Back to Work! Community leaders begin tackling unfinished projects

The start of September means students are back in school, tourists have returned to their hometowns, and San Diegans are at their jobs after summer vacation. For politicians, governing institutions and advisory boards, it's also time to resume community projects left standing. The Light compiled an update on the works-in-progress La Jollans can expect some action on in the coming months. Residents added a few more of their own, see Views on page A26.

DecoBike Stations

The city confirmed that an updated plan for the installation of DecoBike bike-sharing stations throughout La Jolla will make an appearance at one or more local advisory boards later this fall. After a thumbs-down from all local community groups in 2014, the city came back this summer insisting that the project was necessary for the accomplishment of citywide gas emission reduction plans.

The city orginally hoped to install 17 stations with 12-16 bikes at each in La Jolla. However, the city's communication department said that draft is being revised for accessibility or Coastal Commission conflicts.

Sea Lions at The Cove

After Doyle Hanan turned in his report on the sea lion crisis at La Jolla Cove in June, the challenge for local advisory boards is to keep the momentum going and generate follow-up action. The Community Task Force on Sea Lions, a group created at La Jolla Town Council's "Crisis in The Cove" hearings comprised of representives from several La Jolla associations, is pushing the city to authorize a local entity to implement the legal provisions identified under the Marine Mammal Protection Act; section 109(h), to deter sea lions from the areas used by humans.

La Jolla Parks & Beaches (LJP&B) advisory board voted at their Aug. 22 meeting to send a letter to the Mayor, prompting him to appoint "seal lion busters" so that action can be taken.

Whale View Point Sidewalk

LJP&B member Ann Dynes said a final recommendation for a six-feet-plus-the-curb sidewalk along Coast Boulevard was submitted to the city. "We have been led to believe, by the Transportation Department, that the design is being actively worked on," she said by e-mail.

The project will replace the existing decomposed grnite pathway with a concrete sidewalk to make it easier for baby strollers and senior citizens to access Whale View Point along Coast Boulevard. Construction is slated to start once the city crew is done working on another sidewalk. Dynes hopes the Whale View Point Sidewalk is available to the public before the end of 2016.

On a related note, new sand-colored lids were installed on the area's trash cans this summer, replacing the old blue lids.

Fay Avenue Bike & Pedestrian Path

Missing the curb cuts, "the biggest item everyone wants," as LJP&B trustee Sally Miller put it, the Fay Avenue Extension project is almost complete. The Fay Avenue Bike & Pedestrian Path is an extension to Fay Avenue used by cyclists and pedestrians to go from Nautilus Street to Bird Rock away from big streets and traffic.

Among the improvements implemented are new bike/pedestrian warning signs and pavement markings alerting drivers of the presence of cyclists and pedestrians, and new bike lane symbols informing cyclists of their most advisable routes.

The curb cuts — which will allow cyclists and pedestrians easier passage through the intersections that undercut the Fay Avenue Extension on Via del Norte, La Cañada and Via de la Costa — were included in the list of improvements the city agreed upon, however, there is still no word on when construction will start.

La Jolla Shores Map

From 2008 to 2015, a map of the underwater topography ornamented the area near the comfort station at Kellogg Park to the enjoyment of passers-by who could walk on it. After the recycled glass it was made from cracked, the city replaced the colorful map with decomposed granite.

President of Friends of La Jolla Shores (FOLJS) Mary Coakley Munk said at the June 8 meeting of La Jolla Shores Association that she and her husband Walter Munk were willing to contribute $275,000 for the installation of a new map, this time made out of Litho-Mosaic, a more durable material. T.B. Penick, the company that installed the first La Jolla Shores Map, agreed to pay $50,000 for the construction of a new map.

Munk reported that FOLJS is still in negotiations with the city "to try to find an acceptable solution that meets the requirements of our agreement with T.B. Penick."

Sandwich Board Advertising

No significant advances have been reported in the effort to regulate the unsightly plethora of sandwich boards dotting the right-of-ways of Village streets since La Jolla Community Planning Association approved a motion at its July 7 meeting to strike a line from the community plan that read, "In La Jolla, A-frame signs are not permitted." The idea behind the move, spearheaded by La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA) President Claude-Anthony Marengo, is to bring the city's Public Right of Way (PROW) policies to the Village that would regulate the presence of sandwich boards and could be enforced by the San Diego Code Enforcement.

New Businesses Survey

LJVMA board is also working on a business survey that contains information on what businesses would be successful in La Jolla. The results are expected at the next merchants association meeting and will be published in the Sept. 22 La Jolla Light.

Broken Beach Stairs

When the public beach access stairs at 100 Coast Blvd. were destroyed by a winter storm, LJP&B took it upon themselves to remedy the situation. After funding was identified and the city agreed to carry out the construction as a "repair" instead of a new project, an update given by trustee Nancy Linck at the Aug. 22 meeting revealed that the city had identified a constructor, who estimated the cost of the project at $250,000.

Linck added that a project timeline was pending from the construction company, which had to choose between redoing the current stairs attached to the retaining wall – or what's left of them – or constructing a new set of stairs elsewhere in the area.

The last city update, Linck explained, came with an advisory from lifeguard authorities, who argued that the stair construction involved a safety factor, "There would be an increase in the time it would take to rescue someone there without the stairs." Linck concluded that the repair is moving forward "at the city's pace."

Cove Pavilion Restrooms

The project to replace the restroom facility at La Jolla Cove, represented by LJP&B members Judy Halter and Patrick Ahern, is pending one more review of the drawing plans proposed by city-selected architect, Mosher Drew.

A preliminary review of the drawings revealed that the concept renderings approved earlier by the La Jolla community had been taken into consideration. "They are going to build it as close to the design that the community funded as the permits allow," Halter said. However, Ahern pointed out that a secondary review is underway to agree on an "aesthetic element."

The city plans to break ground on the restrooms in late 2017 with a "grand opening" in 2019.

The Village MAD

Over the summer, Enhance La Jolla received signatures from property owners (representing nearly 38 percent of the total amount to be assessed) on petitions requesting that the City of San Diego move forward with balloting for a Maintenance Assessment District (MAD) in the Village of La Jolla. This is 26 percent more than what is required by the city.

Application has also been made with the State of California to grant Enhance La Jolla 501(c) (3) status. The city requires groups managing a MAD to have 501(c) (6) status. Enhance La Jolla has applied for the higher non-profit level, which is a requirement of the La Jolla Community Foundation bylaws for Enhance La Jolla to be a grant recipient and thus provide for tax-deductible contributions.

It is a goal of Enhance La Jolla to raise private funds for capital improvement projects to supplement the fees received from property owners in the district for maintenance.

La Jolla High School Science Building

Organizers behind the project to construct a state-of-the-art biological science building at La Jolla High School hope to begin the detailed design and permitting processes in early 2017. While the fund-raising efforts continue, the La Jolla Community Foundation said it has exceeded raising 50 percent of the necessary monies. The building is poised to include world-class lab facilities and demonstration and lecture areas. To donate or learn more, visit ljhs-biosciencecenter.com

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