The Superintendent of Torrey Pines State Reserve in San Diego, California issued a press release this morning announcing the immediate closure of the park road to pedestrians and downhill cyclists in the interests of visitor safety. Motor vehicle access via the park entrance road remains unhindered.
Heavy use of the narrow park road by hikers, runners, parents with baby strollers, bike riders and vehicles apparently resulted in conflict that Supervising Ranger Dylan Hardenbrook and State Parks District Superintendent Clay Phillips were asked to resolve. Effective immediately (which some area cyclists note means “without public comment”), State Parks announced “a variety of measures that will help keep hikers, bikers and vehicles separate from each other … to reduce the potential for these conflicts.”
These measures include trail improvements immediately adjacent to the paved road, signs directing pedestrians to stay off of the road and to stay on trails, fencing to clearly delineate travel routes. The awful people using a narrow, low-speed road to enjoy a walk around the park are apparently the cause of all kinds of road conflict, as you can see in the Google Streetview image above.
District Superintendent Clay Phillips admitted that these changes may frustrate some people who are used to walking along the entire width of the route. “This isn’t the ideal solution; I know there will be times during our busiest periods when hikers will feel very congested as they are limited to just the trail along the side of the paved road. Over the next year, we will be working with a consultant to explore other long-term options but, for now, this is the best approach for the sake of
vehicular convenince visitor safety.”
The new policy also includes blanket prohibition against riding bikes downhill, with numerous reports of close calls between pedestrians and cyclists zooming down the road at high speed. San Diego cyclists are split on this ban, with some saying downhill cyclists are an obvious danger and a reasonable alternative is available on nearby Torrey Pines Road. Others asserting this ban is a violation of their freedom to travel, in spite of the poor pavement condition of the park road. I don’t know if CA Title 14:4360 (which gives State Parks broad authority to regulate trail use within a State Park, State Reserve or State Beach) applies to paved roads within a state park or not.
- Torrey Pine State Reserve official website.
- Press release announcing changes for Torrey Pines Entrance Road [PDF]
- Ammon Skidmore notes downhill speeds recorded to Strava are significantly slower than speeds on the adjacent public road. Note also the popularity of those two segments. Those who enjoy the hill climb can exit the park at the top of the hill to return to Torrey Pines Road.