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General Press Releases

Board of Port Commissioners Updates Parking Regulations to Address Oversized Vehicles

The Port of San Diego is amending its parking regulations to be consistent throughout the jurisdiction of the Port and to address rising complaints from the community about an influx of oversized vehicles, which include various sizes of recreational vehicles and vans. The Port’s regulations, formerly applied only to Shelter Island, will be extended throughout all Port parking areas along San Diego Bay. The updates are designed to preserve and expand public access by addressing accessibility, public health, safety, and visual impacts.

On April 11, 2023, the Board of Port Commissioners approved the amendments to its oversized vehicle parking regulations. The amendments were developed through a four-month community outreach process involving five meetings with stakeholders and the public and the assistance of a parking management consultant, Dixon Resources Unlimited.

“As the Port of San Diego welcomes visitors to enjoy our beautiful San Diego Bay waterfront, we must be mindful of ensuring that our vehicle parking rules are fair and consistent for anyone wishing to access the coast,” said Chairman Rafael Castellanos, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners. “The updates to the Port’s parking rules were developed with community input. They will provide more clarity to all visitors and will improve public access, protect views of the bay, and preserve the cleanliness of Port parks and parking areas.”

The Port’s waterfront parks and parking spaces are designed for “day use” and do not have campground services such as utility hookups and proper waste management. There are at least eight RV parks within a 10-mile radius of the Port with nearly 1,600 spaces, and four more with 787 spaces within a 15-mile radius, providing many options for visitors in oversized vehicles.

In recent years, the Port has been impacted by the “van camping” trend, with Shelter Island being mentioned in internet forums as a popular “stealth camping” location with few regulations. Some visitors to the waterfront choose to “camp” in their converted vans rather than in a designated camping location with wastewater and trash disposal facilities. As a result, the Port has received numerous public complaints regarding the dumping of human waste and trash in parks, on public landscaping, on streets and in parking lots, and these complaints have been on the increase. The amended parking regulations will continue to allow oversized vehicle parking in designated locations while clarifying that camping should be limited to designated camping and RV areas.

Key amendments to the oversized vehicle parking regulations include:

  • Updating the definition of oversized vehicles and expanding regulations from Shelter Island in San Diego to all of tidelands.
  • Prohibiting oversized vehicles greater than 20-feet long OR 7-feet wide OR 7.5-feet tall from standing, stopping or parking on Port tidelands where posted, except in designated oversized vehicle parking spaces, with some exceptions for commercial and service vehicles.
  • Converting 17 oversized vehicle parking spaces within Shoreline Park to regular parking spaces due to access, placement, and maintenance issues. The use of these spaces has resulted in significant damage to landscaping and curbs.
  • Preserving the 10 oversized vehicle parking spaces on Shelter Island Drive.
  • Preserving the designated parking for vehicles with attached boat trailers at all Port boat launch facilities.
  • Adjusting time limitations on parking in various areas.  

The changes are expected to go into effect on May 12, 2023. Once the regulations are in effect, new signs and some parking space stripes and markings will be installed in affected areas.  

About THE Port of San Diego

The Port of San Diego serves the people of California as a specially created district, balancing multiple uses on 34 miles along San Diego Bay spanning five cities. Collecting no tax dollars, the Port manages a diverse portfolio to generate revenues that support vital public services and amenities.

The Port champions Maritime, Waterfront Development, Public Safety, Experiences and Environment, all focused on enriching the relationship people and businesses have with our dynamic waterfront. From cargo and cruise terminals to hotels and restaurants, from marinas to museums, from 22 public parks to countless events, the Port contributes to the region’s prosperity and remarkable way of life on a daily basis.

About Port of San Diego Experiences

Port of San Diego Experiences welcomes businesses, residents and visitors from across the globe to enjoy and prosper from our dynamic waterfront.

As a treasured destination, the Port provides unique opportunities to captivate visitors and ensure everyone is welcomed, connected and inspired by our beautiful waterfront.