La Jolla Transportation board green-lights Stella Maris traffic easement; Blasts resident parking plan in The Shores

The La Jolla Traffic & Transportation (T&T) advisory board at its Aug. 16 meeting at the Rec Center, approved a temporary traffic solution for Stella Maris Academy that was recommended by the City of San Diego. Known as a “bulb-out,” it will extend Herschel Avenue’s curbs where they intersect with Kline Street, narrowing the crossing distance by 20 feet.

Speaking at the meeting, Stella Maris principal Patricia Lowell told board members the solution will reduce the speeding traffic endangering the lives of her students and other pedestrians using the crosswalk.

“We have four stop signs and that sounds like, ‘Wow, that would solve everything,’ ” Lowell said. “But that’s not the case. We have a lot of people who are driving through the stop signs. And when they turn right, sometimes they’re speeding, they’re not slowing down and they’re cutting the corner very sharply.”

Lowell, who said her parochial school approached the City with the problem in January, reported “some close calls” with students and parents crossing the street.

“We had one where a little child in kindergarten was swinging her lunch bag,” she said. “A car came by really quickly and actually touched the lunch bag.”

Although the vote was unanimous, the solution sparked debate. Board members at first suggested other solutions that weren’t on the table, including a traffic light and poles on either side of the intersection.

“The only thing I don’t like about a bulb-out is that they don’t look very nice,” said T&T chair David Abrams.

Then member Patrick Ryan reminded the board that the City had already recommended the bulb-out. “The question is, do we want this approved or do you want to do a few more design rounds?” Ryan said.

Abrams agreed, noting that the first day school (Aug. 28) was rapidly approaching, so approving this solution might save lives. “The good news about this is that it’s cheap, and if it doesn’t work, you can easily reverse the course,” he said.

The effectiveness of the temporary bulb-out will be assessed in a year.

In other T&T news

  • Shores permit parking: The board unanimously denounced a citizen-proposed parking restriction up for discussion but not a vote. Submitted by La Jolla resident David Ellman, it called for a special parking area at La Jolla Shores for La Jolla residents only. In an e-mail to T&T Chair Abrams, Ellman wrote that “residents should have some privileged parking at the Shores.” He added: “I do believe that there is community support for such a proposition.”

The board strongly disagreed.

“I view it as something that’s setting aside a community resource just for people who need it the least,” said board member Erik Gantzel. “We have the privilege of being able to live here and get around without needing the parking that visitors do.”

Member Tom Brady called the idea a “total nightmare,” citing database, enforcement and permitting issues, while Gantzel noted that Ellman “doesn’t even live in La Jolla Shores.”

Abrams explained: “What happened is (Ellman) went to Barbara Bry’s office (with the request) and they passed the buck over here.”

Ellman was absent from the meeting, which was postponed from July, as were board members Nancy Warwick and Daryl Tschirn. (Eight members were present, enough for a quorum.)

  • Event street closures: The board approved the temporary closure of parts of Girard Avenue, Wall Street and Silverado Street for the La Jolla Art & Wine Festival, Saturday, Oct. 7 and Sunday, Oct. 8.; Kline Street between Girard and Herschel avenues for the So Fine on Kline Festival, Sunday, Nov. 12; and closure of a portion of Avenida de la Playa for the La Jolla Shores Fall Fest, Sunday, Oct. 15.
  • Board election: David Abrams was re-elected T&T chair, Brian Earley, vice-chair and Donna Aprea, secretary.

— T&T’s next meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sept. 20 at La Jolla Rec Center. To receive an agenda by e-mail, contact Abrahms at manana@san.rr.com A hard copy is posted at the Rec Center, 72 hours in advance of the meeting.

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