Despite the abundance of “no parking” signs disbursed throughout local streets, about 44 cars were towed from Isla Vista on Wednesday, as the Santa Barbara County Public Works Dept. began a nine-day process of extensive road improvements in the area.

The county is currently undergoing a project to seal I.V.’s streets with slurry, a cold-mix pavement treatment used to strengthen and prevent wear on frequently traveled roads. Consequently, a number of local streets – including Cervantes, Cordoba, Madrid and Trigo Roads, as well as Camino Corto and Del Playa Drive – will be temporarily closed on specific days until the project concludes Nov. 17.

In an effort to reduce the number of cars requiring tows, electronic message boards and “no parking” signs will be displayed on the affected streets to inform vehicle owners about the road work. For safety and time-related reasons, no street parking will be allowed in the areas where the slurry – a mixture of sand, oil, and other ingredients – has recently been laid down.

Brian McIntyre, the Public Works Dept.’s on-site inspector for the improvements, said the road-sealing process involves sweeping the road, applying the slurry and letting the material dry for two to five hours. This process creates the need for empty, car-free streets, he said.

“We’re resealing some roads in Isla Vista,” McIntyre said. “We did four pieces today and we towed 44 cars.”

McIntyre said the Public Works Dept. is trying to publicize the roadwork as much as possible to avoid towing I.V. residents’ cars, which he said is an inconvenience for everyone involved. He said it costs about $200 to get a towed car back to its owner on the same day it was towed.

“We’d like to minimize the amount of towing,” McIntyre said. “It’d just save everybody a lot of money.”

Portions of Cervantes, Cordoba, Madrid and Trigo Roads were treated with the substance yesterday. The next set of slurry applications is scheduled for Nov. 14, when the part of Cordoba Road between Embarcadero del Norte and Camino Pescadero will be closed for the upgrades. The section of Madrid Road between Embarcadero del Mar and Camino Pescadero will be shut down the same day.

More information about road closures and the complete schedule for the project can be found at
-Devon Claire Flannery contributed to this story