H-AVILA BEACH

Mar 4, 2013 9:21 PM by April Hansen, KSBY News

Business owners worry bike tour will bring congestion

The nation's largest professional bike race will make stops along the Central Coast again this year and this time it will linger in Avila Beach.

Cyclists in the AMGEN Tour of California bike race will start stage five in Santa Barbara and arrive in Avila Beach on May 16, but some business owners are worried the small beach town doesn't have enough resources for this event, especially for parking.

Avila Beach will be the finish line for stage five of the race. Local tour organizers say it will give the area national and international exposure, but some local business owners say they're worried the thousands of potential spectators traveling to Avila Beach will cause traffic and safety concerns.

Michael Kidd owns Joe Momma's Coffee in Avila Beach and says Avila isn't big enough to support this event because there isn't enough parking or space to support it.

Kidd says he plans to close his shop during the race.

At a press conference today, local tour organizers say they have several solutions for the traffic and parking problem.

Greg Schulte is the Assistant County Administrative Officer for San Luis Obispo County and says the Avila Beach Golf Resort will be open for parking with more than one thousand spots.

A shuttle service and bike valet will also be available.

Schulte says the tour committee encourages people to bike in to the race area or carpool to alleviate some of the traffic congestion.

"This is a situation we know we will have a lot of people and we are affirmatively planning to take every step we can," said Schulte.

Schulte says Front Street in Avila will be closed to traffic Thursday morning before the cyclists arrive at the finish line in the afternoon.

Schulte did say business owners will be given a badge, so they'll be able to get to their shops that morning.

He also says if there gets to be to many people, they will stop allowing people in.

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