Messy red curbs in Windansea raise red flags but were actually the work of San Diego
Some locals thought the paint job looked ‘pretty darn fake,’ but the city blames the overspray on inadequate equipment.
Despite the appearance of being the work of a private citizen, recent repainting of red curbs at Windansea in La Jolla was done by the city of San Diego. But because of the untidy look, the city will return soon to touch up the job.
The block in question — Neptune Place between Gravilla and Kolmar streets — already had red curb the length of one side and intermittently between driveways on the other, but the color had faded over the years. A red curb means no parking any time.
La Jolla Light readers sent photos of the newly painted curbs, noting their uneven lines and inconsistent appearance and wondering whether they were done by a resident.
One local manager for the Surfrider Foundation — which keeps an eye out for illegally painted curbs in the interest of preserving beach access — said the paint job looked “pretty darn fake.”
Additionally, a city employee said his opinion was that the work was not done by city crews.
But city spokesman Anthony Santacroce said “I can confirm that the city did paint these curbs.”
“Due to a supply chain issue, we couldn’t acquire the standard spray nozzle equipment used for this job and were forced to source alternative spray nozzles that weren’t ideal for the scope of this work,” Santacroce said. “The city is dispatching a crew to clean up the overspray and we will continue to source adjustable spray nozzles that are more consistent with the spray pattern needed for this job.”
The San Diego municipal code prohibits private citizens from painting curbs, stating that “unauthorized persons shall not paint, daub sticky substance, deface, mar or place any sign or advertisement upon any public street or alley or part of a public street or alley.”
Nevertheless, some residents have taken it on themselves to paint curbs red, likely to deter drivers from parking in front of their houses. A city representative said that happens often in coastal communities throughout the state.
In 2020, someone illegally painted 150 feet of curb red on the north side of Camino del Collado in La Jolla Shores, presumably so no one would park there.
At the time, it was reported that city crews repaint 10 to 25 illegal red curbs each year, mostly in beach areas but also in congested neighborhoods such as Hillcrest and North Park.
“Due to a supply chain issue, we couldn’t acquire the standard spray nozzle equipment used for this job and were forced to source alternative spray nozzles that weren’t ideal for the scope of this work.”
— San Diego spokesman Anthony Santacroce
There are protocols in place to ask the city to repaint a faded curb or paint a new red zone.
According to city policy, a property owner or tenant can request, for a fee of $355 for installation and maintenance, that a curb be painted red on either side of a driveway to keep parked vehicles a sufficient distance away to ensure access into and out of the driveway.
“Typically, driveway clearance consists of three to five feet of red paint on the curb on each side of a driveway. No vehicle may legally be parked adjacent to the red curb, including vehicles belonging to the resident of the fronting property owner,” the policy states.
For more information on requests for curb painting, visit sandiego.gov/tsw/servicerequests/trafficrequest.
Typically the way to tell if a curb was not painted by the city is if the shade of red is different from other red curbs or if the paint is outside the lines of the curb or in a place that seems odd.
The curb issue arose soon after Windansea resident Joseph McGoldrick took it on himself recently to repaint the staircase railing leading from Neptune Place to the beach. He said he was motivated to repaint the railings after filing requests on the city’s Get It Done app without a timely response.
‘It needed to be done’: Resident paints stairway railings at Windansea Beach without San Diego’s approval
A La Jolla resident took it on himself recently to repaint stairway railings leading to Windansea Beach — to mixed responses from locals and the city of San Diego.
To ask the city to investigate the legality of a red zone or to report the misuse of a red zone on a San Diego street, email email@example.com or call (619) 533-3126. ◆
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