'Tent city' grows, distracts drivers at busy freeway connection ramp

Occupants going to be asked to relocate

SAN DIEGO - A "tent city" is putting San Diego drivers in danger, and people who call the patch of grass home could soon get a visit from police.

Dozens of tents have popped up on a small piece of property squeezed between the state Route 94 and Interstate 5.

Caltrans monitors that piece of property and the main concern is for safety, not only for people on the other side of that wall, but for the traffic headed off SR-94 and onto north bound I-5.

"We're mostly concerned about the safety aspects of all of this," said Caltrans spokesman Steve Saville.

10News cameras were rolling as several people left the area with their dogs and walked dangerously close to traffic heading into downtown off SR-94.

The land is owned by the state, so 10News contacted Caltrans.

"Once I received your phone call, I immediately got on the phone with our maintenance crews and they told me that they are making a drive by today (Wednesday) to check it out and probably will start work tomorrow on remedying the situation," said Saville.

Caltrans understands homeless people seek shelter under bridges and overpasses. However, there isn't much of a barrier between the tents and the racing traffic on the freeway.

"We have had that happen in the past, where we've had traffic go into these encampments, so we definitely don't want to see that happen again," said Saville

Caltrans is planning to visit the area and ask the people to relocate.

"We are sensitive to the needs of these folks in having their belongings with them and making sure they take the opportunity to take their belongings with them," said San Diego police Sgt. Rich Schnell.

Caltrans will work with the SDPD's Homeless Outreach Team.

"My team will identify anyone that might potentially want housing, anybody that's seriously mental ill, people that want to access treatment facilities. We can facilitate placements into all of that," said Schnell.

Police say no crime is being committed and many will likely end up back in this spot again.

"They'll come back as long as there is still access; they'll come back in a month," said Schnell.

As long as there is a danger to motorists and the people living in an area like this, Caltrans will ask them to move.

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