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Hikers hit with parking tickets near Hot Springs trailhead

Parking Tickets Hiking
Alex Zauner / NC3
Countless cars have been cited for parking violations on Riven Rock Road in Montecito.

MONTECITO, Calif. — For hundreds of hikers, parking is particularly a challenge at the Hot Springs trailhead.

While searching for spots on Riven Rock Road near Mountain Drive, plenty of people are unaware that they're rolling past a long white line that indicates off-limit areas.

UCSB student Tori Palma came back to a car with a citation laid out on the windshield.

“We took the extra effort of parking my friend’s car in the dirt, not on the street and we went hiking thinking we were fine,” she said. “Turns out my friend got a ticket, so I’m pretty irritated."

On Memorial Day, countless cars were cited for parking violations by Santa Barbara County Sheriff's deputies and California Highway Patrol officers.

Each one of these tickets cost $37.50.

“These vehicles usually use Riven Rock Road as their place to park,” CHP officer Jonathan Gutierrez said. “They end up blocking the roadway, which creates a safety hazard because we need these roadways clear, so that way emergency services can do their job.”

Recently the residents of Riven Rock Road voted to lay down white stripes on both sides of the street to indicate where people can park.

“We get called multiple times each day from residents telling us how many vehicles are parked there,” Gutierrez said. “We'll then show up and respond."

With few parking signs posted in the area, hikers are still confused.

“People should be able to hike but where are they going to park,” Montecito resident Jeff Kerns said. “It's a problem but there's got to be a solution somewhere."

“They should reallocate some space for parking,” Palma said. “Especially since there are only like seven spots over at the trailhead, which is a pretty popular spot.”

Summerland resident Ben Weiner feels like these fines are an unfair punishment for people exercising outdoors.

“It would definitely be nice if there was parking or a different situation figured out,” he said. “So people aren't getting fined for wanting to do healthy things."

Nearby neighbors are encouraging hikers to carpool or bike to the Hot Springs trailhead.

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Blake DeVine

Blake DeVine is a multimedia journalist and sports anchor at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Blake, click here.


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