Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) traffic officers will be directing traffic at major intersections in downtown Santa Monica and beach areas every weekend throughout the summer.

The increased effort by police to keep traffic and pedestrians moving easily around the city will begin Memorial Day weekend, Friday, May 27th, and continue through Labor Day, Monday, September 5th.

“Lincoln Boulevard and Fifth Street are far less crowded approaches to downtown than Fourth Street,” said SMPD Lt. Clinton Muir, Traffic Division head.

“We encourage visitors to ‘Take the Fifth’ toward downtown and beachgoers to take Fourth Street south to Pico Boulevard to the South Beach parking lots if arriving after 11 a.m.,” Muir said.

After 11 a.m., parking becomes scarce on or near the Santa Monica Pier, he said.

Parking is $6 all day or $1 per hour for a two-hour maximum stay at South Beach parking lots accessible from Pico Boulevard and Barnard Way, with free shuttle service to the Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade.

Other tips from the police department for residents and visitors to Santa Monica in the summer include:

n exiting the westbound Santa Monica Freeway (I-10) at Lincoln Boulevard and proceeding across Lincoln Boulevard to Olympic Boulevard and turning right on Fifth Street.

Exiting at Lincoln Boulevard helps drivers avoid traffic at the Fourth Street/Fifth Street exit.

n driving south on Colorado Avenue, turning right on Second Street and turning right on Broadway to reach the Santa Monica Place mall.

n using Arizona Avenue east or west to go to downtown Santa Monica instead of using the congested Santa Monica Boulevard.

n heading north when exiting downtown area parking structures on Second and Fourth Streets.

“Rather than heading back into traffic,” the police suggest that drivers take Arizona Avenue or Wilshire Boulevard to Lincoln Boulevard or take Cloverfield Boulevard to the freeway.

Judy Rambeau, assistant to the Santa Monica city manager, suggests that people “take the Big Blue Bus and avoid driving and parking hassles altogether.”