Tourist Tuesday, Bixby Bridge Memorial Day weekend

Most of you have heard, by now, of the fiasco that was Bixby Bridge this weekend. This was Saturday, by Adam Slawter. At 6:30 pm, it was backed up from Bixby to Palo by cars going south. That is 2.2 miles of idling vehicles.


This is the video taken by Tim Huntington on Saturday at 2 pm of the cars headed south, as he was heading north:

This was what it looked like early – as in 9 am – on Sunday, in the rain. Martha Diehl took these photos. Note the door opening into traffic immediately before another vehicle in the last photo.


Imagine that there is an emergency, which is much more likely with the influx of clueless people from out of the area. What happens then? How do emergency vehicles navigate through this quagmire? They can’t. How are the Cal Fire engines and others supposed to get to us when there is a fire this summer? Or cliff rescue, or serious injuries? This is a life-threatening situation that must be resolved.

Monday, a temporary solution presented itself. MCSO stationed THREE officers here at Bixby and they managed to keep traffic moving, at least until early afternoon, one source told me. So we need to pressure the County to assign 3 officers every weekend and holiday to manage the traffic at this bottleneck.

On the brighter side, CABS was there educating and interacting with the tourists on Monday morning, raising the awareness of our visitors to treat Big Sur with respect.


(Photo by Patte Kronlund)


(Photo by Lisa Kleissner)

Let us start preppering our Supes to take action, now! We don’t need to come up with a “perfect” solution, I don’t have one. But we could try a variety of things to see what will work, short of painting the bridge puke green. We could experiment with running shuttles, or the current MST buses, allowing only them to park, or to drop off and pick up visitors to the bridge from a staged area north and south. The County of Monterey could pass an ordinance, for health & safety reasons, prohibiting parking on both eastern and western sides and OCR, assess BIG fines, and enforce it! If you have another idea, I am all ears. Toss those ideas out there, no matter how crazy they seem. It might just give someone else the inspiration they need to find a solution that will work.


California Film Commission and Bixby Bridge

Date: March 7, 2019 at 11:12:21 PST
To: Klosterman, Eric

Thank you for your response.

Fyi the most recent construction vs film use of Hwy 1 scheduling conflict was this week, which also included completely barring visitor access to the Bixby Bridge viewing turnout & OCR parking area, enforced by numerous CHP personnel. So while your assurances are welcome they do not match my experience on the ground.

Martha  Diehl
from my smart-alec phone

On Mar 7, 2019, at 09:20, Klosterman, Eric wrote:

Hi Martha,

Thanks for your requests.  The California Film Commission, together with Caltrans and the Monterey County Film Commission, has been working to address the concerns of residents in the Big Sur/Bixby Bridge area of Monterey County.  We have long had a moratorium in place during the period from Memorial Day to Labor Day on filming requests that involve any kind of traffic control.

Caltrans does not allow productions to take over exclusive use of turnouts.  Caltrans is the permitting agency for filming on State highways, so they are always in the loop and their local engineers advise the permit office of any planned roadwork that might interfere with or exacerbate filming impacts.  I know of one occasion where the maintenance department of Caltrans didn’t let the traffic engineer who approves permits know about some work they were planning until after he had approved the film permit.  Caltrans has put procedures in place to avoid that happening again.

Monterey County Film Commission is notified with a draft copy of every CFC permit application for Monterey County and can communicate other local events to us that may conflict with proposed filming activity.

We work with the CHP to make local patrol officers assigned to film shoots aware of the needs of the community and insure they do not hold traffic longer than is permitted.  CHP will always suspend filming activities if emergency vehicles need to get through.

We are not issuing permits for helicopter filming below 1000 feet at Bixby Bridge at the present time.  Drone operators who are permitted to operate over the Caltrans right of way are required to follow all FAA regulations.  The FAA has jurisdiction over all aircraft once they are in the air.  Property owners, including State and local governments can set rules for take offs and landings from their property so as to insure public safety.

We take all the issues you raise into consideration with each permit application.  We are exploring with Caltrans other measures we can take in the permitting process to minimize the impact and frequency from filming.  We continue to work with all the stakeholders to develop guidelines that are responsive to their needs.

Eric Klosterman, Permit Department Manager, California Film Commission

And another film shoot at Bixby and other turnouts in Big Sur

I just got this notification this morning, so not much notice, but perhaps it will bettter help to plan the beginning of your week next week.

Date: February 27, 2019
To: Big Sur Residents and Businesses
From: Netflix / Pacific 2.1 Entertainment
Film Production Activity on Highway 1 in the Big Sur Area Scheduled for Monday, March 4th and Tuesday, March 5th
In an effort to better communicate with Big Sur residents and business owners regarding upcoming film activities in the area, this is to notify you of a permitted film shoot to take place on Monday, March 4th and Tuesday, March 5th (If weather is not cooperating, we may film instead on Wednesday, March 6th). We are planning to do shots from various turnouts up and down CA-Hwy 1 from Carmel down to the Big Sur River Inn, so it is hard to predict precisely what time we will arrive in each area, but all shots take place during daylight hours and once we’re set-up should take no more than an hour to film each one. Our shots involve period 1940’s picture cars driving past so will require intermittent traffic control (ITC) at and near Bixby Bridge and Hwy 1. As per our permit, a portion of parking at the Bixby Bridge turnout will also be used.

We will be hiring California Highway Patrol officers to facilitate the ITC and to ensure public safety and access with only brief traffic holds. A handful of stakebed and passenger van-sized vehicles will also be parked along Old Coast Rd, while most of our trucks and equipment will be stationed in a parking lot up in Carmel.
We have taken all necessary steps to ensure that the required permits have been obtained and will comply with restrictions necessary for a safe and efficient shoot.

The production company would like to show its appreciation to the community with a donation to the Mid-coast Fire Brigade and Big Sur Fire Brigade.
Thank you for your cooperation and understanding. I hope this advance notice is helpful for you to plan your day.

Sincerely yours,
Robert Foulkes
Location Manager
Netflix / Pacific 2.1 Entertainment