.
One parent said a typical 18-20 minute roundtrip to pick up kids at San Ramon Valley High School took an hour.
"Why on earth would someone plan a Hot Summer Night event on a school day?" the parent asked.
Another parent called it horrific, saying "the leisure activity of car buffs took priority over those of us doing the important job of transporting students."
The Town of Danville received many similar calls, according to Town Manager Joe Calabrigo. In his recollection, it was the first time the event had been scheduled during the school year. Last year, it was on the Thursday before the start of school the following Monday, he said.
The likely reason for the scheduling difference is that the last Hot August Nights is held before the start of the West Coast Nationals GoodGuys event, which runs today, Friday, Aug. 27 through Sunday, Aug. 29 at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton.
In hindsight, Calabrigo said, it was clear that it wasn't possible to have the car show and road closures going on around the same time.
"We made efforts to reach out to at least some of the schools in the area, but it became pretty clear once parents started trying to get into the area to pick-up students that it was a problem," he said. "Because of the heat and the number of vehicles -- almost 500 cars entered into the show -- there were cars that were breaking down, further slowing the movement."
After each event, the Town staff will undergo a debriefing process to talk about what went well and how an event can be improved next time. Next year, if the car show can't precede the school year, Calabrigo said the time of the street closure will be pushed back further so that parents can get in and out of the area to do the pick-up.