The city of Temecula was set to begin full enforcement Tuesday, Jan. 7, of the new overnight and early morning parking restrictions at Ronald Reagan Sports Park.
Tuesday is the first day of classes for the spring semester at Temecula Valley High School.
On Oct. 22, the city council approved new rules prohibiting parking before 8 a.m. on weekdays in the easternmost portion of Ronald Reagan Sports Park, which is located across Margarita Road from TVHS. At the time, city officials said the move was directed at students who use the sports park’s lot as an alternative to on-campus parking. When the new restrictions were first being discussed, Mike Wooten, senior management analyst for the city of Temecula, told the council that the new rules were intended to “condition the students to not park at Ronald Reagan” in the few years ahead of a new state law that will push high school start times to 8 a.m.
In the same move, the city banned overnight parking at all city parks and facilities.
TVHS’ current normal start time is 7:30 a.m., meaning the new restrictions would stop most students from being able to park at that portion of the sports park.
Complaints from students and parents caused the city council to pull the Reagan Sports Park morning parking ban for discussion at its Nov. 12 meeting.
“Parking spots rented by the school are often too expensive and are very limited, so Ronald Reagan’s parking lot is the only alternative,” one TVHS student, Savannah Larimore, told councilmembers.
Another student told councilmembers: “I understand there are some students who do have problems, but you would be displacing a lot of students, especially in the middle of the school year.”
While parking is still available in another section of the sports park further west along Rancho Vista Road that will open at 5 a.m., as well as along Margarita Road and in the Starlight Ridge neighborhood to the park’s north, the new rules were originally stated as encouraging students to park on campus. The city council made clear at the Nov. 12 meeting that only the section of parking below grade of Margarita and Rancho Vista Roads will have restricted parking until 8 a.m.
Still, some students were concerned about the extra distance they would have to walk and the availability of parking on TVHS’ campus.
Around two dozen students were at the meeting, although only a few spoke. The students’ efforts were ultimately unsuccessful and the city council moved forward with the changes anyway.
At that meeting, city officials said the new rules will be in full enforcement as of Temecula Valley Unified School District’s first day back from winter break, which is Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020.
In November, after the city council first approved the new rules, Temecula Director of Community Services Kevin Hawkins said the city doesn’t plan to immediately begin citing vehicles in the sports park on day one of the new restrictions.
“We’re not gonna sweep in there with ticket books,” he said.
And on Dec. 2, Temecula Valley Unified and the city of Temecula announced in a joint statement that TVHS administrators had identified additional on-campus parking to accommodate students who will no longer be allowed to park at the sports park.
“TVHS has re-allocated adequate parking spots to accommodate students who wish to park on the TVHS closed campus,” the statement said. “TVHS currently has 70 open student parking spaces on campus and can create additional spaces, based on demand.”
According to TVUSD spokeswoman Laura Boss, 28 new student parking permits have been purchased since Nov. 18.
Will Fritz can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org