San Diego Issues Hundreds of Parking Tickets in Confusing Paved Areas Near Cross Border Xpress

Aug. 28, 2023
Parking is often scarce in the mostly industrial area because of the proximity to Cross Border Xpress, a popular pedestrian bridge to Tijuana International Airport that is used by roughly 3 million people a year.

Several hundred confused drivers have gotten $60 citations this year for parking on unmarked pavement near Otay Mesa's Cross Border Xpress that lacks "no parking" signs or paint to alert drivers that the area isn't a parking lot.

At four intersections along Siempre Viva Drive, there are unusually large shoulders extending out from the curb line that create large paved areas that aren't part of the roadway — but that aren't designated as parking lots either.

"It's kind of a no man's land that looks like a parking lot," said Frank Schiavone, who received three of the roughly 600 citations issued there since January. "There's obviously a problem — all of the people parking there aren't idiots."

Parking is often scarce in the mostly industrial area because of the proximity to Cross Border Xpress, a popular pedestrian bridge to Tijuana International Airport that is used by roughly 3 million people a year.

There is legal street parking all along Siempre Viva, but cars must be parked along the curb — not in the floating area created by the unusually wide shoulders at those four intersections.

San Diego officials concede that the open pavement areas are highly confusing, but a spokesperson said they haven't yet decided whether to turn the areas into legal parking lots or to keep them illegal, post "no parking" signs and paint the pavement.

The city is in the research phase of tackling the problem, said spokesperson Nicole Darling. Officials are awaiting a determination from city engineers about what the best options are and how to proceed, she said.

Darling said none of the citations issued will be nullified and no fines will be forgiven because the vehicles were indisputably parked illegally. The $59.50 citations are for parking more than 18 inches from the curb line.

Darling said there appears to be a snowball effect that starts when all the curb spots are filled and one driver decides to park in the floating area, making it appear to other drivers that the floating area is a legal parking lot.

She said it's likely the floating areas will remain illegal for parking because of safety concerns. Vehicles could block other vehicles in, she said.

Schiavone said he will never pay his citations because they are bogus and the result of a problem the city could have easily solved long ago.

"All they need are 'no parking' signs," he said. "I think they just want to keep the revenue coming in. The public is getting fleeced and no one cares."

Schiavone, who lives in Canyon Lake and served on the Riverside City Council, said San Diego's handling of the floating parking areas is a classic example of bureaucracy run amok.

He's emailed multiple city officials since he was cited on three consecutive days in mid-May, but he's either gotten no responses or what he considers clueless advice.

In response to Schiavone's request that the city install "no parking" signs at the floating areas, Mayor Todd Gloria's staff sent Schiavone instructions on how to get neighborhood support for 'no parking' signs in residential areas.

There are eight public parking lots at Cross Border Xpress, all of which charge between $25 and $33 a day. Long-term plans for the site include a large parking garage with more 2,000 spots.

This story originally appeared in San Diego Union-Tribune.

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