West Ocean Air Drive parking plan in Carmel Valley aims to prevent accidents

Some Torrey Hills residents, fearing that a street clogged with cars has created an accident waiting to happen, are requesting help from the Torrey Hills Community Planning Board to install bike lanes as a possible solution.

At the Nov. 13 meeting, the board did not support adding a bike lane on West Ocean Air Drive from Via Mar de Delfinas to Via Cangrejo, but instead voted for a compromise: making one side of the street a no-parking zone.

The planning board was hesitant to install a permanent solution like bike lanes that might force the problem into another area.

Board Vice Chairman Guy Ravad said the solution eliminates about 15 parking spaces and improves visibility for residents on Corte Mar de Brisa and Corte Mar de Hierba.

“I understand the need; my concern is that the risk isn’t going to be improved,” Ravad said.

The source of the parking problem is believed to be overflow parking from the Torrey Villas apartment complex. A representative from The Irvine Company said that, per the direction of the city, the complex recently lost about 40 spaces as part of resizing spaces to ensure code compliance.

According to Janie Hoover, a representative for Councilmember Sherri Lightner, the city never made any request for them to resize stalls.

Hoover said Torrey Villas made a request to do parking changes but that had not yet been granted. A code enforcement officer went out to inspect the lot and found that the modifications had already been made. Hoover said code compliance has now started a case to make sure the developer is complying with city permits.

‘The acuteness of the problem could be evaded when code compliance gets involved,” Chair Kathryn Burton said.

Resident Brian Britt led a presentation for the bike lane on behalf of the neighbors, more than 40 of whom were present at the meeting.

“We are purely here because we’re concerned for our kids, we’re concerned for our parents and we’re concerned there’s going to be a serious incident,” Britt said.

“It’s a safety issues we face every day,” said resident Jessica Reed. “We face risk every time we go on that street and we have to go though that street because it’s the only way in and out of the community.”

Britt showed videos that demonstrated what a tight squeeze there is on the road when cars are parked bumper to bumper on both sides, creating essentially a one-lane street. He said when two sports utility vehicles are trying to get through, on a dangerous downhill, there is a risk for a head-on collision.

“We understand parking is going to get pushed, and could get pushed anywhere in the community, and we’re not happy about that — but we feel there’s a safety issue that needs to be addressed,” Britt said.

Ravad said that by installing the bike lanes, cars would probably fill up the two nearest courts, Corte Mar de Brisa and Corte Mar de Hierba.