WALLA WALLA -- Starting Friday, local drivers will need to keep their eyes open for bicyclists.
Lots of bicyclists.
The annual Tour of Walla Walla bicycle races will hit the road starting Friday afternoon with races continuing through Sunday. Race organizers said drivers can expect traffic interruptions on race routes which may briefly slow or divert vehicles. Some traffic delays may also occur, but should last no more than a few minutes.
Drivers on roads being used for Friday and Sunday races may be asked to pull over to the shoulder to wait until racers pass. On some roads this will occur only in one lane for oncoming bicyclists, although one group has permission to use both sides of the road.
During the Saturday afternoon races in downtown Walla Walla, shoppers and spectators are encouraged to park in the lot on Rose Street between Second Avenue and Colville Street or one of the city parking lots on Colville between Sumach and Rose Streets and on Birch Street between Second and Third Avenues.
The lots behind Macy's and on Poplar Street at First Avenue will also be available at designated times. Access will be on Alder Street from Second Avenue. Library patrons can access the Poplar Street lot from Birch Street through the Pioneer Methodist Church parking lot. Cyclists will not be on that section of Poplar Street, but one lane may be used for emergency vehicles.
Free bicycle races for children less than 10 years old will be at 2 p.m. with participants asked to gather at Spokane between Rose and Main Streets. Parent or guardian signatures and helmets will be required. Bicycles must be in safe operating condition with working brakes and secure handlebars.
Information is available from Allegro Cyclery, 525-4949, during shop hours.
Days and Routes
Race days and routes are as follows:
FRIDAY -- Starting at 3:45 p.m., racers will be near Waitsburg and Dayton on Bolles, McKay Alto, Whetstone, Thorn Hollow, Eagar and Kellogg Hollow Roads. The race will conclude about 7 p.m. There will be three groups in separate races running simultaneously.
SATURDAY -- Starting at 7:30 a.m., cyclists will start on Isaacs Avenue at Walla Walla Community College then follow Mill Creek, Five Mile and Russell Creek Roads and Berney Drive. The race is expected to finish at 1:30 p.m.
Starting at noon, racers will be downtown Walla Walla for a closed circuit race. The roads will be closed to traffic and parking until 10 p.m. Shoppers may cross the course to get to parking lots between races, but there may be some delays.
Streets closed will be Main Street between Second Avenue and Palouse Street and Alder Street between Second Avenue and Park Street. First Avenue, Colville, Spokane and Palouse Streets will be closed between Rose Avenue and Birch Street. Park Street will be closed between Baker and Alder Streets. Poplar Street will be closed between Second Avenue and Park Street.
SUNDAY -- Starting at 8 a.m., racers will be on roads between Waitsburg and Walla Walla. Race routes will be on Middle and Lower Waitsburg Roads and Ferris and Bolles Roads. Racers will also be on State Route 124 between Lower Waitsburg and Bolles Roads and in Waitsburg on Third Street and Coppei Avenue.