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TAC recommends against parking ban on Winter Haven

A proposal to implement a parking prohibition on 275 feet of Winter Haven Road, east of Clearcrest Lane, drew a recommendation from the county’s Traffic Advisory Committee against such a parking ban, but the TAC’s Jan. 29 recommendation instead urged community residents and property owners to work together on a fence or other barrier to minimize impacts from Fallbrook Union High School District students using other students’ cars to hide unsanctioned activities.

“It’s not a traffic safety issue,” said Eric Newbury, who represented the California Highway Patrol’s Oceanside office at the TAC meeting.

The first 25 feet of the south side of Winter Haven Road east of Clearcrest Lane already has a parking prohibition, and the visibility for motorists making a right turn from Clearcrest Lane to Winter Haven Road is approximately 900 feet. A resident of Shadowcrest Lane requested that the TAC review extending the parking prohibition on the south side of Winter Haven Road to 300 feet east of Clearcrest Lane, citing student parking that has led to loitering, trash, cigarette smoking, and drug use in the open area off of Winter Haven Road.

While Fallbrook High School and Oasis High School have student parking lots, Ivy High School does not have student parking. “It’s an issue of the continuation school not having anywhere else to park,” said Brian Pennings, who represented the California Highway Patrol’s El Cajon office.

In the vicinity of the proposed parking prohibition, Winter Haven Road is a two-lane highway, 55-feet wide with striping both between the two opposite-direction lanes and at the edge of the road. Clearcrest Lane is 39 feet wide and does not have striping. Winter Haven Road has a posted 45-mph speed limit, which becomes a 25-mph limit when children are present.

No traffic count was taken for the most recent TAC review. A two-way average daily traffic volume of 6,650 vehicles on Winter Haven Road east of Mission Road was the result of a November 2003 survey, while a September 1996 traffic survey at that location indicated a two-way average daily traffic volume of 5,860 vehicles. No collisions were reported along that segment of roadway in the 4 1/2-year period from Jan. 1, 2005, to July 31, 2009.

Fallbrook High School assistant principal Kim Gage doubts that a parking prohibition would solve the problem of activity by truant students. “The kids that are going in there aren’t the kids who are parking,” he said. “The kids who are parking are going to school.”

The open area adjacent to Winter Haven Road may be more of a contributor to the problems than the parked cars. “I’m not sure that doing this red curb would eliminate that,” Gage said. “The community could pursue the property owner in support of fencing or gating this area.”

Any TAC recommendation involving regulatory action, including a parking prohibition, must be ratified by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. The county supervisors are scheduled to hear the TAC recommendations on March 24.

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