City Proposes Closing Coastal Parks and Parking Areas in Ocean Beach and Point Loma

by on January 7, 2022 · 9 comments

in Ocean Beach

The City of San Diego is seriously considering closing coastal parks and parking areas in OB and Point Loma – as well as in other beach communities.  They say it’s all about the crime, gang activity, late-night parties, illegal bonfires and unauthorized camping.

David Garrick at the U-T reports:

The parks and parking lots, which span from La Jolla to Ocean Beach, would either be physically closed by installing new security gates or posted with signs announcing the overnight closures. They would be added to several coastal parks and lots that already have overnight restrictions in place, some for as long as 20 years.

The list of new areas proposed for overnight closure is based on “recent observations of after-hours activity and requests” from the community, Garrick says.

OB and Point Loma locations that would get new security gates are:

  • Sunset Cliffs Natural Park
  • Ladera Street Parking Lot

OB and PL areas that would get signs saying parking is prohibited at night are:

  • Ocean Beach Dog Beach,
  • Santa Monica Avenue Parking Lot,
  • Newport Avenue and Ocean Beach Pier Parking Lot,
  • Sunset Cliffs Linear Park

Hours of closure would be 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. or midnight to 6 a.m., with gates to be closed by a security service each night. Installations of gates would be contingent on availability of funding, which would be about $6,000 per gate.

Other sites where security gates are proposed include:

  • Torrey Pines City Park and Gliderport,
  • Belmont Park,
  • Mission Bay Park:
  • East Bonita Cove, V
  • entura Cove and
  • Bahia Point.

Other areas that would get signs saying parking is prohibited at night are:

  • Windansea.

Locations that already have security gates for night closures are:

  • La Jolla Shores Kellogg Park,
  • South Mission Beach,
  • South Jetty/ Mission Point,
  • Crown Point,
  • Fiesta Island and
  • Fanuel Park.

The city-police narrative on the closures claims “the new restrictions would serve as a key enforcement tool for police, who are facing increased gang activity in Mission Beach and more overnight parties in Mission Bay Park.”: No mention here of OB or Point Loma.

The city still needs approval from the California Coastal Commission, which is typically reluctant to support restrictions that limit the public’s access to coastal areas. Plus, permission from the commission is also needed to continue enforcing restrictions now in place, because the city’s permit for those restrictions expired last year.

The U-T:

Leaders of the city’s Park and Recreation Department are seeking support for the proposed closures from nearly 50 neighborhood groups and civic organizations to help persuade the Coastal Commission to approve the closures.

Marcella Bothwell, chairperson of the city’s Park and Recreation Board and head of the Pacific Beach Town Council, said Wednesday that limiting the potential areas for crime and mischief along the coast will help police keep order.

She said police must deal with significant gang activity, including stabbings and shootings. The owners of Belmont Park in Mission Beach have offered to pay for nighttime gates if the city gets approval, she said.

“It’s so concerning to them that they’re willing to pay for it,” she said.

Late-night parties, a major problem in Mission Beach and Crown Point during the early stages of the pandemic when bars were closed, also remain a significant problem even though bars have re-opened, Bothwell said.

“We thought they might go away when the bars re-opened, but the kids realized that the beaches are pretty nice, and they don’t have to pay a bar tab,” she said.

Garrick’s article only had one line that expressed any question or doubt of the scheme:

Some residents and environmentalists have questioned whether the proposed new closures would go too far, contending the city’s reaction to many problems is to remove public access.

And Garrick’s answer was to quote Bothwell who told him the new rules only limit parking, not access to the water. “You can still walk on the beach — you just can’t park. So it won’t affect those who persevere.”

Leaders of the Parks and Recreation Department declined requests for interviews about the new proposal. But they said through a spokesman that the proposal is still in its early stages and that the list of proposed parks might change.

“The Parks & Recreation Department has conducted public outreach to local stakeholders for recommendations about how we can better manage coastal parking lots, which may include the installation of additional signage, gates and changes to hours of operation,” city spokesman Tim Graham said this week.

There have been members of the OB community who have wished for gates at Dog Beach and other parking lots to restrict overnight parking. Yet not being able to park at Dog Beach or at other lots after 10 pm or midnight, even locals will be constrained. No more walks on the beach or pier at midnight for residents who live more blocks away than they care to walk at night.

Okay, dear reader from OB and PL, time to chime in. What are your thoughts and concerns?

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Matt Beatty January 7, 2022 at 1:25 pm

I believe that having the beach parking lots closed until six would negatively affect legitimate beach users. A four o’clock hour seems more reasonable for dawn patrol surfers.

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judith curry January 7, 2022 at 1:45 pm

Wonderful. And when those lots close everyone can come to the ones on Sunset Cliffs and Adair and Sunset Cliffs and Osprey – like they don’t already – and party there.

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Greg January 7, 2022 at 1:48 pm

OB and PL areas that would get signs saying parking is prohibited at night are:
Sunset Cliffs Linear Park

I know a sign isn’t a gate but a sign means instant tickets if police show up instead of warnings.

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Angel January 8, 2022 at 7:24 am

So where will these people park? Up the hill?

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OB Toby January 8, 2022 at 3:23 pm

Posting signs closing the parking lots (if enforced) will push overnight
parking onto the residential streets. As usual, no thought of the consequences of gate closures and posting no overnight parking signs and ticketing violations. Does this mean police will patrol neighborhood residential streets and ticket overnight parking? Most likely not. Residential streets will once again have recreational vehicles, campers, vans, etc parking on the street along with garbage, defecating and urinating on streets and lawns as well as noise and parties while the omicron variant surges. It’s a repeat of what happened during the height of the pandemic in 2020 when the parking lots were closed and the parties moved onto the residential streets. Remember when this was televised? Calls to Jen Campbell & Todd Gloria’s office resulted in zero response during a health crisis. Expect more of the same.

How about exploring: residential parking permits; signs on residential streets posting no overnight parking for vans, campers; recreational vehicles & trailers and patrol cars ticketing violations? For people who are homeless how about officers intervening to offer a place they can go to to get the services that may help them instead of just moving them around?

Yes, I get it; these suggestions are not perfect. I’m well aware that “I don’t have all the answers.” But, let’s get to a place of inclusion to seek solutions instead of politicians taking actions without exploring the consequences of them. Yes, I have contacted Jen Campbell’s office and offered these solutions with no response from her. Yes, I and some other neighbors have met together to resolve some issues that resulted in success to improve the safety in our neighborhood (getting “Stop” signs installed).

It’s time to reach out to your neighbors and initiate or join neighborhood watch groups. Contact the police department and ask for your precinct neighborhood safety rep to come out and talk to you and your neighbors (we did this).
Contact the Mayor’s office and Jen Campbell’s office and voice your opinions.

At a minimum:
– Talk to your neighbors
– Get involved
– Initate & show up for neighborhood meetings
– Contact your city council members AND follow up with them.
– When your requests for assistance and suggestions for improvement are
met with responses of “we can’t do that” counter by asking
“what can be done?”
– At the next election remember their actions and cast your vote
appropriately.

Yes, I know we all have lives, we’re all busy. However, getting more people involved may lead to having your concerns being addressed. At least you’ll have the satisfaction of havng done something.

Reply

Paul Webb January 9, 2022 at 2:05 pm

Be careful about proposing parking permit programs. Having lived in an area that had a residential parking program in place, I can tell you from personal experience that it a real pain to live with. Yes you are more likely to find a parking space when you come home, but if you forget to display your permit you can and will be fined. Also, your friends cannot come and visit because they don’t have a permit. Oh, and once a year you have to apply and pay for a permit. I would support this only as a last resort.

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Paul Webb January 8, 2022 at 10:42 am

Having spent a big part of my career working for the California Coastal Commission, I never thought I would write these words – I think it is time to have some parking restrictions at our beaches. When I go to the Dog beach lot early in the morning, I see how many spaces are taken by van-lifers and others living in their cars, trucks, campers, etc. I also see the mountains of trash some (not all, obviously) leave behind.

Although I don’t exactly fear for my safety, I do find myself uncomfortable much of the time. It has become something of a freak show at times. I’ve also seen a lot of really unsavory activity that wish I was not a witness to.

Signs indicating overnight parking went up on East Mission Bay Drive, and the mess that was occurring there every night is gone. I hate the idea of limiting access to the beach, but it’s just not a good situation for anyone. Something has to be done.

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El January 9, 2022 at 2:21 pm

How about ticketing the people causing problems and leaving alone vehicle dwellers not bothering others?

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kh January 11, 2022 at 9:36 am

Street parking on Newport is plentiful at midnight. You won’t have issues walking the pier at midnight. Coastal has also historically approved nightly closures, since beach access is considered a daytime activity. They do want to ensure it reopens at a time that doesn’t give locals preference over visitors.

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