LA County Throws Open Zuma Lots, But Walks Back Promised 50 Percent Capacity Reduction
Written by 991KBU on May 23, 2020
L A County is reopening the Zuma Beach parking lot …but is walking away from an earlier county commitment to limit the parking lot capacity to reduce crowding on the beach.
Efforts by Malibu to reopen the parking lot at Zuma Beach at 50 percent capacity… and ban parking along PCH … have failed.
As late as yesterday afternoon … county lifeguard officials were telling the city that the big Zuma Beach parking lots would be limited to 50 percent capacity … to reduce crowds on the beach.
The idea from city officials was to reopen the huge parking lots at reduced capacity … and move the parked cars from P C H into the parking lots.
That did not happen.
The L A County Department of Beaches and harbors has this morning reopened the parking lots at Will Rogers State Beach, Malibu Surfrider Beach and Zuma Beach.
The county says the idea is to discourage unsafe and illegal street parking.
But the illegal parking areas along P C H … particularly on the land side of the highway … have not been marked with no parking signs.
The existing permanent no parking signs either burned in the fire … or have faded in the sun.
One way or the other …. the inland side of P C H is not marked for no parking.
Again … one branch of the county said yesterday that the Zuma would will be open at 50 percent capacity.
That was yesterday morning.
Last night at 5 … Beaches and Harbors said parking would be limited capacity determined by staffing and the number and behavior of beachgoers…
And this morning … Beaches and Harbors says they are not aware of any specific commitment to limit parking to 50 percent of capacity.
It should be noted that Beaches and Harbors is heavily reliant on parking lot revenue for its operations budget of 71 million dollars a year.
So reducing parking capacity by 50 percent has a direct financial impact on the county bureaucracy.
Elsewhere in Malibu … gates to vertical accessways will be officially open to the public as well…
We’re talking about gates operated by the county and the MRCA.
At all the beaches … it appears that laying in the sand will not be prohibited, but not be specifically allowed.
And the bathrooms will be open.
City manager Reva Feldman says Beaches and Harbors has requested up to 40 disaster service workers to perform good-will ambassador roles, advising beach patrons of the COVID-19 related rules like mandatory face mask use.
There will be signage at the entrance to the parking lots … for people to ignore.
KBUU Mobile Unit 2 drove up and down Zuma this morning … the parking lot is open … there are absolutely no parking restrictions in sight.
Although the crowd may be limited at the entrance gate … it is easy to predict that those cars will merely be parked along the inland side of P C H … and people will cross the busy highway.
In other words … the worst of both worlds.
A huge show of force by law enforcement will be stationed in Malibu – after last weekend was marred by what city officials said was a disastrous disconnect between the city’s needs and the response from the local sheriff’s office.
As many as 50 extra uniformed deputies in Malibu over the three day Memorial Day weekend.It is not clear how many of those additional deputies are already scheduled as part of the Beach Team, the annual summer deployment that bolsters enforcement at Zuma Beach and other public shores.
Commanders at the Malibu-Lost Hills sheriff’s station have been polite, but commanders have not returned KBUU phone calls all week.
“LASD has nearly tripled the amount of LASD personnel that was in Malibu compared to last weekend,” said city manager Reva Feldman. Shifts are staggered so that there will be deputies on the beach from 10am to 11pm Saturday through Monday.
There will also be 12 extra deputies in Malibu on Sunday that are being deployed from the County’s Disaster Operations Center. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s office is helping to fund some of the additional deputies and has agreed to do so again for Fourth of July and Labor Day.
City of Malibu Volunteers On Patrol will be out providing parking enforcement, and the city has hired two California Highway Patrol officers for Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The CHPs will be in Malibu from 10am to 6pm each day to provide dedicated traffic enforcement on PCH, Feldman said.
Locked beach accessways operated by the MRCA and California State Parks will be opened throughout Malibu.
Many of the state beach parking lots in the Malibu and Point Mugu area will be open at 50 percent capacity, with hours of operation of 8AM to sunset.
All this is prompting more than one city official to advise … hunker down this weekend.