Traffic backs up in Lake George Village during the recent Adirondack Nationals Car Show. Local officials are concerned about the lawless behavior occurring during the annual car show which attracts tens of thousands of people. The problems are not associated with those registered for the car show, but people who come to town and drive recklessly — some spinning their tires and skidding around on highways, others doing burnouts that emit clouds of noxious smoke.
The noise of screeching tires and massive clouds of noxious smoke emanating from “burnouts” during the recent Lake George Adirondack Nationals car show held in the village recently were bad enough. Such incidents as well as the traffic gridlock during the three-day event prompted dozens of complaints from emergency response officials, local citizens and business owners this last week.
But when crowds moved into the street and surrounded vehicles whipping around in circles spinning their tires, dozens if not 100 or more people could have been killed — and the practice must be stopped if Lake George is to continue hosting the popular event, village officials said Monday Sept. 14.
Lake George Mayor Robert Blais said that he would be meeting soon with officials of the club sponsoring the event, Albany Rods & Kustoms, to devise remedies for the long list of problems associated with the car show, held this year from Sept. 6 through Sept. 8.
“The number of complaints have been enormous,” he said. “We want them to hold the show in the village, but it’s got to be safe and sane.”
In addition to the vehicular mayhem and unruly crowds egging on outlaw drivers, problems included noise — particularly through the nighttime hours, the tons of garbage strewn on sidewalks and properties, and lack of parking.
Also, local fire police and ambulance squad officials have warned that if an emergency were to occur, responders would not be able to provide assistance due to the extreme traffic backups occurring during the weekend.
2013 Lake George car show was the largest ever
Blais told village board members Friday that this year’s Adirondack Nationals, the 25th annual held in Lake George, was a record-breaker in attendance as well as number of registered vehicles and spectators throughout the village.
“This year show attendance was up enormously,” he said. “Club officials said the 2013 show was by far their biggest in history.”
However, the predominant problems, Blais said, are not with the Adirondack Nationals exhibitors or club members, but with the non-registered hot-rodders that flock to Lake George for the weekend.
The Mayor added that the two parades scheduled by car show officials were launched several years ago with the intention of solving the problem of the dozens burnouts which threaten public safety — and are officially prohibited at the event. He noted that show officials are posted nightly along the parade route, ready to revoke the registration stickers from drivers who spin their tires, and these sentries are empowered to ban the rule violators from participating in the show for three years.
But despite the prohibition, 2013 hosted a record number of burnouts, which can be seen on a dozen or so You-Tube videos. The most graphic of the videos is named “Lake George Burnouts 2013” and was posted by James Baxter.
It was also noted that Battlefield Park was damaged by apparent tire-spinning episodes.
Village board member Joe Mastrodomenico said that owners and managers of shops and restaurants in the village reported that while the nightly parades of show cars were being conducted, retail activity all but ceased due to their stores being inaccessible. He suggested re-routing the parade down Beach Road and from its present route down the length of Canada St. from the north end of the village to the southern end.
Parking shortage looms, solution sought
Blais also observed that in 2014, the immense crowd in Lake George for the car show — as well as the other major local events — will be incurring another problem: lack of adequate public parking.
In 2014, 588 parking spaces that existed this year will be gone: about 500 temporarily in use in the Charles Wood Park, and 88 others in the lot behind Giuseppe’s Restaurant where the proposed multi-story Marriott Courtyard Hotel is to be built.
To offset this loss, village officials have conducted a survey to identify potential sites for a new public parking lot. Their list of sites, after talking to the property owners, has been winnowed down from a half-dozen to three.
Sept. 16, the board voted to pay up to about $1,500 to have the properties appraised. The parcels are on Parrott Street, McGillis Avenue and the largest is at 75 Dieskau St. where the Woodbine Motel is located. This plot is in a hollow, so the site could theoretically accommodate a multi-story parking garage in the future, Blais said. He noted that by law, the village could not pay more than appraised value for any real estate it purchases.