Challenged the Citizens

A pilot's view of Big Bear Valley

Jeff Mathieu, City Manager of Big Bear Lake addresses the January Weekend Winter Storm ___ Most of the concerns/problems below were caused or exacerbated by our nearly Once-In-Ten Year Snow Storm. While you, and most of the community, are aware of this reality, a significant amount of residents were not. The incredible snow storm attracted every possible type of Winter Visitor/user to Big Bear Valley the weekend of January 28. The volume of visitors was simply overwhelming and approaching July 4th numbers.

So it is understandable that our residents have concerns.  And we are here to provide solutions to problems, manage the vast amount of tourism related to traffic and provide quality public services. 

To better inform our year-around constituents and second-home property owners, we are adapting our City website next week to present very current information in time for President’s Day, our next major holiday weekend.

Included will be Winter related advisories, Traffic Circulation updates, Parking changes/additions, State Highway delays & Alternative Routes.

Also, we have already scheduled a Winter Operations/Snow Removal staff report for the City Council Agenda of MondayFebruary 13 to authorize use of the Snow Reserve Fund. We will broaden this discussion staff report to include a presentation on all matters related to the winter Impact. Probably, there will have representatives from all relevant public agencies and Bear Mountain Resorts.

Finally, we will hold the February 13th City Council meeting at 6:30 P.M. in the Performing Arts Center auditorium, instead of Hofert Hall to accommodate a larger crowd that may attend. A second meeting will likely be scheduled, for a later date.   


Addressing Specific problems and solutions:


•            Big Bear Boulevard – The narrow/snow berm width resulting in one lane in each direction was the most devastating impact of the weekend January 28th. This was a direct result of Caltrans being unable to snowplow any more without removal of the huge berms in the outside travel lanes, sidewalks and front yard set-backs.

The City of Big Bear Lake secured a convoy of loader trucks and snow blowers to remove and truck out the excess snow. All four lanes of Big Bear Boulevard have been restored, thanks to the City’s incredible Public Works crew. 


•            Traffic Circulation and Parking Management –Severe winter conditions and narrow roadways eliminated a significant amount of on-street parking. Much of the limited roadway capacity has been restored in our commercial areas. To better alleviate traffic congestion, the City has contracted with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) for the next several weekends to provide enhanced traffic management on Big Bear Boulevard.


In addition, the Big Bear Sheriff’s Department will increase its deployment of San Bernardino County/Big Bear Sheriff Deputies to Moonridge Road, Fox Farm Road, Clubview Drive and Summit Boulevard to more efficiently and quickly park vehicles into parking lots. 


•            Narrow residential streets hindered by huge berms – Following the widening of Big Bear Blvd, we continued use of loader trucks and snow blowers to remove and truck out the excess snow from the neighborhoods. The City’s major arterial streets of Lakeview Drive, Moonridge, Road and Fox Farm Road, were recently alleviated of the burden caused by berms.


During the next two weeks we will deploy the same equipment and crews to Boulder Bay, Castle Glen, Eagle Point, Moonridge and other resident areas.


•            Sandalwood Drive – Recognizing an overwhelming impact of winter snow fall, we granted the Bear Mountain Resorts an opportunity on a handful of days to utilize Sandalwood Drive for parking, while they dug out massive snow banks and berms on their various properties. We do not intend to use Sandalwood Drive for the remainder of Winter.

 And we will help Vons, Kmart and Stater Bros with signage and parking controls, as necessary. 

 •            Snow play – Has been occurring everywhere, including places never used previously used, including the sewer ponds, the golf course. Primary concerns are illegal parking and blockages of roadways for 9-1-1 First Responders.

A special task force of Code Enforcement and Sheriff’s Deputies will monitor and take corrective action relative to the excessive snow play and illegal parking concerns for the rest of winter. 


•            Private Home Rentals parking – We’ve met with the rental agencies to address problems of not clearing snow from rental home driveways, and too many cars parked/staged on narrow highly berm streets. Rental agencies have renewed their efforts during this past week to ensure snow is removed by their contractors before renting units.

In addition, the City has offered the Alden Parking lot and City Hall parking lot for those excess vehicles unable to park on the premises of their rental units.  

So in short, the City of Big Bear Lake gladly accepts the challenge of a very tough winter and embraces its responsibility to accommodate the large influx of visitors while maintaining the quality of life that our residents normally expect.


Thank You for your understanding!