Opinion: Working with the system sometimes better than fighting it

Residents along West Muirlands Drive who have been putting up first with increasing speed and traffic volume on their street and now with repairs on their street for nearly three weeks deserve a pat on the back for figuring out how to tackle the issues in their neighborhood.

And city officials, too, get kudos for helping them learn about the process.

(It’s too bad, though, they didn’t break the news about the water main work that will make the street a detour off Nautilus.)

Last week the neighbors held their second meeting in an effort to see what can be done to improve safety along the street near Muirlands Middle and La Jolla High Schools.

At the first, three police officers talked to them about how speed limits are set and made suggestions about what could be done. Attending the second session were Erin Demorest, an aide to Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, and Gary Pence, a senior traffic engineer, and Officer Mark McCullough, a returning guest. They provided more specific details on what can be done in the short-term as well as longer range and vowed to expedite the steps as much as they can.

Yet they cautioned that the ideas must go before La Jolla’s Traffic and Transportation Board and the local Community Planning Association before projects can move forward.

While the frustration of some who live on the street was clear, it was also evident that they were trying their best to work within the system. And some said they were also willing to ante up if it would help get things done sooner

La Jolla, like the other communities of San Diego, must work within the city’s bureaucracy to get things done. Unless and until La Jolla can figure out a way to become its own city — which the small but passionate Independent La Jolla group is quietly exploring — that’s the way it will be.

In the meantime, neighbors who can find unity and the time to learn about the process are more likely to succeed than those who just show up at meetings and demand change.

We wish the West Muirlands group luck as their requests advance through the system and we thank the city officials for their assistance.



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