Residents demand to know: What's holding up Torrey Pines Road corridor project?

On Aug. 10, Sherry Nooravi walks in the bike lane on Torrey Pines Road, just west of Amalfi Street, where no sidewalk exists. Shelli DeRobertis photos
On Aug. 10, Sherry Nooravi walks in the bike lane on Torrey Pines Road, just west of Amalfi Street, where no sidewalk exists. Shelli DeRobertis photos

BY SHELLI DEROBERTIS

The $26.5 million Torrey Pines Road Corridor Project, approved in July 2011, has residents wondering if it hit a roadblock, since after one year, the only action taken to improve public safety along the busy thoroughfare has been the installation of two radar speed indicators in January by Councilwoman Sherri Lightner’s office.

For more than a decade, committees have been rallying for project plans to slow traffic and improve pedestrian and bicycle access along Torrey Pines Road. To that end, the city has received $1.1 million in federal stimulus and transportation sales tax funds.

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On Aug. 10, Sherry Nooravi walks in the bike lane on Torrey Pines Road, just west of Amalfi Street, where no sidewalk exists. Shelli DeRobertis photos

But no work has been done on the project’s first approved phase, “Segment 4,” which begins at Little Street to La Jolla Shores Drive and includes the placement of a sidewalk, fence, median and plantable retaining wall.

“We have not heard of any updates since seven months ago when the V-calms were installed,” said Sherry Nooravi, spokeswoman for an ad hoc Torrey Pines Corridor neighborhood group. “So many of us have been working on this and keeping in touch with our city officials, but the dangers on the roadway continue.”

Robert McCue lives on Amalfi Street, on the south side of Torrey Pines Road, and remembers when the road was a quiet, two-lane highway in the 1950s and people could easily ride their bicycles to The Village, he said. McCue has been lobbying for improvements on Torrey Pines Road for several years. He said he’s been trying to get an update on the project, but his last two calls to the city have not been returned.

Lightner’s office replied to the La Jolla Light’s inquiries, and through her representative, Erin Demorest, said the city has the funding to perform two sidewalk projects in Segment 4, but the plans must be designed. The city received $600,000 from two TransNet funds installments in 2011 and 2012 that will be used to remove sidewalk obstructions along the north side of Torrey Pines Road from Prospect Place to La Jolla Shores Drive.

The money will also cover costs to install a new sidewalk between Calle Juela and Roseland on the south side of Torrey Pines Road, Demorest said in an e-mail. “It will take approximately one year to do the design for these two things, which is why the construc- tion on these two sidewalk im- provements is scheduled to start in 2013,” Demorest said.

Segment 4, of the four phases that make up the Torrey Pines Road Corridor Project, has a price tag of $5.8 million and will be the first to undergo improvements beginning at Little Street to La Jolla Shores Drive.

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Sherry nooravi, of residents for Torrey Pines Safety, points to the curbside mess residents say should already be a sidewalk

The city has $220,00 remaining from the $500,000 federal stimulus received in 2009 for the original preliminary design of the entire project, and the remaining money is being used to begin work on the design of Segment 4, according to Demorest. After the sidewalk improvements are completed, the remaining work for Segment 4 will include the installation of a median, bike lanes, landscaping, new fencing on the north side of Torrey Pines Road, reconfiguration of the lane widths, a retaining wall, and more — but funding hasn’t been identified for the design and implementation of this project portion yet, she said.

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