Rancho Palos Verdes — a tony neighborhood with beautiful coastal views, unique geology, and some of the loveliest hiking in southwestern Los Angeles County — is already known as a tough spot to hike. Due to increasing use of the outdoor resources in the city, it might become more difficult to hike there if you don’t happen to own property nearby.

Back in 2015, the city red-striped places where most visitors parked to access Del Cerro Park after residents complained of unspeakable urban horrors like noisy car doors slamming and chatty hikers. Although the city was insistent this was not the goal, the move effectively blocked the public who didn’t live nearby from accessing a public park.

Expanded parking restrictions in Rancho Palos Verdes

In August, the city temporarily blocked off even more of the available free parking, after a meeting where essentially only homeowners registered their opinion on the matter. Now, those restrictions may become permanent … and parking significantly more expensive.

In a posted meeting agenda set for October 20th, the permanent parking ban is one of the proposed items. Another item is an increase in proposed parking fees — from $30 to $50 for four hours. And you thought parking near the Griffith Observatory was expensive!

In case you were wondering about taking the “well I just won’t pay” tactic, they’ve got that covered, too. The City is investigating a 3 to 1 fine ratio for the fees to act as a deterrent, meaning you might come back from your hike with a $150 ticket on your windshield.

The site Legal Planet notes that the adjacent Palos Verdes Nature Preserve were purchased with and are funded by state and county funds. Del Cerro serves as a popular gateway to these lands. On weekends and holidays, a vast majority of visitors are from non-residents.

An in-person and virtual meeting on this topic will be held on Tuesday, October 20th at 7PM. You can no longer submit written comments but you can still sign up for in person or virtual comments or leave voice comments by heading to this website

We received a message from the Rancho Palos Verdes department of Recreation, Parks, and Open Space. It is presented below in its entirety and without edits.

Rancho Palos Verdes City Staff has read the article attached, and it contains many inaccuracies, and we would appreciate corrections. The topic of public access to the City’s open space areas is very important to the City, and the City is working hard to find solutions to address access needs and concerns in a balanced and holistic way. Having a public that is educated on and engaged in the topic will help us find more balanced and effective solutions.

The location you mention in the article is referring to 2 of other access points to the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve. This location is Crenshaw Blvd. south of Crest Rd. and serves as the primary trailhead to the Portuguese Bend and Filiorum Nature Reserves. A common misconception the public has is that the entire 1,400-acre Palos Verdes Nature Preserve IS Portuguese Bend Reserve. However, Portuguese Bend Reserve is 1 of the 12 reserve properties located throughout the City. The City is trying to disperse public use to some of the other 10 reserves, and especially to those reserves that have parking and amenities to support public use, such as restrooms. The City has been using social media and signage at Portuguese Bend Reserve to encourage the public to try alternate reserve locations, rather than focus use on this area not designed to handle the quantity of visitors it currently sees.

Parking conditions on Crenshaw Blvd. south of Crest are not functional at this time. This section of road dead ends in a residential area that has arguably become the most popular entry point to the City’s trail system when it’s not the only entry point. It was not designed for the level of use it gets. Moreover, over the past ten years, use has increased substantially largely due to word spread through social media, and more recently use has increased even more after the County lifted health orders to close trails. This increase in use following the lifting of the orders has been seen County-wide.

We would appreciate retraction of the statement that the City is trying to make it harder for the public to access trails. The City is one of the few jurisdictions that have completed the California Coastal Trail along its entire coastline in partnership with the California Coastal Conservancy with the goal of enhancing public access to the coast. Additionally, the City provides public access to beaches and trails along its coast through five public parking lots, four of which provide free parking. Additionally, since the creation of the Preserve in 2008, it was and has always been the City’s intent to provide access to all. You can review staff reports presented to the City Council between 2006 and 2009 on the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve.

The article states that the City has blocked access to its trails through red curbing. However, despite the permanent red curbing, and the temporary red curbing closest to Del Cerro Park, there are still approximately 45 free public parking spaces on Crenshaw Blvd south of Crest Rd., and more than 100 spaces north of Crest Rd., which is an approximately ¼ mile walk to the nearest of the two trailheads. The staff report also shared that the City is looking into opening up additional parking for the Portuguese Bend Reserve such as at the Rancho Del Mar School site.

The article states the City Council will be considering charging $30-$50 to park on Crenshaw Blvd. south of Crest Rd. However, staff is not recommending those fees. Rather, staff is recommending City Council direct staff to engage a consultant to explore parking solutions, and at a later time bring back a recommended fee for City Council consideration. As indicated in the staff report, “A possible approach is a $30-$50 total charge for a 4-hour block of time on Crenshaw Boulevard south of Crest Road.” Moreover, as you read on in the staff report under the discussion of possibly utilizing Rancho del Mar (again possibly), it states “Such costs can be offset if the City charged a flat fee for parking at this location which in order to be effective and enticing to visitors would have to be significantly less than parking on Crenshaw Blvd.” I am pointing this out because the intent here is to look at the solutions under consideration holistically not individually. When you do that, you will see that the city is trying to strike a balance between preserving the quality of life and providing public access.

Your article references information posted in an article on Legal Planet as to how the City received funding for our Nature Preserve. Much of the information in the Legal Planet article is inaccurate, and the City requested a correction from the author. The City received the majority of its acquisition funding for the Preserve from state and federal sources, as well as some County sources. Please see link below on Preserve management, why public access to the Preserve is conditional, and actions the City takes and funds to keep the Preserve open to the public. (Specifically see #s 14, 19, 20, 24, and 31)
https://www.rpvca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/15076/FINAL-Master-and-Specific-Responses-Combined-10-10-19-Formatted

Please help us spread correct information so that the public, who is invited to participate, understands what is being considered based on facts. The City has used public notices in newspapers and at trailheads and social media to engage the public on this topic. The more the public is informed on and engaged in this topic, the more constructive feedback the City will receive to help us find solutions. The City is trying to strike a balance between public access and resident quality of life while being mindful of impacts to natural resources.

It is not too late for the public to make a statement for the October 20th City Council Meeting. To do so, please send emails to the City Council and Recreation and Parks Department at [email protected] and [email protected]. All correspondence received will be entered into the record and will be viewable at the City Council Meeting as late correspondence. I’ve attached our public notice on the agenda item. It contains additional information and how to participate in the meeting. Please feel free to reach out to me directly with any questions or for more information.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Modern Hiker, Author of "Day Hiking Los Angeles" and "Discovering Griffith Park." Walking Meditator, Native Plant Enthusiast.





17 Comments

Duri Arquisch Oct 19, 2020 13:10

I’m blown away that one cannot even park at the park parking lot, without a permit. It’s a public park!

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Tracy Oct 19, 2020 11:10In reply to: William Hadley

Thank you for commenting and your ideas. Also the Forrestal Drive trail head access has been painted red all the way to PV Drive South and The traffic there is light as well as homes near where parking used to be acceptable. There is a little parking down below, now but if that fills up, no options. It will be interesting to see the outcome and I agree with you, everyone has a right to enjoy this beauty and public space. Probably social media is the reason for more visitors as people share their images and experience. I loved the intent of your parents and I hope this vision comes true!

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Christina DeMoss Oct 16, 2020 16:10In reply to: William Hadley

All really great ideas! Shuttle is the way to go. It could entice people to patronize those restaurants.

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William Hadley Oct 16, 2020 13:10

I was fortunate enough to have been born and raised in PV. It is one of California's most spectacular locations and should be enjoyed by all. My parents were also founders of the Palos Verdes Land Conservancy. Their sole purpose for donating was to allow as many people to enjoy that land as possible. The city should be ashamed of themselves for making it so difficult to use. I have also seen the area grow in popularity in the past 5 years, and once again the city should welcome and encourage visitors. Most cities would "pay millions" to have something that attracts such a large number of visitors. Most people will visit local businesses before or after their hike. I can't imagine that the mall wouldn't benefit from a little more foot traffic. Those of you that are familiar with the area, know there is ample parking at the Peninsula mall. The city could provide a very inexpensive shuttle service, running only two shuttles on weekends, and one on weekdays. This would alleviate the parking issues on the street, and possibly contribute to more patrons for the mall. It's not that difficult to figure out a simple solution, the city just needs to put some resources to good use, and understand that they have a jewel in their back pocket that everyone has a right to view.

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Gregory MacDonald Oct 16, 2020 10:10In reply to: Kathy Kunysz

Kathy,
There is no beach access to limit. There are no beaches in or adjacent to the Portuguese Nature preserve. The red-curbing is only one small portion of the available parking and is meant to stop illegal u-turns and visitors double parked, waiting for parking. No one is trying to block access to the Preserve. On the contrary, the residents and the City are trying to improve access though multiple trailheads.

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Tracy Oct 15, 2020 21:10

Thank you for accurately reporting this. We've lived in San Pedro and have hiked here for over 12 years, but rarely go anymore since they started painting all of the curbs red. In addition, RPV closes trails anytime they can...even if it drizzles, they close the trails. Never seen anything like it! The bottom line is they don't want outsiders in RPV, and have zero interest in others enjoying this beautiful public land. That's the shameful truth.

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Stop Lying Oct 15, 2020 15:10

This is complete inflammatory nonsense. It’s like tuning to FoxNews if you you’re looking for honest information. Stop spinning and misrepresentating the situation in order to get people angry. Shame on you.

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Kathy Kunysz Oct 15, 2020 15:10

I wonder if this type of back door attempt to prevent public access to public beaches could be dealt with by the California Coastal Commission.

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Todd Oct 15, 2020 15:10

Yep, RPV is completely out of control. I’m a diver and they’ve now closed access to the beach at Pt. Vicente at Golden Cove which has been beach accessible for over 100 years. They’re claiming now it’s a butterfly sanctuary. Of course, they tore the area up to build their houses there. Ignore that. Palos Verdes is totally cool. It’s RPV that have turned into these rich snobs that think it’s all theirs. I know a resident in that Golden Cove neighborhood that told me one of the city reps went door to door to get donations to shut down coastal access in that neighborhood because they didn’t want “brown people” accessing their beach. True story. Now they’re giving out $400+ fines if you go down to the beach there. They’ve effectively cut off about 8 miles of coastline now. It’s totally illegal.

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Casey Schreiner Oct 15, 2020 13:10In reply to:

If you're paying $5 to take an Uber ride to this location, you're already a resident.

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Should You Hike Here?

With wildifres, smoke conditions, COVID-19, and National Forest and other public land closures rampant, please reach out to the land management agency in charge before you head out for a hike to make sure the trail is open and safe to be on.