Red Paint Will Curb Public Access to Palos Verdes Nature Preserve, One of Los Angeles County’s Most Significant Open Spaces

Rancho Palos Verdes City Council votes to eliminate public street parking near Portuguese Bend Reserve

Parking restrictions in Rancho Palos Verdes
On Aug. 18, Rancho Palos Verdes’s City Council voted unanimously to adopt new “temporary” parking restrictions at Portuguese Bend Reserve. Credit: City of Rancho Palos Verdes.

 

See a full set of photos illustrating parking restrictions at Portuguese Bend Reserve on the Emmett Institute Flickr page

Update: Responding to public concern about its new parking restrictions, the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council voted unanimously at its meeting on Sept. 1 to move away from a full parking prohibition. The council voted to remove a limited number of parking spaces along Crenshaw Blvd. I will update again when the final plan is released. On Sept. 1, a city staffer responded by email to this blog post. I have included relevant notes below. 

Using COVID-19 for cover, the City of Rancho Palos Verdes took steps this month to limit public access to a popular portion of the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve, an open space rivaled in size and beauty in Los Angeles County only by Griffith Park, the Santa Monica Mountains, and Angeles National Forest.

The city council should immediately re-consider its decision to eliminate public street parking near the Portuguese Bend Reserve, made hastily on Aug. 18 with public input only from local homeowners, and set to be confirmed at another meeting on Sept. 1. A more equitable solution is needed to provide public access. Non-residents make up more than 95 percent of visitors to the preserve on holidays and weekends and the purchase and management of the public space is supported by state and county resources.

Portuguese Bend Reserve, seen from Del Cerro Park. Credit: Daniel Melling
Local homeowners have long advocated for restrictions on public street parking within a half mile of the trailhead for Portuguese Bend Reserve in Rancho Palos Verdes. Credit: Daniel Melling

The new parking restrictions reinforce the Palos Verdes peninsula’s reputation for hostility to outsiders in open spaces, especially Latino and Black visitors, who have historically been excluded by racial covenants from purchasing properties on the peninsula. Today Black and Latino residents make up only 10.8 percent of Rancho Palos Verdes residents, compared to 57.6 percent across Los Angeles County. The restrictions add to a long history in California of homeowners excluding the public from the coast through parking restrictions, legal or illegal. While sanctioned by lawmakers, Rancho Palos Verdes’s “no parking” measures have the same effect as the illegal red-painting of curbs by a vandal in La Jolla earlier this summer: deterring non-residents from enjoying a protected public space that is only accessible by car. [Note: a recent Los Angeles County report provides useful information on park inequity across the region.]

The parking restriction was decided at an Aug. 18 city council meeting, when four councilmembers voted unanimously to paint curbs red and install “no parking signs” along Crenshaw Blvd. south of Crest Rd. The council’s move will eliminate 55 parking spaces near popular trailheads for the Portuguese Bend Reserve, the largest portion of 1,600 acres of open space with habitat managed by the nonprofit Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy (PVPLC) in partnership with state agencies. [Update: the city noted that PVPLC manages habitat on preserve lands and I have adjusted the sentence above accordingly. For more information on the city’s partnership with state agencies and local nonprofits on use of the land, including its primary purpose as protecting listed species and their habitat, and guidelines for public access, see documents and background information on the City of RPV’s website here.]

The new restrictions force visitors to park a further half mile away on a major arterial road and present a significant barrier for entry for all visitors–but especially families, those with mobility constraints, and the elderly.

Dangerous street parking along Crenshaw Blvd.
Rancho Palos Verdes has eliminated safe public street parking and shunted vistors to a stretch of Crenshaw Blvd. where cars routinely travel at more than 45 mph and a crash barrier separates pedestrians from cars. Credit: Daniel Melling

The parking restrictions create a major safety hazard for visitors, increasing the risk of vehicle collisions and serious pedestrian injuries along a stretch of Crenshaw Blvd. where cars and trucks routinely drive at more than 45 miles per hour. On one side of the street, a waist-high collision barrier installed to prevent vehicles from crashing at speed into nearby backyards stands between the curb and parking. Two newly installed city A-frames at the top of the intersection are the only signage to indicate that parking is in fact legal along the street.

While some of Los Angeles County’s most popular trails have seen sensible adjustments to access to prevent COVID-19 transmission, overcrowding inside the Portuguese Bend Reserve is not the reason for the city council’s new parking restrictions. Both local homeowners and city officials speaking at the Aug. 18 meeting agreed that the preserve’s trails have plenty of room for hikers. Rather, homeowners lodged complaints about drivers waiting for street parking spots or making (legal) u-turns.

The complaints are not new. The city has reduced public access to open space before at the request of local residents. In 2015, the city made the controversial move to cut 42 parking spots along the same stretch of Crenshaw Blvd., by painting curbs red. The city also added signage on neighborhood streets restricting visitor parking. Local homeowners have opposed some alternative city proposals to manage access, contending that parking meters on public streets would cause “blight” and a long-planned parking lot at the foot of the reserve would increase crime and traffic. [Note: for a detailed account of neighborhood concerns over traffic and noise and the city’s response, read a staff report and other information attached to the city’s Sept. 1 agenda item.] 

The city’s new “no parking” order will be in effect for 65 days as city staff produce a more complete parking plan for the reserve. Staff have already extensively studied and made recommendations for several parking options, including an online reservation system, pay stations along public streets, or a long-planned “Gateway Park” parking lot at the foot of the Portuguese Bend Reserve.

Councilmembers at the Aug. 18 meeting acknowledged the city is unlikely by early November to have decided, let alone implement any alternative parking plan. As a result, the city could vote to indefinitely extend the “temporary” parking restrictions for any number of two-month periods. [Note: the city has declined to commit to a date when it would remove any “no parking” signage. An agenda report for the city’s Sept. 1 meeting included the following discussion note, “It is recommended that the temporary no parking area expire November 5, 2020 (within the 60 day time period). If viable parking solutions are still incomplete, staff will bring this temporary no parking item back to the City Council at its November 4, 2020 meeting to consider its options including a time extension for the temporary no parking area.”]

While I don’t have the same legal training as most of my Legal Planet colleagues, I see several reasons the council should restore parking on Crenshaw Blvd. near the trailhead and seek creative solutions to increase access to this important public space.

The council came to a decision without hearing perspectives from Rancho Palos Verdes residents who require parking to access the trailhead. Non-residents were also denied a voice in the decision, even though many have made financial or volunteer contributions to PVPLC and may live in communities devoid of open space.

The new parking restrictions may violate the deed of sale for the Portuguese Bend Reserve. At the Aug. 18 meeting, a city staffer noted that as part of the city’s 2005 purchase agreement for the parcel, the city was “required to provide adequate, reasonable parking for the reserve” and cannot give preferential treatment to anyone based on their residence for entry into the reserve. [Update: a city staffer shared the following information: “The City has received grant funding from a variety of federal, state, county, and local sources.  Below is language which is part of the one of the LA County deed restrictions associated with the grant pertaining to equitable access: ‘Any beach, park or other public facility acquired, developed, rehabilitated or restored with funds derived under this resolution shall be open and accessible to the public without discrimination as to race, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, religious belief, national origin, marital status, physical or medical handicap, medical condition, or place of residence…The recipient shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any person or organization seeking to use such facility based upon the place of residence of such person or member of such organization.’”] [Note: a PVPLC timeline details the sequence and amounts of state, county, private, and city funds used to acquire and conserve preserve lands.]

The “no parking” measure is not a recommended solutions among several analyzed by city staff, who concluded painting curbs red would require “extensive public outreach before implementation.” [Note: a city staffer said their recommendations applied to a permanent, and not “temporary,” redcurbing measure. Read the full staff report and a staff PowerPoint presentation from Aug. 18 for information on the city’s proposed long-term parking solutions and recent short-term measures taken, including more law enforcement and online communications efforts to highlight access to other parts of the preserve. ]

The Aug. 18 vote would have gone into effect without notice but for a requirement that a city ordinance be passed to authorize the street change. As a result, the public was provided seven days’ notice via updates to the city’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. [Note: The city also sent an Aug. 26 update via its email listserv. The Aug. 18 city council meeting agenda item did not include any explicit reference to redcurbing or “no parking” restrictions on Crenshaw Blvd.]

It’s not clear the new parking restrictions improve public safety, a requirement for the special ordinance. The plan shunts street parking down Crenshaw Blvd. to a segment of road with much faster and higher volumes of vehicle traffic, where parallel parking would be more likely to result in collisions and pedestrians are at far greater risk of injury.

The parking restrictions may attract the scrutiny of the California Coastal Commission, a state agency tasked with preserving public access to the coast, which has previously weighed in on parking at Abalone Cove, a nearby coastal reserve also managed by PVPLC, nixing a city proposal for preferential parking treatment for local residents. [Update: a city staffer shared that “the City’s Coastal Zone, under the California Coastal Commission’s jurisdiction, does not include the Portuguese Bend Reserve and extends from Palos Verdes Drive South/West to the ocean.”] [Note: In addition to other state contributions, the California Coastal Conservancy, another state agency, contributed $1,500,000 in 2005 for the acquisition of the Portuguese Bend Reserve. In 2009, the Coastal Conservancy authorized a disbursal of $5,500,000 for the purchase of the Filiorum Reserve, a land parcel adjacent to the Portuguese Bend Reserve and accessible by the Burma Rd. trailhead off Crenshaw Blvd. and at Ocean Terrace Rd. Authorization was subject to the following condition, among others: ‘The City shall permanently dedicate the property for habitat and resource protection, open space preservation, and public access (to the extent compatible with habitat and resource protection) in a manner acceptable to the Executive Officer.’ The City of Rancho Palos Verdes contributed $600,000 for acquisition of the property]. 

In coming to a solution, the council should consider ways to include more diverse voices in its decision-making process. The councilmembers voting on Aug. 18 were all white men, most with engineering degrees, who spent significant time considering complex and expensive technical solutions such as online permit reservation systems and not enough time soliciting and listening to the viewpoints of non-residents and other stakeholders.

Preserving public access will require city officials to transcend the city’s legacy of exclusion and do the community engagement necessary to make decisions reflecting the perspectives and interests of a broader group of constituents.

[Aug. 31, 11:25 p.m.]: I updated the post to reflect more accurate U.S. Census data for Black and Latino populations in Rancho Palos Verdes and Los Angeles County. The previous post stated that Black and Latino residents make up 7 percent of residents on the Palos Verdes peninsula.

[Sept. 11, 5:39 p.m.]: I updated two sentences in the blog post to better represent the nature of homeowners’ historical positions on parking for access to the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve. For more information on homeowners’ positions and the city’s response, see detailed city staff reports on March 17, 2020 and Aug. 18, 2020.]

Disclosures: I grew up in Rancho Palos Verdes and volunteered in high school with the PVPLC to clear non-native species from parts of the reserve. Two family friends currently serve on the PVPLC board of directors.

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Reader Comments

53 Replies to “Red Paint Will Curb Public Access to Palos Verdes Nature Preserve, One of Los Angeles County’s Most Significant Open Spaces”

  1. Brilliant analysis. I hadn’t known all of this history or what was currently happening. I live in RPV and will email our city council members.

    1. Thanks Kathy, the city has already posted signage at the Portuguese Bend trailhead. And yes, property owners along the California coast have long used both legal and illegal strategies to rob nonresidents of access to public spaces, with parking restrictions a common practice.

    2. This is full of outright lies and misinformation. There is no action nor intent to restrict access in any way at this time. The purpose is to temporarily fix the horrific traffic conditions on a short section of Crenshaw. It had almost nothing to do with COVID and much more about exploring proper, off street parking, just like every other open space park has in southern California.

      1. Hi Gregory – I heard your comments at the Aug. 18 meeting and respect your position as a local homeowner seeking to mitigate disruptions that have occurred with parking on public streets near the Burma Road trailhead, especially as more visitors seek to use the trails amid the pandemic. In my notes, I heard you say that the current situation was “beyond dangerous” and that painting curbs red along this stretch of Crenshaw Blvd. was “the only solution” to present traffic conditions.

        I was concerned to hear at the meeting that many local homeowners have opposed the off-street parking proposal at Gateway Park that the city has planned for many years and that is a core recommendation of city staff moving forward.

        While the councilmembers described the measures as “temporary” at their meeting, they also acknowledged that the city was unlikely to have implemented a longer-term solution by November, and would likely vote to extend the parking restrictions into 2021.

        Whatever the intent of the councilmembers in their Aug. 18 vote, the parking restrictions do have the effect of limiting public access to the preserve, especially for families and the elderly, who will have greater challenges parking and walking safely from Crenshaw Blvd. north of Crest Rd. to the trailhead.

        If there are any specific “lies” or “misinformation” contained in my post, please let me know and I will consult my notes from the Aug. 18 meeting and my research notes in preparing this blog post.

    3. This is so untrue. It is so dangerous to park there. People drive between 50-60 mph down that stretch. It is basically considered a highway in palos verdes. I have seen so many near incidents of people opening doors and almost get to killed by people driving down Crenshaw. So unsafe and never in the history of palos verdes has anyone ever parked there until recently. Also I see so many people not wearing masks it’s unbelievable. So that is not a lie either.

      1. I was thinking about that as well! PV DR SOUTH is, in my opinion, a dangerous road to drive on, especially for those who are unfamiliar with the rollercoaster road😬. people can get DISTRACTED WHILE DRIVING, easily. I have seen drivers pull up their phones to capture the view along the way! ,

        I like to think ppls intent is NOT to be “mean” and keep people out but rather, an intent to keep people safe.

  2. Mixed feelings here. I am saddened by loss of access but also witness a huge number of careless visitors (not just to this location) leave wrappers and bottles next to their car because they don’t want to carry it back to their home…or even the local trash can.

      1. So what would you do about it? Wine, beer bottles wrappers, trash everywhere. Why can’t people just be respectful of nature? Is that too much to ask? I think access should remain but simply don’t understand the disrespect shown .

  3. Rich people always try to block outsiders coming to their town. There are so many lands in PV where parking lots can be developed for public access to beaches and the city together with residents will never allow. How dare residents block access to beaches. Beaches are not theirs!

  4. I am a long time RPV resident and appalled by the proposed restriction (and those that preceded it). I use the trails regularly and am thrilled to see their being used by a diverse population. The “public parking” designated north of Crest Road on Crenshaw is hazardous. This “temporary” restriction should not be implemented.

    1. Hi Roberta – I visited the section of road in question today and agree that it is very hazardous for parking, with cars traveling downhill at more than 45 mph. On one side, anyone parking would have to leap over a collision barrier to access the sidewalk. I am glad to hear that you appreciate the diversity of visitors, which was a core aim of the many funders who made this preserve a reality.

  5. Same old, same old. In the 1960s when a University was proposed for the South Bay, land owned by the state was on the hill. There are actual letters in the archives at CSUDH that are from residents that claimed the minority students would rob their houses.

    1. Thanks Traci – I had not heard of this proposal and would find the CSUDH archives fascinating. I know Palos Verdes was also considered as a potential location for UCLA before the campus landed in Westwood. I would be curious if any libraries hold documents for that proposal and what the public reaction might have been (PV was much less developed then). I also remember neighborhood opposition to student housing at the Marymount College campus in RPV.

  6. This has nothing to do with race. Stop already. This is about selfish residents who don’t want any people from o/s pv or from pv o/s their area, Black, White, hispanics, asian, they dont wany anyone. The population of blacks on pv is 7%? What is the % in LA county. Answer <10% so there isn't much difference.
    Can't own land? In the 50s Asians also couldn't buy land but now constitute a third of pv. Perhaps there were racist people in the past, but asians have largely replaced those people. There isn't one law or practice that prevents black ownership.

    1. PV rez – discrimination against Black residents in real estate markets throughout the 20th century has been well documented in Southern California and across the U.S., with lasting impacts on inter-generational wealth building. My citation suggested that Black and Latino residents make up 7% of residents in Palos Verdes (not a specific city). I checked against U.S. Census data, and realized that my citation may be outdated. Black and Latino residents make up ~11% of Rancho Palos Verdes residents (1.8% and 9.0%, respectively). Other cities are PVE=10%; RHE=11.6%. Across Los Angeles County, Black residents make up 9% of the population and Latino residents 49%. I will update the post to reflect these more up-to-date statistics.

    2. I agree that the local residents who support the parking ban are not motivated by race. They just want less people parking near their neighborhoods.

      But the IMPACT of the parking ban does involve race and class privilege. Based upon my own observations of the visitors who park on Crenshaw to visit the Preserve, there are more Black and Brown people visiting the Preserve than live in RPV.

      Those of us who live in RPV and near the Preserve are privileged to have easy access to the coastal trails. We should not be making it more difficult for those who are not so privileged to come and visit the Preserve.

  7. Hello, thank you for your wanting to keep us aware and well-informed about this motion to essentially eliminate more parking for non-residents rightfully wanting to explore nature and trails. I will say that I never had to rely on a car but I do use the Metro bus to travel to the P.V. Peninsula Plaza and then walk up at least half-an-hour to reach the preserve. Saying that, I am a non-resident but I am aware that most would not be willing to trek that far and park farther away. Perhaps a better alternative would be to establish another shuttle that can carry folks up to the preserve and down back to a disclosed parking lot location, such as by the plaza I stated.

    1. Hi Alex,

      I’m glad to hear that you were able to use LA Metro to access the reserve. The proposed “Gateway Park” at the foot of the park would also have potential for another transit connection along Palos Verdes Dr. S which is currently only served by PV Transit Authority (the terminal stops for two LA Metro bus routes, 344 and 246, come within 5 and 7 miles respectively of the proposed “Gateway Park” location, so would require walking or biking to reach a trailhead there, without further modifications to the LA Metro route.)

      I support transit-to-trail programs and a previous version said that the trail was “mostly” not “only” accessible by car, with a view to accommodating users like you who arrive by bus or bicycle – I should have kept that original language. That said, and as you acknowledge, for most users, car parking is the only practical means for accessing the trailhead, especially for users coming from cities across Los Angeles County that are relatively park poor.

      On the shuttle idea, I posted a similar comment below, but adding here too – RPV city staff have considered a shuttle system as part of a 2018 study of various parking options. Their report to the council ahead of its Aug. 18 meeting contained the following notes:

      “Staff does not recommend a shuttle system due to the high costs of the program, the challenges of operating a shuttle service under L.A. County Department of Public Health COVID-19 guidelines for public transportation, its general lack of popularity with users, and its likely modest effectiveness in reducing parking impacts in the Del Cerro neighborhood.”

      If you search for “shuttle” in the report here, you will find more notes on the shuttle proposal and analysis of other parking options: https://rpv.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=5&event_id=1672&meta_id=85745&fbclid=IwAR0rovP4fZlNp_0EeltughL1-yMJIo3d0IIDnrEp6nbVdfXXOVeK9cwg3-E

      Here are slides city staff presented at its Aug. 18 meeting with a set of parking recommendations: https://rpv.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=5&clip_id=3715&meta_id=85678

  8. If parking near residences is such a concern, would it be possible to convert parking lots unused during weekends (like near government offices) as a pick up and drop off point for a shuttle? Since access is so limited along the coast, there could be a shuttle system for the coast and the preserve. I specify weekends since that is when most people recreate.

    1. Hi Joda – RPV city staff have considered a shuttle system as part of a 2018 study of various parking options. Their report to the council ahead of its Aug. 18 meeting contained the following notes:

      “Staff does not recommend a shuttle system due to the high costs of the program, the challenges of operating a shuttle service under L.A. County Department of Public Health COVID-19 guidelines for public transportation, its general lack of popularity with users, and its likely modest effectiveness in reducing parking impacts in the Del Cerro neighborhood.”

      If you search for “shuttle” in the report here, you will find more notes on the shuttle proposal and analysis of other parking options: https://rpv.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=5&event_id=1672&meta_id=85745&fbclid=IwAR0rovP4fZlNp_0EeltughL1-yMJIo3d0IIDnrEp6nbVdfXXOVeK9cwg3-E

      Here are slides city staff presented at its Aug. 18 meeting with a set of parking recommendations: https://rpv.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=5&clip_id=3715&meta_id=85678

    1. Hi DH – I agree that hearing both sides of an argument is important, especially on an issue like this where the street changes will have a wide range of impacts on various constituent groups. At the Aug. 18 city council meeting where this street change was decided, the 9 individuals who gave public comment were all homeowners and representatives of homeowners associations close to the trailhead. The council did not hear from any nonresidents who make up 95% of visitors to the preserve on holidays and weekends and depend on parking on Crenshaw Blvd. to access the Portuguese Bend Reserve. The council also did not hear from RPV residents who live outside the immediate neighborhood and also rely on these parking space to access the reserve. Following the public comment period on Aug. 18, Mayor Pro Tem Eric Alegria described “a consistent recommendation from the public this evening to red curb [that space]” as the council moved to enact the parking restrictions.

      1. Since you agreed, did you hear both sides before writing ? Many RPV residents, like myself, stayed home due to Covid-19, I notified the City and my HOA of my thoughts.
        Many Palos Verdes Peninsula (PVE,RH,RHE) who are Preserve visitors stayed home due to the virus but have written or emailed the City. Unhappy folks from all non-Peninsula areas did not go but have written the City. If part of Next Door, one can read every view point since no one seems to have issues posting. Folks angry/ happy at what is occurring regarding lack of/too much parking, problems occurring on the trails and on the streets, etc. I just wish your article were more in depth of the total issues and less of saying we don’t want minorities or visitors. That to me was disheartening. I’ve been in my home on the Peninsula before there was a RPV.

      2. Hello Daniel, Was it a closed meeting ? Who stopped the 95% of visitors and RPV residents who live outside the immediate neighborhood from attending the City Council meeting?
        My view, if no one stopped them from attending, it’s so typical these days to sit back and then complain after a decision is made.

  9. You got it s 100% correct Daniel. Keep up the good work. I did not realize RPV had committed to preserving access to the Reserve as part of the 2005 purchase. That’s a great point.

    1. Hi Brian – many of the documents on the history of the purchase and the city’s governance of the park are available on this page: https://www.rpvca.gov/490/Palos-Verdes-Nature-Preserve-NCCP-PUMP-H

      The 2005 purchase of the Portuguese Bend Reserve parcel included funds from state and county resources – and private individuals committed to a vision of public access. The reserve is managed by PVPLC in partnership with the state Coastal Conservancy and Wildlife Conservation Board and California’s Proposition 12 parks and water bond, enacted in 2000.(see sign at trailhead: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/50291264023/in/album-72157715796322342/)

  10. This article is complete inflammatory nonsense. The temporary parking restriction is enacted for safety reasons and will be lifted as soon as a parking reservation system can be implemented. It is about ten years overdue so kudos to the City Council for finally taking action. Injury accidents have occurred and near-misses happen every day. Further, the temporary restriction applies to EVERYBODY – including RPV residents – so assertions that it discriminates against certain individuals is patently false. Many of these inflammatory falsehoods are being perpetrated by residents of nearby neighborhoods that don’t want the traffic and visitors where THEY live. The solution to this problem is to relocate the trailhead to an area away from people’s homes, which was the plan when the Preserve was first established (“Gateway Park”). It never made sense to have the sole entrance to a giant parcel of open space reside at the end of a dead end street in the middle of a residential neighborhood with thousands of cars and pedestrians all converging on a single ten foot wide gate. Stop baiting the public with inflammatory comments and start acknowledging the problems and REAL solutions if this is something that you genuinely care about.

    1. Hi Concerned Resident – I share your concerns for traffic safety near the trailhead, which is why I find it strange that the city council’s solution was to relocate public street parking to a major arterial section of Crenshaw Blvd. where the posted speed limit is 45 mph and vehicles routinely exceed those speeds. I visited the proposed parking area yesterday and this part of Crenshaw Blvd. is hazardous for anyone parking, especially families, the elderly, and anyone with mobility issues.

      The bottleneck at the Burma Road trailhead is a problem and the city should move forward quickly with a comprehensive set of solutions, including the Gateway Park concept, which has been stalled in part due to opposition from homeowners.

      In the meantime, the city’s move to eliminate these 55 parking spaces would significantly limit access to the reserve and increase risks of serious vehicle collisions and pedestrian injuries along Crenshaw Blvd.

      The new parking restrictions also give RPV residents preferential access to the reserve via the parking permit system for the 16 spaces at Del Cerro Park, which are reserved for city residents.

      1. Hi Daniel. We all want safety. Instead of lobbying to reopen the southern end of Crenshaw, with its hazardous conditions, maybe you should focus on fixing the remaining safety issues and worry about those. Reopening a dangerous stretch of road is not a solution for allegedly dangerous conditions on a different stretch of road. By the way, for someone that claims to be familiar with the area and it’s issues, you should note that the trailhead is at “Burma Road”, not “Bantam Road”. Come and check it out sometime.

        1. Hi Concerned Resident – thank you for pointing out my error. I have hiked this area for more than 15 years but only this week became aware of the “Burma Road” trailhead name as I listened to the Aug. 18 council meeting and conducted research for this post. I have updated my comment. I checked my photo from my hike there yesterday and it does not appear that “Burma Road” is marked on the signage at the trailhead. Correct me if I am wrong.

      2. Daniel, where did you get this info ?
        “vehicles routinely exceed those speeds.” (45 mph)
        Been driving to & from my home in Del Cerro for 47 years and that statement was true years ago. And today is probable between 9pm and 5 am and the Preserve is closed then.,
        Then you stated “It’s not clear the new parking restrictions improve public safety, a requirement for the special ordinance”
        Public safety includes home owners from St. John Fisher’s Church, Island View, Park Place, Del Cerro & Burma Road homes.
        I’m attaching the last survey I am aware of for you to view the other side of the issue. I believe the majority of the Hill population is happy to share with everyone the beauty of the area we live in.
        I would like you to imagine this on the one-and- only street where one can enter or leave ones home:

        “this is a comparison of the number of vehicles passing along Crenshaw Blvd. adjacent to the Del Cerro community on Sunday, May 24th (previously provided to you) to equivalent figures for the following Friday, Saturday and Sunday (May 29th through 31st). The figure for Sunday, May 24th, was 2,028 vehicles. The following Friday (a weekday), the numbers were slightly over half that amount (1,104 vehicles). On Saturday, the numbers were 1,956 – almost the same as the previous Sunday. On Sunday, May 31st, the numbers were trending closely toward the 2,000 daily figure until they rapidly dropped off in the 3 o’clock hour – probably due to the fact that a curfew had been announced that afternoon.” Our 6 streets are all dead-ends and we enter & leave Oceanaire & Seacrest to Crenshaw Blvd. Not all visitors to the trails are considerate. They violate hours Preserve open, they leave trash, they can be noisy/loud, especially late at night when they are not even suppose to be there, plus drivers stopping flowing traffic waiting to get a parking spot, they make unsafe U-turns. Crenshaw is not a parking lot, yet many refuse to use the sidewalks…… need i go on ? Sorry, but I’m happy we’re trying something new again to solve the congestion the trails have caused to all homeowners between St. John Fisher Church and the entrance to the Preserve.

  11. I grew up hiking and driving my jeep all over Portuguese Bend in the late 1960s. I’m sorry to hear about problems with some hikers, but I hope RPV will provide parking for non-residents on top of the preserve. The proposed parking lot near the beach will preclude access to the upper reserve except for young, strong hikers will to walk the couple miles of tough terrain.

    Blocking off Crenshaw and designating the parking lot for local residents is like Griffith Park saying they’re only open to Los Feliz residents.

    1. Hi Keith, you make a good point about the steep trails at the bottom of the Portuguese Bend Reserve where the “Gateway Park” concept has been proposed. I have only been all the way down a few times, because it takes a while to hike down there and I know it’s a big climb back up. The city has made an effort to improve public information about other trails and access points to PVPLC-managed lands across the peninsula, some of which are more accessible.

  12. This is real reporting. People who are complaining in the comments are to use to the amateur reporting at the Daily Breeze who told them what they wanted to hear.

  13. Who can blame pepole NOT WANTING areas in front of their house being used for public parking? Peace and quiet us a wonderful thing…….from a ex hil person condemned to reside in the stinking desert

  14. They will just park on another residential street in front of someone else’s house Such as Whitley Collins Drive. They are going hiking anyway, so walking an additional 1400 feet to the trail is no big deal.

  15. How about putting metered/paid parking and using those funds to maintain trails, clean up the trash, and supply an extra cop or meter maid, to site violators.

    Visitors should respect the areas they visit, residents should be aware that they live in an area people want to visit (I am a resident of PV).

    I see the trash, I see outsiders using PV South as a race course, I have experienced the congestion, but we live in LA. Respect the residents, understand their frustration and don’t give them reasons to hate. Residents we are blessed to call PV our home.

  16. Thank you Daniel for bringing this issue to light. As with prior actions to reduce access to this public space, there has been no transparency in these latest efforts. No case has been made that justifies any elimination, temporary or otherwise, of safe and proximate parking for the Preserve. The parking restrictions were developed under the guise of “safety”; however, the increased traffic results from reductions in parking in 2015 and again in 2018 as cars troll the street searching for a space. The parking proposed for elimination is on a wide and slow speed section of Crenshaw and no incidents of injury are cited, while clearly the remaining parking on the steep and busy slope of Crenshaw is truly dangerous. Of course, the signs posted about the upcoming parking restrictions provide no contact information to allow public comment. The real issue is that some Del Cerro neighbors are unwilling to accept that they live near a public space and must accept some amount of traffic to allow public access. It is similar to the beach cities where traffic increases significantly, on weekends and in good weather, so that the beach is accessible to all. It would be interesting to see how many of these neighbors were donors to the Preserve land purchase and/or donors to the PV Land Conservancy that maintains the Preserve. Under the proposed scenario, likely many donors to the Preserve will no longer have access.

  17. Sorry but this is just more white entitlement at its best. I think I would respect people more if they were just honest enough to say that they don’t want the ‘them’ to come to close to the area. God forbid letting people of lesser incomes come out and enjoy a beautiful hike. Really? Cutting off parking to a public area? This is pure evil and it confirms what everybody already knows about monetary entitlement and it’s people.

  18. You have this all wrong!! Nobody is trying to keep anyone out. This is not about entitlement. Everyone is welcome to enjoy the preserve. The main issue is that having 10,000 visitors per week go through a quiet neighborhood and literally through their back yard is completely unacceptable. The neighborhood just wants to divert the main entrance to the preserve to an area where there are no homes, such as city hall (if you make a connection to the portuguese bend preserve) or somewhere near gateway park. By all means EVERYONE is welcome to enjoy the preserve, but don’t enter through a quiet residential neighborhood which is not capable of handling the traffic and sheer volume of people. The area was never zoned for this much activity. Was there an environmental impact study that addressed this? Many in the neighborhood have lived there for decades and were MAJOR donors to the preserve but never asked for their neighborhood to be over run by hoardes of cars and people. (There’s a traffic accident at least once or twice a year at the end of Crenshaw.) When the preserve opened a little over a decade ago, the del cerro neighborhood was never meant to be used as the main entrance. In fact having the entrance to a hiking trail at the top of a hill is idiotic. People go down the hill and can’t get back up. Every weekend the paramedics are called because someone can’t hike back up the hill. Complete waste of our resources. This is a problem we would have less of if the entrance were to be at the bottom of the hill, like gateway park on PVDS. Please don’t be judgemental without knowing all of the facts.

    1. Daniel, either intentionally or unintentionally, you’re missing a few key points.  
      The proposed “Gateway Park” would be on moving land…the Portuguese Bend Landslide.  When I asked City staff if they knew of ANY other city park in the US that had  been developed on an active landslide, they looked at each other and shook their heads.  The other fatal flaw is that it would create a major safety issue as people would use it to access Abalone Cove and would walk/run across busy PV South.
      You mention the 2005 requirement of providing adequate parking to the preserve, but things have changed in 15 years and there are a LOT more people visiting.  Should the City continue building parking lots throughout the Peninsula as more and more people demand access?
      It’s ignorant and idiotic to think that capacity must meet demand.  Even before Covid-19, the National Parks were limiting visitation to protect those precious resources.  Likewise, the City should do everything to preserve the Preserve.  Despite the inevitable, worn-out accusations of racism or classism, it’s about limiting, not DENYING access, so the Preserve isn’t “loved to death.”Most planners today are well aware of the concept of “induced demand” and often, wisely, choose a “less is more” approach, particularly with regard to parking.
      Ultimately, the City has a responsibility to protect the Preserve for everyone.  That can only happen if it limits access, either actively (pay parking, passes and reservations) or passively (limiting parking).  

      1. Ed, There is actually no problem with overuse of the Preserve. The only problem is that local residents who live near the Preserve don’t like people parking on the last .5 miles of Crenshaw that lead to their neighborhoods near the Preserve. They want to make that convenient parking unavailble to those would like to come viist the Preserve.

    2. Kay, Yes it’s true that many people visit the Preserve. But if the Preserve was not created eventually much of that land would have been developed. The existence of the Preserve, even with traffic from visitors, is a better deal for the local residents than had the area been developed and there was no Preserve nearby.

  19. This is clearly about limiting access. Homeowners don’t like the traffic. I don’t blame them. I bike here several times a week. Traffic is not an issue, they make it seem like cars are backing up. They are not. Safety is not the issue. Homeowners want to keep the area more private. It’s as simple as that.

  20. I grew up in RPV. I could have afforded to live there later, but never liked the elitist mentality that most residents demonstrate. Looks like nothing has changed.

  21. Daniel, your points of limiting access to the Preserve are one sided, racially and politically charged. I frequented these trails as a child with my parents 15 years ago and there is a dramatic change to the density in the recent ~5 years that I have now hiked the trails with my own family, including young son. The primary issue I see is Preserve visitors respecting others (common sense with a dose of the Golden Rule and now social distancing) and respecting nature when they visit (including littering due to limited trash bins, urinating in public due limited portapotty this is sadly an issue, and staying along the designated trail pathways to literally preserve the natural environment for generations to come).

    The public is attracted to the Preserve trail due to views, hiking/biking intensity (it’s a BIG hill), and trails to explore in LA. Since we have close proximity to the area and we have seen the recent crowds, we are actively avoiding the area on weekends due to our family’s exposure posture. I have seen the cars parked down along Crenshaw towards the PV art center even by 8 am due our recent heat waves and recognize that visitors who have committed to spend a few hours at the Preserve will park and walk no matter what the distance so I do not believe the parking limitations will actually solve any issues because cars will still be in the vicinity hoping to find parking or even park in the existing red curb (actually witnessed this past week while driving by) as visitors are defiant to believe they will actually get a ticket or care about the impact of receiving a ticket.

    The current parking situation at the Burma Road access point is already TERRIBLE, reducing parking won’t make it better but re-educating visitors of alternative access and better parking will help.

    I think the RPV City recommendations to publicize more trails in the area and spread out the attractiveness of multiple public areas/parks and beaches will help! An effective social media campaign by the city of RPV to spread this information (with view photos!) and trail intensity/ difficulty rating will also help to share this information rapidly amongst the community and surrounding neighborhoods. Dispersing crowds makes everyone’s experience better especially given the current pandemic.

    I want to be clear WE are all visitors to the the Preserve. The city of RPV is responsible to maintain this public land for the good of ALL. All visitors to the Preserve regardless of race or income are looking to be able to efficiently (no one wants to drive around searching for parking) and safely explore nature and spend time outdoors in LA (during this pandemic and in our future!).

    1. Hi RHE Resident – Thank you for your comment.

      Local decisions that affect access to parks occur within the broader context of Los Angeles County’s striking racial and economic inequalities. County and state agencies are increasingly focused on the ways policies and processes may have effects that worsen existing inequalities, regardless of the intent of decision-makers.

      Los Angeles County recently produced a comprehensive report documenting disparities in access to green space across the region: https://lacountyparkneeds.org/ and its sustainability plan released last year includes goals for improving access to green space (Goal 6).

      A former colleague is working with the California Coastal Conservancy to revise its community and grant process to better consider the unequal access to open space that low-income residents and communities of color face. https://medium.com/the-macroscope/a-better-world-must-be-rooted-in-anti-racism-60f904cd4d1f

  22. Hi Daniel
    I agree that everyone who follows the rules should be welcome to the Preserve and I don’t know what the answer is to ameliorate the parking situation on Crenshaw at the Del Cerro entry. I don’t think that red curbing all parking is a good idea and forcing people to park further down Crenshaw creates dangerous situations for visitors.
    However, I do not think that resurrecting the ‘Gateway Park’ idea is a viable option for relieving the parking at the upper end of the Preserve. In fact, I think that it would be a terrible idea. When it was proposed by the City of RPV, Gateway Park was opposed by local residents, myself included, for a number of good reasons. Foremost (for me) was the fact that the ‘park’ would be located in the infamous ACTIVE Portuguese Bend Landslide in a portion of that landslide which is the most active section and is riddled with faults (cracks). You may refer to a publication by Robert Douglas titled ‘The Creepy (Slow Moving) Landslides of the Portuguese Bend Area’.
    Entrance to and exit from ‘Gateway Park would be on a very dangerous section of P.V. Dr. South where it enters the landslide and is the sight of regular car crashes due to speeding and drivers not paying attention to the flashing yellow lights and signs warning of dangerous road conditions. Drive past there and note the crushed vegetation on either side of the highway and car parts littering the side of road. In just the past month, I’ve seen the results of two serious crashes.
    Additionally, if this ‘park were to be implemented, it would be used primarily by people avoiding the pay lot at Abalone Cove to access the beaches and not the Preserve. This would lead to many people dangerously crossing the highway.
    There is presently parking at the lower end of the Preserve at Ladera Linda and people can access the Preserve by parking at the Abalone Cove parking lot as well as other options.
    By the way, the Burma Road was the dirt extension of Portuguese Bend Road that runs through the City of Rolling Hills. It was blocked by a gate, but continued down to PV Dr South where the main fault of the slide crosses the Drive. When I was a kid in Portuguese Bend in the 50’s, we called it the Burma Road, but that was before the landslide and the grading of Crenshaw which precipitated the slide.

    1. Dear Tony – thank you for this thoughtful reply. I’m not sure there’s anyone who knows more than you about the natural and human history of this area. This context on the Gateway Park concept is very helpful. I wish I had more space in this blog post to explore the different long-term solutions, which, as you lay out, may have various serious drawbacks for public safety due to the area’s geology and road conditions. It’s one reason I’m concerned the city will not have a full plan in place within 60 days and will vote to extend the restrictions into 2021.

  23. I’ve never been there and it sounds gorgeous. On the To Do list for sure (though probably not until we beat the virus – I don’t like crowds).

    We in the US have this history – we all mostly know what it is by now – and the results have left us with economic inequality which more heavily impacts non-white people.

    We should work on finding a way to talk about barriers and disparate impacts without accusing each other – or feeling accused when it hasn’t been stated – of racial bias. There is racial bias aplenty to be sure, but I think it does not run that deep. Really.

    What I think there is a lot of is cultural differences, and fears about those. I think very few people actually care about skin color anymore. It seems to me, nobody wants to talk about cultural differences anymore because they are a gray area. You can’t browbeat people for having opinions about them as easily. I think we will get to it soon though. I sure hope we don’t end up like Beirut. We should focus on our common constitutional and social values, which are beautiful and which make this country great. Meanwhile … if one were to hog a beach, it would still be wrong even if the country were all one color. (Note: I am not saying that anyone is doing that. I said ‘”if.”)

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Daniel Melling

Daniel Melling is communications manager for the UCLA Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.…

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