Punta Gorda parking lot reopens after project to cut down on illegal street racing


VENTURA, Calif. – The County of Ventura and Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, in collaboration with the California Highway Patrol and Caltrans, are proud to announce the successful completion of a parking lot project aimed at curbing illegal drag racing, donuts, and other unlawful activities that pose a risk to public safety.

Recognizing the need to address the escalating concerns regarding illegal street racing and related activities, District Attorney Erik Nasarenko and Ventura County Supervisor Matt LaVere initiated a comprehensive approach to ensure the safety and well-being of residents and visitors alike. This project, carried out in coordination with Caltrans District 7 and the County Planning Division, has resulted in the installation of strategically placed speed bumps and 155 cement parking barriers, known as wheel stops, in the Punta Gorda parking lot near Mussel Shoals. The lot, located on the northbound side of Highway 101 north of the Seacliff exit, is known for its high incidence of illegal racing and associated behavior.

“When my office became aware of the public safety dangers at the Punta Gorda parking lot, we immediately collaborated with the California Highway Patrol, District Attorney Nasarenko, our County Planning Division, and the California Coastal Commission to ensure such illegal activities were curbed while still allowing public access to our beautiful beaches,” said Supervisor Matt LaVere. “Because of the strong partnerships already in place, we were able to quickly implement safety measures which accomplish both of these goals.”

The newly implemented measures serve as a deterrent to individuals engaging in illegal driving activities, such as drag racing, donuts, and other dangerous acts that not only endanger participants but also innocent bystanders. By introducing these physical impediments, the County of Ventura, District Attorney’s Office, and CHP aim to disrupt the organization of illicit races and gatherings, discouraging individuals from engaging in reckless behavior.

“This collaborative effort attacks the conditions that permit illegal street racing to occur,” said District Attorney Erik Nasarenko. “By installing speed-reducing barriers, our county is helping to save lives and restoring coastal parking lots to their intended purpose – beach access.”

The collaborative effort involved extensive planning and coordination over two years. The problem was identified after several requests were made to stop the illegal races and gatherings. The multijurisdictional approach showcased the power of partnerships in tackling community-wide challenges.

The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office urges residents to report any suspicious or illegal activities to local law enforcement. By working together, residents and law enforcement can continue to create safe communities in Ventura County.

Additional photos of the project can be found here: https://we.tl/t-xLumuJsivZ