The majority of Navajo Community Planners, Inc., on September 16 voted to oppose a City of San Diego proposal to put 19 parking spaces on Navajo Road, a street where the speed limit is 50 miles per hour and parking currently is not allowed.
The plan, endorsed by the San Carlos Area Council on September 11, places parking spots on the north side of Navajo Road near the entrance to the Cowles Mountain hiking trail on Golfcrest Drive.
The plan, prompted by requests from "nearby residents,” would move the bike lane "away from the curb" in the area striped for parking, according to an August 15 letter from senior traffic engineer Gary Pence.
People living on and near Golfcrest asked the city for relief from hikers parking in their neighborhoods, throwing trash in their yards, and being unaware that the mountain amplifies sounds.
"People are screaming; their radios are blaring," said Melanie Ross. “They bang their shoes on the guardrails; it sounds like gunshots.” Ross declined to say what street she lives on.
In an interview between the two meetings, Ross said car alarms wake her at 4 a.m. While brushing her teeth at 7:30 a.m., she hears the conversations of hikers on the trail. Ross said she found broken glass in her yard, along with dirty diapers, condoms, a dildo, and broken piece of furniture.
At the San Carlos meeting, Ryley Webb, representative for District 7 councilman Scott Sherman, said the trail on Golfcrest is the most popular route for hiking Cowles Mountain. When he spoke about the plan for 11 spaces on Navajo east of Golfcrest and 8 spaces to the west, resident Rita Hartman said, "I see accidents waiting to happen."
Maxine Farber said, "It's a major trail. You're not going to get rid of the cars. [When Navajo spaces fill up, drivers] will go to other side streets."
Council vice president John Pilch supported the plan, saying, "You're taking 19 cars out of the neighborhood. There are no businesses, no homes,” on that part of Navajo. Webb also reported that additional trashcans have been placed along the trailhead and signs posted. He also said the city was working on policing the park and the amplification issue.
Ross recommended installing signs about the sound amplification. When people spoke about safety issues related to parking on Navajo, she suggested lowering the speed limit to 30 miles per hour in that area.
At the Navajo meeting, Webb reported that the traffic engineer said the speed limit wouldn't change, and the parking proposal was based on factors including the Golfcrest signal light slowing drivers.
The planning-group discussion focused on bicycle safety. "My sister was killed by a drunk driver in a similar situation," said Terry Cords.
Steve Grimes was concerned about the turn lane cutting into the bike lane. Mary Miller spoke about drivers backing up to park as cyclists rode past.
After voting to oppose the proposal, planners said issues such as noise would be placed on a future agenda.