By Kathy Day
When the La Jolla Village Merchants Association board last week considered weighing in on which part of the Torrey Pines Road Corridor improvements should be tackled first, a split vote meant their idea to back the portion nearest La Jolla Shores Drive was rejected.
City engineers have laid out a conceptual plan that calls for slope-stabilization measures and improvements designed to calm traffic and increase safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Their plan divides the project up into four distinct pieces:
• Segment 1, Prospect Street to Coast Walk;
• Segment 2, Coast Walk to Viking Way/Hillside Drive;
• Segment 3, Viking Way/Hillside Drive to Little Street, and
• Segment 4, Little Street to La Jolla Shores Drive.
The directors had several questions Todd Lesser, who chairs the Traffic & Transportation Board, about everything from whether a pedestrian bridge could be added to — only half jokingly — whether they could make the signs reroute traffic through the business district during the construction.
Several directors said they fear more traffic impediments in the form of construction delays will hurt the Village business district, which is still battling the economic downturn.
They also heard from residents along Torrey Pines Road who want sections 1 and 2 done first or an alternate plan followed that would divvy the work into eight parts.
Joe LaCava, former president and still a member of the La Jolla Community Planning Association — which has the only official role in advising the city on land use matters — had recommended the merchants group take no action.
“We need a community dialogue, “ he said. “At every meeting, we talk and talk and talk, but there is no dialogue.”
He also noted city engineers have not developed plans for traffic control by segment.
After a lot of discussion, a motion was made to back the city’s plan to start with Segment 4. Seven directors voted for the measure and seven abstained. But because the new organization’s by-laws state a measure can only pass with a majority vote of those present, the measure failed, President Phil Coller said later.
The corridor improvement project goes back before the traffic board on June 24, when Lesser said they will listen to more input and hopefully make a recommendation that will then go to the planning group.
In other action, the merchants association board:
• heard a request from the La Jolla Historical Society to get involved in the La Jolla Motor Car Classic again. It predecessor, Promote La Jolla, formerly sponsored the event but handed it off to the society two years ago;
• agreed to donatae $1,000 to the fireworks fund but did not act on a request to take over sponsorship;
• agree with the goal of working towards making La Jolla “a sustainable community”; and
• noted that they hope to hire an executive director by late August. They had 25 applicants and plan to narrow that down to three who will be interviewed.