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Traffic Commission backs nighttime no-parking zone on Seacrest Way

Concerns about long-term parking, litter and drug use prompted the Encinitas Traffic and Public Safety Commission on Aug. 10 to unanimously support a no-parking zone from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Seacrest Way.

The proposed nighttime parking ban would extend to neighboring streets also affected by the issues: Sea View Court and Pacific View Lane. Those residing on the two streets could obtain permits that would exempt them and up to three visitors.

Residents at the meeting said questionable people often exceed the current 72-hour parking limit on the streets, and when they take off, some leave behind liquor bottles and drug paraphernalia. And Seacrest Way has become so congested that cars park at the corners of intersections, blocking the visibility for drivers turning on to the street, they said.

“The overnight ban removes the easy and constant convenience to drop garbage, clothing, used tampons, condoms, alcohol containers, drug trash, etc. on Seacrest Way under the darkness of night,” said Rebecca Baker, who lives on Pacific View Lane.

With the commission recommendation, the Encinitas City Council will consider the parking ban in the next few months. Right now, there’s only one nighttime no-parking zone in the city — Devonshire Drive near Scripps Memorial Hospital, which was established to discourage hospital employees from parking on the street.

Some stated the Seacrest Way parking problems exist in part because of the 248-unit Essex Heights Apartments to the south. They said Essex Heights residents and visitors increasingly choose to park on Seacrest Way, instead of paying for parking passes for the complex.

Nine public speakers voiced support for the overnight ban, with two opposed.

Marilyn McLeod, who lives in the Essex Heights Apartments, said Seacrest Way serves as overflow parking when parking spaces in the complex are filled. Essex Heights residents should at least be given permits to park on Seacrest Way, she added.

“I know some apartment people really rely on that parking,” McLeod said. She added that banning overnight parking is “one-sided,” and that an increased Sheriff’s Department presence or painting more curbs red at intersections should be explored.

Rob Blough, the city’s traffic engineer, said the owner of Essex Heights Apartments is in support of the overnight parking ban and has reported there’s sufficient parking in the complex. But given some opposition to the overnight parking ban, Blough suggested the commission consider overnight permits just for Essex Heights residents and visitors so they could park on Seacrest Way.

However, the commission declined to pursue the idea.

“It seems to me if the ownership of the apartments isn’t here raising a fuss, there’s a non-issue there,” Commissioner Dave Hutchinson said.

Concerned residents in the area initiated the nighttime no-parking zone by recently submitting a petition to the city. They said most of the problems are on Seacrest Way, but banning overnight parking only on that street would push the problems to Sea View Court and Pacific View Lane, so those streets should be included in the no-parking zone.

Commissioner Peter Kohl supported the commission action, but said enforcement could be an problem, since parking violations aren’t necessarily a priority for the Sheriff’s Department.

“Sometimes it may take a while before a patrol deputy or traffic deputy can even show up,” Kohl said.

Residents also complained that having so many cars on Seacrest Way makes it difficult for street cleaners to get rid of debris. But Kohl said this problem might not get much better, since the ban is only at night.

Parking permits for residents and visitors would run $5 each and last indefinitely. The funds would go toward signs marking the no-parking zone.


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