A major Simi Valley thoroughfare will be closed Monday for the opening of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, police announced Wednesday.
Police Chief Paul Miller said Madera Road will be closed so police can control traffic and shield elected officials from protesters. Officials expect gay rights activists to protest against Gov. Pete Wilson, who will attend the celebration, he said.
“We assume that something will occur that day,” Miller said. Protesters have followed Wilson since his recent veto of a gay rights bill.
Police will not allow traffic on Madera Road from its southern intersection with Country Club Drive north to Royal Avenue from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sgt. Bob Gardner said.
During these hours, police will turn back drivers who exit California 23 at Olsen Road, which becomes Madera Road.
People invited to the library’s opening will be allowed through the Madera Road police checkpoints, Gardner said.
Residents and visitors to the Wood Ranch development and employees and patrons of businesses in the area also will be allowed to travel on Madera Road.
To prevent traffic delays, police urge commuters to use Tierra Rejada Road for entering and exiting the freeway, Gardner said.
The closed portion of Madera Road, together with Wood Ranch Parkway and Presidential Drive, will be used for parking by the more than 4,000 dignitaries and other visitors expected at the Reagan library on Monday, Miller said.
Simi Valley will use 89 of its 109 police officers to help control traffic and crowds around the library.
Officers from the U.S. Secret Service, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department and four other police departments in the county will buttress the Simi Valley force.
In anticipation of protests by gay rights activists, some Simi Valley police officers will be in riot gear, Miller said.
Simi Valley police went to UCLA last week to videotape gay activists protesting during a speech by Wilson, Miller said.
“We have been observing what has been going on so we can be prepared for anything,” Miller said.