A majority of Navajo Community Planners, Inc., on November 17 voted to recommend that the City of San Diego add 17 parallel-parking spaces near Cowles Mountain by removing the red curb on a portion of Golfcrest Drive north of Navajo Road. The modification was among solutions proposed this year in response to residents' complaints about hikers parking in their neighborhoods.
Ryley Webb, San Carlos liaison for District 7 city councilman Scott Sherman's office, gave the planning group an overview of efforts to resolve the matter. At the September 16, 2013, Navajo Planners meeting, residents living near Cowles Mountain said hikers were noisy and left behind trash. Residents supported a proposal to add 19 parking spaces on Navajo Road. Planners rejected that proposal, citing safety concerns on the street where the speed limit is 50 miles per hour.
After a July 10 San Carlos Area Council town hall this year, Sherman's office worked with the council on proposals that included removing red curbs on the west side of Golfcrest and restriping the street for bike and travel lanes. Webb said a city traffic-engineer study indicated that the plan was safe.
Webb also presented the curb proposal at the November 5 council meeting. Three residents opposed the change, and one spoke in favor of it. Opposition came from residents whose backyards face the proposed parking spaces.
The council voted unanimously to keep the red curb, action that vice president John Pilch relayed to the planning group. Residents "want the hikers to take a hike. Social media has wrecked Cowles Mountain," he said.
While some opponents told planners that additional parking would bring more people to the area, others said they were concerned about safety. Renee, who has lived on Adonis Court for 18 years, said people "were not following the law or the law of common sense. I see people holding hands as a group" while jaywalking.
"Ditto," said Marcia Raskin. "The red zone has to be there" because of "people darting out" into the street.
Ron Moskowitz was among the four Melotte Street residents who supported additional parking. "People will jaywalk. People will come [to Cowles] no matter what. Someone parked halfway in my driveway and said, ' I'm only going to be an hour.' " In addition, trash in his bushes included a purse taken from a vehicle parked on the street. Moskowitz said he found the owner.
Mike Stein said, "Adding spots takes the pressure off Melotte,” and the red curb is not in front of houses. He added that Cowles Mountain has become more crowded during the past "couple years." Before, people "would get exercise in January, and [the number of hikers] dropped down in February."
San Carlos Library lower parking lot, where parking will be allowed on weekends
Webb reported on other options discussed after the meeting. Cowles Mountain parking will be allowed on weekends in the San Carlos Library lower parking lot, which is on the corner of Jackson and Golfcrest drives. Webb said the city is working on signs to inform hikers about the 30 spaces there.
Taken out of consideration was allowing hikers to park at Mission Trails Golf Course because "space is limited," said Webb. Not discussed at meetings this month was the suggestion by residents to add red curbs on some streets.
During planning-group discussion of the red curb, planners said people already cross Golfcrest from the neighborhoods to reach Cowles Mountain. Steve Grimes cited the traffic-engineer study and pointed out that Cowles is part of a regional park. He said residents spoke about the "direct impact" of having parking closer to their houses. "I don't see objections from the community, other than there are more people there."
In an interview after the meeting, Webb said the next step is for planning-group chair Matt Adams to send a letter about the vote to the city traffic-engineering department. A work order will be created, "and may be stand-alone or grouped with other projects."