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Stanchions committee offers parking plan for Playa del Norte in La Jolla

Bonair Street in The Village and the end of Playa del Norte in Windansea, while two very different streets, were both the focus of the first La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) meeting of 2019 on Jan. 3 at the Rec Center.

First, the Playa del Norte ad hoc committee submitted a suggested parking alternative to the current, controversial stanchions that outline a no-parking zone in Windansea; then, a group of Bonair residents spoke out en masse for speed humps to be installed on their street.

Following a couple of months of City efforts to find a solution to a divisive parking arrangement at the end of Playa del Norte where it meets Neptune Place, LJCPA’s ad hoc committee presented a formal recommendation for a parking alternative, which garnered LJCPA support 15-0-1 and will be submitted to the City for consideration.

Their proposed parking configuration includes the installation of three, one-hour parking spaces facing away from the ocean that can be accessed only from Neptune Place. The stanchions parallel to Neptune Place would be moved, but the rest of the existing stanchions would remain. Parking would be limited to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., with an overnight parking prohibition.

The new arrangement is the third concept of what could be implemented at this location, which has historically been used by surfers looking to view the waves at Windansea.

The first was a set of stanchions that were installed to outline a striped no-parking zone, at the request of residents irked by people parking over the striping, and allegedly engaging in drug use and disruptive behavior.

The second was to remove the stanchions and implement a pilot program to have two, 15-minute parking spaces so beach-goers could pull-up, view the surf and/or unload equipment. However, the latter posed a potential “attractive nuisance” associated with drivers proceeding the wrong way on a one-way street to make a U-turn to access the spaces. At the conclusion of the pilot program, the stanchions were reinstated by a decree from the Mayor’s office.

The ad-hoc committee formed in late 2018 (consisting of LJCPA trustees Glen Rasmussen, Patrick Ahern and Phil Merten) to draft an alternative that allows for parking but discourages wrong-way driving.

 
LJCPA trustee Glen Rasmussen presents proposed plans for a parking alternative at the end of Playa del Norte where it meets Neptune Place in Windansea Ashley Mackin-Solomon

“We have come up with what we think is a very good design that addresses the City’s main issue that there was an attractive nuisance created by these two parking spaces that caused people to drive the wrong way in violation of the one-way signage to access the parking spaces,” Rasmussen said.

However, in the days following the meeting, and as La Jolla Light was going to print, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s office sent an e-mail to Rasmussen indicating “there will be no additional City resources dedicated to this site,” and that “no changes will be made at Playa Del Norte.” The Light will continue to follow this issue as it develops.

Bonair speed humps

The next street-related topic, proposed speed humps on Bonair Street, was discussed in January because it was pulled from the December agenda for full review. The proposal to accept a parent petition asking for the installation of speed humps (which are more gradual than speed bumps) on Bonair Street between La Jolla Boulevard and Draper Avenue was approved unanimously by the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation board in November 2018.

“We believe we have a unique situation in that Bonair Street is very wide between La Jolla Boulevard and Draper Avenue, and near other streets that are very narrow. I don’t believe it is a collector street, but appears to be used as an artery for people going to and from the high school, to the beach or to bypass La Jolla Boulevard,” said resident Roland Stroebel.

Further, when there are activities at the nearby La Jolla Community Center, he added: “people start moving quickly looking for parking and that creates more activity.”

Other speakers chimed in and said the current conditions are “scary” for themselves and their children.

However, some trustees warned about “unintended consequences” of traffic calming measures such as speed humps. David Little pointed out that speed humps can “redistribute traffic because the cars don’t want to go on your street now, they go on your neighbors’ streets. You’d be giving the problem to someone else.”

Mike Costello suggested alternative traffic calming measures beside speed humps, arguing “they do not work,” and would cause more problems than they solve.

Hoping to meet in the middle, trustee Ahern suggested amending the request LJCPA would send to the City to consider speed humps “or other traffic calming measure” on that street. A motion to approve said request passed 11-4-1.

In other LJCPA news:

Scooter update: Chevelle Newell Tate, representing Senator Toni Atkins, spoke briefly about the new scooter law that went into effect on Jan. 1. AB 2989 indicates bicycle helmets are no longer required for riders of motorized scooters who are age 18 or older. It also amends existing law to prohibit a person from operating a motorized scooter on a highway with a speed limit greater than 25 miles per hour, unless it is within a Class IV bikeway as well as a Class II bikeway. However, it permits local authorities to allow the operation of motorized scooters on roads with speed limits up to 35 miles per hour outside of a Class II or Class IV bikeway.

“We got a lot of different perspectives on this. There are those that love the new law and those that hate it,” Tate said. “But basically, you don’t have to wear a helmet and can go faster.”

After some muttering and comments from the audience, she added: “Be careful as drivers and use extra caution around scooters.”

Atkins did not vote on the new bill.

Council member Bry’s field representative Mauricio Medina added the City is working on regulations and encouraged calling Bry’s office with concerns: (619) 236-6611.

Controversial car sign: The questionable sign over the McLaren car dealership on La Jolla Boulevard, as well as other murals around town, will be discussed at the next La Jolla Planned District Ordinance committee (PDO) meeting, 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 14 at the Rec Center, 615 Prospect St. The sign depicts a McLaren car over a McLaren dealership, leading some to question whether the marquee is art or advertising. Other murals that similarly depict objects sold in the buildings on which they are painted may also be discussed.

 
The installation above the O’Gara Coach/McLaren car dealership at 7440 La Jolla Blvd. Light File

Upcoming election: There will be 10 open seats up for grabs at the LJCPA election in March. To qualify to run, those interested must have attended three meetings between March 2018 and February 2019. Candidates must announce their intention to run at the February meeting. Those who have attended one meeting in the calendar year are eligible to vote in the election.

— La Jolla Community Planning Association next meets 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7 at the Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.

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