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Village drivers irked by ‘sneak attack’ in parking enforcement

This area of Girard Avenue is zoned for 90-minute parking.
This area of Girard Avenue is zoned for 90-minute parking, and some drivers have faced multiple tickets for violating the posted time limit.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

A perceived increase in parking enforcement in select parts of La Jolla’s Village is irking some residents who have received multiple citations after seeing minimal ticketing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Particularly at issue is a San Diego municipal code stipulation that prohibits parking in one spot longer than 72 hours.

Rob Aschenbrenner, who lives on Kline Street, said the recent level of enforcement is unlike anything he has seen in 25 years.

“People have left vehicles for weeks or months outside my house that were totally ignored by the parking enforcers. However, several [more than] $50 tickets were generated (two in my house alone) for vehicles not moved 1/10 of a mile in 72 hours. Had there been some kind of warning or announcement or signage, this could have been prevented, but the sneak attack prevailed,” Aschenbrenner wrote in an email to the La Jolla Light.

He’s not alone.

Ellyn Quiggle, who lives nearby, said some people in the neighborhood with handicapped parking placards on their vehicles also have been ticketed for violation of the 72-hour limit.

“Elders and disabled are lucky to get out of bed in one piece in the morning, let alone having to scramble to comply with laws that are not even posted,” she said, noting that there are no signs in the area that alert parkers to the 72-hour limit like there are with other parking limitations.

“We are not psychics and cannot predict laws we must comply with when they are not posted,” she said.

Some people in other parts of town say they are seeing strict enforcement of posted time limits.

La Jolla Realtor Isabelle Tcholakov said she received two parking citations earlier this year for the same violation while parked on Girard Avenue near Prospect Street, an area with a 90-minute parking limit and signs posted.

“After a bit over two hours I went to check the car and move it, but I was already given a parking ticket,” Tcholakov said. “Assuming ... that I cannot be fined twice on the same parking space, I went back to my meeting without moving the car. When I came back a few hours later, I had a second fine on my window.

“The signs don’t clearly specify the rules [on] how many fines in one day for the same parking spot. I would think a person would not be charged twice for the same offense on the same day.”

“We are not psychics and cannot predict laws we must comply with when they are not posted.”

— Ellyn Quiggle

San Diego parking enforcement representatives did not respond to the Light’s request for comment.

After the pandemic took hold in March 2020, San Diego suspended full parking enforcement due to the pandemic’s impact on vehicle use.

During the suspension, the city continued to issue tickets to vehicles parked illegally at red, white or blue curbs and in alleys in illegal spots. But there was no enforcement of violations of street sweeping parking restrictions, metered and time-limit parking or parking in yellow commercial zones.

The suspension ended in fall 2020.

San Diego Union-Tribune staff writer David Garrick contributed to this report.