August 06, 2001 11:00 pm

The Union County Fair Parade is one of the most popular parades La Grande has each year. The parade draws a variety of participants and a sizable crowd of spectators. The weather is usually good and participants and spectators have a good time that is, if the spectators can see around the cars that line both sides of Adams Avenue during the parade. One of these days, someone is going to get hurt because cars are allowed to park on the parade route.

The time has come to stop allowing people to view the parade from cars parked on Adams. Theres no compelling reason why cars shouldnt be banned from the parade route. Some people might argue that elderly people and people with disabilities need to be able to park on the street to view the parade. But with side streets closed which would allow for front-row viewing for people with special needs and the curb cuts La Grande has along Adams, theres no reason anyone would have to miss the parade because of accessibility issues.

La Grande could adapt to such a change. Other communities have been doing it for years. The fact that its always been done this way doesnt make sense.

The parked cars are a safety concern. Kids run out from between them to grab the candy that is tossed their way. What if a horse or a vehicle strikes a child? What if a car door opened and spooked a horse? Would the potential for injury be worth the risk because La Grande has always allowed people to get front-row seats in their parked cars?

The police need to establish a policy that says parked cars are not allowed on the street during parades. Signs would have to be posted the morning of a parade to let people know that cars remaining on the street during a given time will be towed.

If options for the elderly and disabled didnt exist, the need to move cars off of Adams wouldnt be an issue. But the fact is that options for viewing do exist.

Get the cars off the street during parades. We shouldnt wait for an accident to happen before we decide this is an important issue. The community can adapt.

Get wheels off sidewalks

As long as were on the subject of safety, the police should get serious about enforcing rules about skateboards, scooters and bikes on sidewalks. Too many people using these methods of getting about are still using sidewalks, despite the police departments notice a few weeks ago to enforce the law.

During the fair parade, bicycles some pedaled by adults and scooters were out and about. The message that riding on sidewalks is prohibited apparently hasnt reached everyone. An Observer staffer saw a youngster narrowly miss a woman as he scootered along the sidewalk. Shortly after that, a mom and dad and their two kids, all riding bikes, were seen weaving in and out of the spectators along the sidewalk.

Parents and kids need to use some common sense and obey the laws. Its tough to teach our kids to do the right thing if we, as parents, dont set the example. Reminders from the police are going to be necessary if people are to learn what the laws are.