Home Resources

Trail Parking Could Be Restricted

KEYT.com 16 January 2012

John Palminteri

A fire weather forecast could trigger a ban on road side parking near Tunnel trail in the Mission Canyon area of Santa Barbara. That issue will be discussed Tuesday by the County Board of Supervisors.

At times up to 80 cars could be on the road. But, under the parking ban, during red flag fire alerts, no cars would be allowed to park at the trail head.

The concern is over fire department access, and the potential congestion during an evacuation. A county report shows pictures of cars parked in different directions, and in violation of legal parking rules.

Some are outside of the white parking area lines, and other vehicles have often been seen in red zones and blocking fire hydrants. "This morning I saw some parking diagonal and some were parallel," said hiker Tyson Blades. "It doesn't seem to make sense sometime. A little more direction will be helpful."

But the idea of a parking ban, even in critical fire conditions, is heating up some opinions. "It's a public street and so people should be able to park on it. If people are responsible if they park with the limits and those who aren't responsible have the sheriff come and given them a ticket," said William Edelstein on the trail.

"I've been coming to the trail for 30 years and in the last five years it's gotten a lot more use that's for sure which impacts the parking significantly," said Wade Allman, an avid mountain biker. But he said, "I've never seen it where fire vehicles and other vehicles couldn't get up the road even in its most impacted day so I think it's legit the way it is."

Another hiker said a parking management plan would be helpful. "Maybe they should be a little more specific on the parking, maybe create a little bit more of a clear parking area for the people so that would clear the problem that they are having," said Armando Silva. "We shouldn't have to be punished."