Bryan Rosen: How To Fix Lost Parking For Montecito Hot Springs Trail | Opinions

The process of removing street parking along Montecito’s Riven Rock Road was disrespectful because there were no public hearings or solicitation for hiker participation. Notices could have been placed at the nearby Hot Springs trailhead on East Mountain Drive, but it was not.

Click to enlarge

Bryan rosen

Parking access for local trails should not be restricted in the future without notice to hikers and the community so that all parties can come together and find a solution. Notices can be placed at the start of trails and public comment can be solicited. He really needs to be part of a larger community program, like that of the Santa Barbara County Board of Trustees.

Including all stakeholders – neighbors and hikers – will help avoid bad feelings and a sense of exclusion. Problems can be solved in a way that is not petty.

So if the neighbors at the San Ysidro trailhead, for example, want to reduce the number of cars by painting white lines on that stretch of East Mountain Drive, there will be a public process.

Yes, a parking problem has been around for over a year on Riven Rock Road, but during that time no good solution has been found, such as creating more shoulder parking spots that would be in the spotlight. away from emergency vehicles.

The Noozhawk article from April 17, “On Montecito’s Riven Rock Road, Hikers and Owners Collide in the Parking Lot,” mentions how resident Steve Buster created a parking space for guests and calls it his private property.

But county assessor maps show a 50-foot public right-of-way for the upper portion of Riven Rock Road. It may be necessary to hire a surveyor to find the exact right of way. Maybe Buster is mistaken in thinking it’s his property. Does he have documents proving that it is his?

I live in Montecito, am on Riven Rock Road a lot and have never seen vehicles in the parking space. A sign says unauthorized vehicles will be ticketed or towed, with a phone number for Bonded Garage.

I called the number and it got disconnected. There is no bonded garage in the telephone directory or on the Internet. So who is going to do the towing? If the hikers’ cars are towed, how will they locate them?

What a great parking space for hikers as it goes 12 feet to the side of the road. It would contain six to eight vehicles parked perpendicular to the road. They would not block emergency vehicles. It would be the perfect parking lot for Riven Rock Road.

I wish Buster would be generous and donate the parking space for the hikers. He would render a great service to the community. He could block the parking space with a cord or cones in the rare event that he needed to use it. Or he could sell or lease the little piece of land to the county.

If Buster gave myself or other hikers permission to park there, we would be allowed. It doesn’t hurt to ask him. I left a message a few days ago.

It is true that there are too many cars in the area, but not all cars need to be accommodated. It is not fair that local residents are subjected to so much traffic and parked cars.

A reasonable number of parking spaces can be provided on Riven Rock Road and surrounding streets to accommodate the historic level of parking that existed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The public right-of-way will have to be determined and parking spaces on the shoulder of Mountain Drive may be created. Eight seems like a good number for the upper part of Riven Rock Road. A new shoulder could be created there to get cars off the road.

Hikers can take bikes to the trailhead to reduce traffic. It is easy to get there with an electric bike. People need to get out of their cars, not just hikers, but residents.

Why not work with the county’s carpooling program to encourage the use of e-bikes to get to the trailhead? Carpool folks at one point were at the Saturday Farmers’ Market handing out free tokens for a new bus line being promoted. Someone could be at the trailhead and hand out free tokens for the e-bikes parked in the rental area.

People are likely to try something if it’s free. The carpooling program may have funding for that sort of thing. Maybe the residents of Riven Rock Road would like to donate.

What is not mentioned in the Noozhawk article is how Riven Rock Road tapers off a bit about a quarter of a mile south of East Mountain Drive, from 22½ feet wide to 18 feet, which is more of a problem for emergency vehicles.

Traditionally, before the pandemic, people parked in the upper part of Riven Rock Road, near East Mountain Drive, and there was no problem at the time.

There are only five houses on Riven Rock Road before it narrows. When cars are parked on the narrowest road, there is about 11 feet of clearance left, compared to 15 feet at the top end. A fire engine is eight feet wide.

There is a real problem with the lower Riven Rock Road, and I wonder why it has taken residents so long to find a solution. The clearance is equivalent to the temporary one-lane East Mountain Drive bridge over Cold Spring Creek.

It’s petty to put tickets on hikers’ cars or tow them away without warning them about parking – either by putting up signs or painting the sidewalk red.

The ticket office will not prevent hikers from coming. Now that the Hot Springs Trail has been discovered, people are coming from all over to enjoy the beautiful trail and the hot springs. Tourists even come from other countries.

Cars parked with tickets are still a problem for emergency vehicles. Why not solve the traffic problem on Riven Rock Road in a more painless way by making it clear that parking is not allowed?

It is unfortunate that residents of the surrounding roads are placing large boulders on their properties right up to the side of the road and putting up signs that this is their private property. This includes places where there is an adequate shoulder for cars to escape emergency vehicles.

It is not legal to block the public right of way and pretend it is yours. It is also not polite or good neighborly.

A little further east there is a sign attached to a stop sign at the northwest corner of East Mountain Drive and Hot Springs Road stating “No Hot Springs Trail Access or Parking”. Hot Springs Road is a public street and people are allowed to walk on it. I’ve been riding my bike on the road for years to access the trail.

A more courteous sign would say “Welcome to our neighborhood. It is a public road, but hikers must stay on the trail. “

Residents would like hikers to be respectful to them, but they should also be respectful of hikers.

– Bryan Rosen, a resident of Montecito, has been hiking local trails since the 1970s. The opinions expressed are his own.