Torrey Pines Road Corridor work to start this month: $2.7 million La Jolla project to finish by summer

Construction is set to begin at the end of this month on Phase II of the Torrey Pines Road Corridor Project, and last approximately six months. The scope of work is just under a mile of the thoroughfare, between Prospect Place and La Jolla Shores Drive. The City projects traffic impacts will be minimal.

San Diego Public Information Officer Alec Phillipp said the project includes:

  • Installation of a new sidewalk on the south side of Torrey Pines Road between Hillside Drive and Amalfi Street;
  • Installation of a pedestrian crossing on Torrey Pines Road west of Princess Drive, with street lighting and crosswalk systems;
  • Asphalt concrete overlay with striping of buffered bike lanes along Torrey Pines Road, from La Jolla Shores Drive to Princess Drive, and Coast Walk to Prospect Place and;
  • Installation of a flush stamped and painted asphalt median between Roseland Drive and Hillside Drive.

The Torrey Pines Slope Restoration project, located on the south side of Torrey Pines Road between Roseland Drive and Little Street, is also combined with this project, he said.

In terms of traffic impacts, Phillipp said: “For the work along the south side (for eastbound traffic), both lanes in each direction are planned to be open to traffic at all times. For work on the median, the plan is to have one lane in each direction open during the day and all lanes open at night. For work on the north side (for westbound traffic), we are proposing to close only the bike lane for approximately 200 feet, west of Princess Street. Night work is not planned at this time.”

The project construction should start the last week of January and be complete by the summer.

The current project cost is $2,692,235 for the entirety of work. “A majority of this is funded through TransNet, and a small portion is funded through the Water Utility CIP fund,” Phillipp said.

The last update La Jollans got on the project was at the April 2017 La Jolla Community Planning Association meeting, when Steven Bliss from the City’s office of Traffic Engineering Operation spoke about the project.

Bliss explained in depth some of the new features, such as the HAWK [High intensity Activated crossWalK (sic)] beacon that will be installed on Torrey Pines Road, mid-block between Princess and Amalfi streets, via lights hung on a mast arm over the street. He said until a pedestrian activates the crosswalk, traffic flows uninterrupted and the lights are dark.

However, once activated, he said, “the beacon signal starts alternating flashing yellow lights to suggest a yellow light is approaching, and then it goes to solid yellow that should be interpreted just like a yellow light in traffic. Next, it turns red to stop cars completely, and pedestrians get the signal to cross. After a short amount of time, pedestrians get a countdown timer with how many seconds they have to cross. The last stage is flashing red lights that indicate traffic can proceed if clear.”

There is a HAWK beacon in Mission Valley across Mission Center Road between Camino de la Reina and Hazard Center Drive.

The decorative median down a portion of the middle, which would be flat rather than raised, reportedly comes at the request of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

“Having the raised median creates an issue with response times, especially when traffic on Torrey Pines Road is dense. We looked at as many alternatives (that an emergency vehicle could maneuver that regular vehicles could not) as we could, but the others just didn’t work,” Bliss said. Concerns are that a non-raised median would create “a fifth lane” of traffic.

To create continuity and a safer bicycling path, he said a buffered bike lane would be installed on both sides of the street. An update has the bike lane in two segments. To accommodate the bike lanes, the vehicular traffic lanes would be narrowed. The lane widths would be adjusted to a 10-foot left lane and 11-foot right lane, a two-foot bike lane buffer and a five-foot bike lane.

Bliss added: “The narrower lanes will make motorists feel a little pinched, so they will slow down a bit, and the HAWK beacon will provide a break in traffic. The buffered bike lane will suggest a bike corridor, and we think all these measures will slow traffic down.”

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