SAN DIEGO — The Port of San Diego is cracking down on the number of people crowding the bayside promenade outside the Rady Shell at Jacobs Park.
Under a new law passed this week, Harbor Police will be allowed to cite people who bring large items, such as chairs and tables, to set up along the bayside sidewalk of the Shell.
The Port of San Diego Commissioners voted unanimously to enact the new law, in order to address issues of overcrowding and safety around the park.
“We’re balancing two goals here: we have public access, but also public safety,” said Joe Stuyvesant, the president and CEO of the Port of San Diego.
The ordinance will apply to the period before and during events. During that time, Harbor Police will have the authority to cite people who are blocking the path along the promenade next to the bay with large items, including foldable chairs, tables or portable stoves.
Sitting on the nearby rocks will also not be permitted.
The new ordinance will not impact those who wish to catch a free show by walking around, sitting on an existing bench or other space outside the Rady Shell.
According to the Port of San Diego, the new rule stems from issues that have come up at past events, where hundreds of people camped out around the outside borders of the public park.
“It’s public safety (concern) we’ve heard over the past years,” Stuyvesant said. “People have to exit out of a venue quickly and there’s been people that are trampled and injured.”
“We think that will solve most of the issues,” he continued.
Other areas near the park will remain open to those looking to listen in to a free show.
“You can hear the sound from all around the venue,” vice president of marketing and communications for the Symphony, Craig Hall, told FOX 5. “We actually see more people playing basketball on the nights we have concerts, because they get to both play basketball and listen to a concert. There is (also) a whole picnic over there, there is a pavilion, a grassy area.”
Port of San Diego oversees the park and leases the shell to the San Diego Symphony. The Port and the Symphony partner together in ensuring the area is open to the public at all times, while keeping a clear path for emergency vehicles.
“Our top priority is the safety of the people who are both in the venue and around the venue and that’s really what we are focused on,” Hall said.
The new ordinance is set to go into effect on April 14, 2023.