Radio silence on La Jolla Parkway Sound Wall: Community Planners hear residents’ frustrations over lack of response from City

Fed up with the lack of response on the hoped-for sound wall along La Jolla Parkway, a handful of residents attended the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) meeting Oct. 5 seeking an update.

Residents have requested the existing wall be extended to block more of the noise generated by cars traveling in and out of The Village and The Shores, and that associated studies be conducted, but they have not received any answers.

As a last-ditch effort, residents Rayan Hourani and Mark Pretorius will make a presentation at the next LJCPA meeting, hopeful that a board vote of support will spur City action.

Pretorius said he would like LJCPA to: 1) request the City perform an updated “engineering and traffic survey” and “noise contour survey” for La Jolla Parkway along the Ardath Road frontage; 2) request the City conduct a feasibility study to extend the noise and safety barrier, and budget and plan accordingly; 3) request the City better enforce the speed limit and fix the potholes on La Jolla Parkway (between Torrey Pines Road and I-5/CA-52) and prioritize the extension of this noise and safety barrier, based on their analysis of traffic, safety, risk and liability; 4) request the City explore and determine La Jolla Parkway’s eligibility for federal funding.

In 2015, the proposal gained support at La Jolla Shores Association (which asked the City to add the sound wall to its list of capital improvement projects) and La Jolla Town Council, but at La Jolla’s Traffic & Transportation advisory group, too many questions were raised for the board to vote.

In May 2017, residents asked that the plans for the sound wall be readdressed. At the May LJCPA meeting, trustees voted to invite the appropriate City officials to a future meeting for a presentation and then a vote. The City did not respond.

In July, still with no response from the City, LJCPA voted to authorize writing a letter to the City requesting a presentation on the sound wall and related issues. Trustee Bob Steck drafted the letter, but reports he has not yet received a reply.

Steck argued that sound wall supporters were “barking up the wrong tree” by pleading with LJCPA and that the “tree” they needed to talk to is the City.

However, it may be for naught, as District 1 City Council member Barbara Bry’s field representative Mauricio Medina said City staff does not have the resources to study the project.

“This is not considered an active project so it’s difficult to assign someone to it. In working with different departments … we are trying to answer some of the questions brought forward, but right now, the City does not have the capacity to have someone (tasked with) this,” he said.

Arguing there should be someone assigned to study the feasibility of the sound wall extension, trustee Glen Rasmussen said conditions have changed so much since the sound wall was constructed and La Jolla Parkway has so much noise-generating use.

Trustee Dave Gordon added he sympathizes with those who live there because the noise is “horrendous at times” due to traffic volume.

LJCPA and La Jolla Shores Association trustee Dolores Donovan said when she last heard the proposal, the presentation was “very good” and had plentiful “technical information,” and she asked the applicants to return to LJCPA and have the board vote.

In other LJCPA news:

Steck president until March: Second vice-president Steck was elected president for the term ending in March 2018. LJCPA has been without an acting president since June when previous president Cindy Greatrex had to abdicate her seat for missing three meetings.

In the interim, first vice-president Helen Boyden and Steck have shared presidential duties. However, the board voted to elect Steck formally.

With the promotion of Steck to president, trustee Brian Will was elected second vice-president.

San Diego Triathlon gets green light: The board also heard, and voted to support, the San Diego Triathlon Challenge. The event is scheduled for Oct. 22 in Scripps Park, and brings challenged and able-bodied athletes to compete in a one-mile swim, 44-mile bike ride and 10-mile run.

Proceeds benefit the Challenged Athletes Foundation, which provides support to people with physical challenges, so they can pursue physical fitness and competitive athletics.

A “Shift” in thinking: LJCPA trustees and meeting attendees heard an informational presentation on the Shift San Diego platform, which launched in July and can be found at shiftsandiego.com

Spokesperson Derek Danziger explained that Shift San Diego is intended to keep the community informed on all of the construction activity planned over the next five years in the UTC area, and ways to commute accordingly.

“There is an estimated 50 construction projects happening simultaneously in this area. UC San Diego alone has 16, along with public and private developments and the Mid-Coast corridor project extension,” he said.

Acknowledging that there would be significant traffic impacts as a result of these projects, he said an all-inclusive traffic solution needed to be found.

Enter Shift San Diego.

Another spokesperson Genevieve Fong added: “Instead of having to track down this information through four different websites, Shift is an aggregator of all that information so you have a central hub of information.” Resources include text alerts, tweets on upcoming projects, a construction map, alternative commuting options and more. Learn more: shiftsandiego.com

La Jolla Community Planning Association next meets 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2 at La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St. lajollacpa.org

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