The author lives in Montecito.
On May 17, a threatening note was put on a parked car near the junction of East Mountain Drive and Hot Springs Road. The note said, “Park here again and you will be towed or a rock through your window.”
The vehicle was barely sticking into the Montecito road, much less than a gardener’s car around the corner on upper Hot Springs Road. It belonged to a couple who had hiked up Hot Springs Road to access the Hot Springs Trail.
Deputy Brian Dickey of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office saw the note at 4:15 p.m., and he observed the car was parked OK. Ashley Mayfield of the Montecito Trails Foundation wrote “It looks legal to me?”
Who was so angry, and why was this person upset with the parked car? Vehicles hardly ever park at that spot to access the trail, and the car wasn’t impacting traffic or emergency vehicles.
Someone seems to have been angry at the sign local artist and hiker Mathew O’Hanlon created urging hikers to respect the neighbors and be quiet, for it was tossed into the ravine of Hot Springs Creek near the bridge. It was retrieved and is back in place, although damaged with a corner missing.
Hikers are angry and upset, too, since they have been ticketed by the California Highway Patrol for parking on Riven Rock Road and Mountain Drive.
On Riven Rock Road, there were no signs placed stating that parking wasn’t allowed until recently, and the CHP gave a lot of tickets. Originally, warnings were given, and it was promised that ticketing wouldn’t begin until June 1, but the date was moved up.
Now there are two signs that say “no parking”, which aren’t enough to stop ticketing. Actually, the public can legally park as long as they don’t park over the white lines.
The reason the white lines were put in is to mark where vehicles can’t park and ensure room for emergency vehicles. Under the California Vehicle Code, anyone who parks over the white lines can get a ticket.
Hikers are beginning to understand the situation, and some of them are now parking on the shoulder, not having their vehicles protrude over a white line. Ms. Mayfield said after speaking with an officer, “… the success of cars parked over the curb on Riven Rock. He said they were all fine.”
On Mountain Drive, where there are no white lines, a lot of vehicles have
received tickets. Unfortunately, no signs have been placed which state
that parking is prohibited.
Since cars have been parking on those roads for decades without a problem, one would think the county would have the consideration to put up warning signs.
The county can put up a notice at the trailhead explaining why the situation
has changed, what the white lines mean, and that cars will be ticketed or
towed. No one could miss a large notice at the beginning of the trail. It is basic courtesy for the county to provide an explanation of what’s going
A simple sign at the trailhead would help hikers avoid expensive tickets, and keep cars from protruding in the road.
A CHP officer giving tickets on Mountain Drive informed me that the CHP only comes to the scene when a resident complains. When a wealthy person has an event or a gardener over, vehicles often stick way out in the road.
The public can call the CHP and report these violations. I wish the residents putting rocks to the edge of the road on the public right of way to prevent hikers from parking would get tickets. There would be plenty of room for hikers to park if this wasn’t occurring. So many great parking spaces out of the way of emergency vehicles have been blocked off.