More than 20 students who parked along the Embarcadero loop Thursday morning returned to find either empty spaces or parking tickets where they had left their vehicles.

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) ordered over 20 cars towed from Embarcadero del Mar on Thursday, CHP Officer Randy Dyoracyzk said. He said the vehicles were violating a temporary no parking zone that was designated so the County Public Works Dept. could repaint bike paths along the road. Isla Vista Foot Patrol (IVFP) Parking Enforcement Officer Marcia Nielsen said she also issued close to 25 citations for vehicles parked along Embarcadero Del Norte after 8 a.m. Thursday.

The Public Works Dept. posted signs along Embarcadero Del Mar, El Embarcadero, and Embarcadero Del Norte Tuesday morning to notify the public of the pending parking restrictions, Nielsen said. She said vehicles were parked along the loop Thursday morning and when Public Works Dept. workers arrived to paint the bike paths they called the CHP to have the cars removed.

“The county is striping streets for bicycle safety, and the street signs were totally ignored,” Nielsen said. “The CHP was called by the County Roads Dept.” The CHP called five local towing companies to remove the vehicles, and two CHP units verified that the vehicles were violating the posted signs before any of the cars were removed, Dyoracyzk said.

Senior electrical engineering major Carl Bowers said he parked his car on Embarcadero Del Norte at 10:55 a.m. and returned from class an hour later to find a CHP officer in the place where his car had been. He said he saw a barricade when he parked his car but said it did not have a sign attached to it. Bowers also said there was not a second sign at the end of the row of cars, leading him to believe he was not parking between the barricades.

“I saw a spot open with three or four cars in front of it,” Bowers said. “There was no warning on either side [of the barricade] and all the warnings said ‘don’t park’ between these signs.” Bowers said the CHP officers told him that photos were taken of his car and the other towed vehicles before any of the cars were impounded. He said it would cost him at least $200 to get his vehicle back from the towing company.

Nielsen said she did not begin handing out citations until 10 a.m., even though the parking restrictions began at 8 a.m.
“I only cited and I only started citing at ten o’clock,” Nielsen said. “I gave them a chance to move their cars.”

Nielsen said the County Public Works Dept. will continue to paint the bike paths along Embarcadero loop next week and the same parking policies will be enforced then.

“Tuesday the signs will be out and Thursday they are striping – so they are giving a two day warning so people will know,” Nielsen said.

Dyoracyzk said people whose cars were towed can get information about retrieving their vehicles from the Goleta CHP office, which has a database that lists the license plate numbers of towed cars along with the towing company responsible for impounding them.