The Imperial Beach dawn patrol just got easier, with the city council on October 1 finalizing its approval of allowing people to park on Seacoast Drive as early as 5 a.m., pulling the restriction back two hours.
"That's awesome," said surfer Ruben Vasquez. "If we can get out here as early as possible, we can get more waves before we go to work."
The council voted to finalize the ordinance at their Wednesday-night meeting, but not before it was almost sent back to the drawing board.
Councilman Ed Spriggs said residents along Seacoast Drive had let him know they were worried about the extra noise in the early morning hours.
"There can be a lot of boisterous activity on those street ends as our beach and water users — I don't want to use any terms that define who they are — but as our beach and water users are getting ready to engage and have a good time," Spriggs said. "It's not unreasonable for residents to say they're very concerned about going to 5 a.m. when it's already very noisy at 6:30 or 7 o’clock, when people are getting ready to start their day or get in the water."
But adding noise restrictions would have sent the ordinance back to the drafting board, the city manager said. Instead, Spriggs suggested some signs reminding people that others are sleeping at 5 a.m.
Early-morning surfers on Friday, October 3, said they do talk to each other while they're watching the waves and deciding whether or not to suit up and go in. But they tend to be on the edge of the sand, not on the sidewalk while that's happening.
"There are people who do some yelling," a surfer named Myron said. "But a lot of the time it's the runners and joggers who are giving each other props on the sidewalk, not us."
Runners did indeed outnumber surfers along Seacoast Friday. But the eased parking restriction was still good news.
"I have seen much enforcement, but I'd rather do things legally," said David Endahl. "It can be a challenge to park on the side streets and lots if there are a lot of people out, and this will help."