(l-r CSO Officers Dee Dee Spangler and Thanya Torres on a cleared State Street prior to the weekly Farmers' Market)
Every Wednesday for nearly eight years, State Street has become an open air Farmers' Market thanks to the help and support of the City of Carlsbad Community Services Officer team.
In 2013, the State Street Farmers' Market moved from the small parking lot on Roosevelt Street where it had operated since 1994 to the heart of downtown as a way to make the area more vibrant and more of a destination, thus enhancing the downtown business community. It was also meant to make the amazing produce and artisan foods from local growers and businesses more accessible. Several San Diego County downtown Main Street Associations operate a Farmers' Market, including Hillcrest, Little Italy, Oceanside and others.
Clearing State Street to prepare for the market has never been an easy task but one that the Carlsbad CSO Officers have well under control. Signage and business visits are key to a successful closure. To help drivers understand the importance of clearing the street by 1:00pm, so that market vendors can move in to set up, the Carlsbad Village Association (CVA) places 10 brightly colored safety cones down the middle of State Street no later than 8:00am on the morning of the market. The signs clearly mention that the street is closed from "1pm to 8pm" for the Farmers' Market. In addition, CVA places bright red A Frames on the four corners leading into and out of State Street, and also places two red A Frames mid street for added coverage. In addition to this, the City of Carlsbad has affixed over 15 permanent road closure signs to light poles on both sides of the street along with other parking signage such as the three-hour parking limit ordinance.
Community Service Officers, Dee Dee Spangler and Thanya Torres, are assigned to the Farmers' Market parking enforcement weekly and are an integral part of the market's success. Starting no later than 12:30pm, both officers walk business to business on State Street and politely remind shoppers and employees that all cars need to be removed by 1:00pm to avoid being towed. They also intercept drivers pulling into parking spots close to the 1:00pm cutoff time to remind them. Often shoppers are running into a store for a quick pickup or into a restaurant or cafe for the same, and the officers assure them that their car will be fine in the interim. Spangler and Torres even call car owners from license plate data which often results in the owner jogging around the corner or out of a business in the nick of time to move their car prior to 1:00pm.
"Our goal is to never tow a car," said Dee Dee Spangler. "Thanya and I, along with volunteer officers, work very hard to educate the public and provide that friendly reminder to them to avoid being towed. But, unfortunately, not all drivers take the time to read the three-hour parking enforcement signs or the Farmers' Market road closure signs."
A community service officer provides support in crime prevention, investigation, and response where full police powers are not required and assists police officers in upholding law and order. The Carlsbad Village Association is honored and grateful to have the support of the City of Carlsbad to help make the State Street Farmers' Market a successful event week after week in our downtown. We can't thank Officers Spangler and Torres enough for helping us open the State Street Farmers' Market on time every Wednesday.
For more information on the Farmers' Market, click here.