La Jolla Parks & Beaches tackles dockless bikes, dangerous gap, reservoir project

The La Jolla Parks & Beaches (LJP&B) advisory group discussed a bevy of items during its March 26 meeting at the Rec Center, including the controversial dockless bikes.

Dockless bikes: Addressing the proliferation of dockless bikes in La Jolla and across San Diego, and noting their presence in public parks, LJP&B is figuring out the most efficient next step in addressing the issue.

“This problem is bigger than La Jolla,” explained trustee Bill Robbins. “There are piles of these vehicles in Pacific Beach and Mission Beach. These companies are giants.”

He said he’s been communicating with Sheila Fortune, director of the La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA), because she scheduled a presentation with LimeBike reps, which was canceled at the last minute due to an “emergency.” A follow-up presentation is set for 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 11 at La Jolla Library, 7555 Draper Ave.

Fortune later confirmed to La Jolla Light : “I have three of the companies committed to be at the next meeting so far.” Rather than have piecemeal presentations, LJP&B opted to see what happens when any bike-share companies present to the LJVMA and proceed from there.

In addition to bikes being used and left in parks, LJP&B members said they couldn’t understand how these companies are allowed to operate without any local notice. Robbins said further, there is no enforcement for the existing bicycle laws, such as that riders must wear helmets, cannot ride on the sidewalk, must be 16 years old, etc.

“Part of the problem is no matter what rules we or the City put together, just like the short-term rental issue, there are not enough code enforcement officers. The City is going to have to come up with a plan,” he said. The board will reconsider the issue 4 p.m. Monday, April 23 at the Rec Center.

Fixin’ a hole: As part of its annual request for repairs, the board asked the City to patch a gap in some brush near the Children’s Pool lifeguard tower in December 2017. The gap leads to a steep drop down to the beach, and is blocked only by caution tape. LJP&B chair Ann Dynes explained that right now, the City said it “doesn’t have the resources” to make the repairs. “The City carpenter assigned to this was sick, now he’s busy. But it’s on their to-do list. Something is going to happen there,” she said.

Reservoir committee: Although the La Jolla View Reservoir project is a few years out, a comittee would likely meet this month to collect comments that should be addressed in any environmental documents. Trustee Patrick Ahern said the reservoir is in La Jolla Natural Heights Park, which has “the most beautiful view of The Village,” and will be demolished and replaced with one several times its size at a location slightly off from its present location.

According to the City’s webpage on the project, the existing 720,000-gallon above-ground La Jolla View Reservoir, put into service in 1949, will be demolished and replaced with a 3.1-million gallon underground reservoir that will be located at a higher elevation within the park and will blend in with the surroundings. The project will also restore the site to its original topography and install 3,000 feet of 30-inch pipeline to connect the new reservoir to the City’s water distribution system.

Ahern said the City would release a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) indicating there are no impacts that haven’t been addressed in the plan. “We said they need an Environmental Impact Report … so an environmental consultant is coming on board. They’re going to issue a Notice of Preparation for the EIR, and we’ll have 30 days to respond about what we want to see happen. This will probably occur in mid-April. This is the chance to give your input on what you see as an issue — emergency response, pedestrian safety, access to public parks, biological preservation — as any comments would be appreciated,” Ahern said.

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