Some residents living on the 6800 block of Fortuna Road and Fortuna Lane in Isla Vista may get a rude awakening if they sleep in on Monday morning – the sound of their cars being towed.
Between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. from May 1 to May 19, the Santa Barbara County Road Construction Division will be repaving the two streets. “No Parking” signs will be posted along the roads, and any cars left on the streets during construction hours will be towed. Santa Barbara County Road Construction Division project coordinator Gary Gambia said the project will involve resurfacing the entire roadway.
Gambia said the roads are badly in need of repair, and he believes the current roadway surface is probably the streets’ original asphalt. Based on his experiences with past construction projects, Gambia said he expects that several cars will be towed despite advance warnings about the roadwork.
“We tow on average 20 cars a day [during roadwork projects],” Gambia said. “We give out door hangers to residents who will be affected [to give them] roughly seven days notice.”
Gambia said he believes many residents’ cars are typically towed because they don’t notice the signs or sleep in past the early morning deadline for moving their cars.
“[Residents] don’t heed posted signs,” Gambia said. “We have people who have come back the next day [after their cars have been towed] and have done it again.”
Funds from Measure D – the Santa Barbara county sales tax that pays for public transportation projects – are financing the project. Gambia said proceeds from the tax are intended for roads exactly like Fortuna Road and Fortuna Lane.
“Measure D supplies money for roadwork and bike lanes,” Gambia said. “It’s a general fund that provides for an overhaul of drivable roadways, whether it be sidewalks, bike lanes or residential roadways, etc.”
California Highway Patrol officer Donald Clotworthy said projects like the roadway resurfacing are not new to Isla Vista, and in the past, officers have gone out of their way to inform residents of the construction.
“[The projects] are done for the safety of everybody,” Clotworthy said. “Nobody is intentionally towing because that’s what they like to do. We have to follow legal guidelines. There have been times when officers have knocked on doors or used PA systems. We have probably gone above and beyond what other agencies would do.”
Gambia said the roadwork might be completed earlier than planned.
“The dates we give are May 1 to May 19; I don’t anticipate it going that long,” Gambia said. “We can take care of the work in eight days, without any issues or unforeseen problems.”
Fortuna Road resident John Piccioni, a third-year business economics major, said he thinks it is a good idea to resurface the road.
“The road is crappy; it’s good that they’re doing it, but the 7 a.m. thing – that’s annoying,” Piccioni said. “And [it’s annoying] that you can’t park near your house. There’s not that much parking around here, anyway. And this is the second time in a couple of weeks that we’re not allowed to park along here.”
Gambia said he simply wants residents to be aware of the temporary parking restrictions so they can avoid the high cost of reclaiming towed vehicles.
“Last year, it was three hundred or four hundred bucks a tow,” Gambia said. “Just look for the “No Parking” signs.”