ENCINITAS — A street off of Encinitas Boulevard with a rural feel that neighbors said has become an “overnight parking lot” is getting some relief, thanks to the Encinitas City Council.
The council unanimously banned overnight street parking between midnight and 6 a.m. along Seeman Drive, a dead-end north-south street near the intersection of Encinitas Boulevard and Balour Drive.
City approval came swiftly, as council members had little discussion over the item. In fact, Councilman Mark Muir was prepared to make a motion before the neighbors spoke to the council for 25 minutes.
Residents praised the council’s decision, which had been in the works for several months after neighbors complained to the Encinitas Traffic and Public Safety Commission in early 2017 about the issues facing their neighborhood.
“Our sleepy little street is just plain dangerous,” said Joe Weber, a longtime resident on the street. “Seriously, somebody is going to get killed.”
Seeman Drive is known for its rural feel: there are no sidewalks, no streetlights and the street narrows as you travel south toward its dead end.
But over the past few years, they said, cars have jammed both sides of the narrow street during the night hours, presumably from a nearby large apartment complex that banned guest parking.
Residents said that the management of the Elan Quail Pointe Apartments has been absent or largely dismissive of the neighbors’ concerns. Meanwhile, they said the street crowding is a fire hazard, as it narrows the driving lane to the point where fire engines and ambulances cannot pass through.
Since August, city officials have investigated the apartment complex’s situation to see if it was violating any codes, but found that the complex was approved under the county’s rules before incorporation, and didn’t violate any of the rules.
The city also couldn’t implement a permit zone, similar to one they created along nearby Seacrest Way, because the vehicles creating the parking problem were not commercial vehicles, which is a city requirement to create the permit zone.
Banning the parking on the street, staff said, was the best recourse.
The traffic commission originally recommended the ban start at 10 p.m., but the council, heeding neighbors’ requests, moved the start time to midnight to accommodate neighbors’ guests.
In addition to the ban, the council also authorized staff to permanently ban parking on certain sections of the street where the road is too narrow and parking would limit emergency vehicle access. Staff will work with neighbors to identify the areas.