By Dave Schwab
Torrey Pines neighbors are poised to present a counterproposal requesting improvements to the La Jolla gateway corridor be broken up into eight smaller segments rather than four larger ones as recommended by the city.
“The four sections that were laid out were the city’s first shot at dividing this up,” La Jolla architect Robert Thiele told neighbors at a gathering last Friday, about the $26.5 million Torrey Pines Road Corridor Project. Preliminary plans call for 20 recommended improvements including sidewalks, bluff stabilization and signalization.
“Eight (segments) would facilitate walkability and safety on the north side of Torrey Pines. prioritizing a crossing here at Princess Street,” Thiele said as the group stood on a street corner.
Saying eight smaller Corridor segments would be less expensive to build, Thiele added: “We’ll be lucky in our lifetimes if we can finish this whole thing. But if we can walk it, and bike it, and it can be more safe — then we’ve accomplished something.”
Thiele in an e-mail said the new eight-segment idea will be presented soon to the La Jolla Traffic and Transportation Board and the La Jolla Community Planning Association.
“We will also be asking the community to prioritize walkability and safety for the least amount of cost in their vote and recommendations,” Thiele’s e-mail said.
At the neighborhood meeting, Andy Hamilton of WALKSanDiego, a regional, group dedicated to making neighborhoods more walkable, handed out a list of 10 “safety fixes” which can be done, including sidewalks, raised medians and bike lanes.
Hamilton noted the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), the region's primary public planning, transportation and research agency, wil have funding available for innovative pedestrian safety and community walkability solutions.
He discussed two progressive types of signal systems tried successfully elsewhere, HAWK (High Intensity Activated Cross Walk) and PELICAN (Pedestrian Light Control Activation), which could potentially improve safety along the high-volume, high-road.
“You could put a pedestrian push button in the median,” Hamilton suggested, noting SANDAG will be putting out a call for such projects to fund soon.
“They rank these by how well they score pointwise, and innovation is one of the things that will win you points,” he said. A HAWK signal, which has never been done in San Diego, might help score points ultimately leading to funding approva, he added.
In 2010, a $500,000 federal stimulus grant to fund the design phase of the project between La Jolla Shores Drive and Prospect Placewas secured.
Earlier this year the city unveiled a proposal for breaking Corridor improvements into four segments, recommending that Segment 4 (Little Street to La Jolla Shores Drive), the entrance to the Village and the longest segment, be the first one done because it would be less costly as it has fewer retaining walls.