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La Jolla Planners hear update on trail bridge, bike lanes, sidewalk install

The hazardous portion of the Coast Walk Trail bridge. The shrubbery (pictured above the bridge) will be removed to accommodate the new trail, and the eroded footing is can be seen under the sign pictured.
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La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) was brought up to speed on three projects during its Feb. 1 meeting — an update to the Coast Walk Trail bridge bypass project, the proposed installation of new sidewalk in La Jolla Shores and a presentation of updated renderings of the Coastal Rail Trail.

The most imminent was Coast Walk Trail Bridge Project, which could be finished by April.

Coast Walk Trail Bridge

The work involves re-routing the trail around a slope-failure area that was deemed unsafe for pedestrian access when a segment of footing that supports the bridge at one of its access points was wiped out last year, and constructing stairs up the slope to the new trail alignment, beginning at the north end of the existing bridge.

None of the present structures (including handrails and trail staircases) would be removed or impacted. The bridge is part of the third-mile-long Coast Walk Trail, with ingress/egress points on Coast Walk at Torrey Pines Road and Coast Boulevard near The Cove.

A City memo about the project, released in November, states: “The Department of Park & Recreation will construct trail surface improvements, such as clearing vegetation and construction of trail surfaces. It is anticipated that the work will take one to two work days” and that “Facilities Divisions’ Operations and Maintenance crew would construct the landing and staircase for the trail improvements over four working days.”

Project officer James Arnhart told the LJCPA that the engineering group behind the trail is tentatively scheduled to make a presentation before a hearing officer for approval on Feb. 21, and as long as the decision is not appealed, they will proceed to construction soon after.

Friends of Coast Walk Trail president Brenda Fake thanked the City representatives: “You did a thoughtful, thorough job here and took into consideration the historic value, the lines of sight and the vegetation. You took the time to walk down and see the problems.”

An admitted “quick fix” project, there are no plans beyond the trail re-routing to deter erosion or prevent further damage.

“There may be a future CIP project, but for now, all we’re trying to do is realign the trail to allow for existing use and protect public health and safety,” Arnhart said.

A motion in support of the project passed unanimously.

Shores Sidewalks

A project to install sidewalks along La Jolla Shores Drive where there are none is in the design phase, with construction to start in spring 2019.

The project consists of adding more than 1,000 feet of sidewalk (along with curb ramps and driveways), on La Jolla Shores Drive between Calle Corta and Calle De La Garza. The estimated cost is $662,000. The project is partially funded, and a contractor has not been selected.

A panel of photos showing where the City intends to install sidewalk in La Jolla Shores Courtesy

Although the applicant said he spoke to the residents affected, LJCPA trustee Janie Emerson said she is one of those, but she was never notified about the project. “I know of at least eight other residents who are impacted that you have not discussed this with,” she said.

The project would add five-foot wide, ADA-compliant sidewalks; concrete driveways; curb ramps; bus stop improvements; and a one-foot wide non-erodible permeable strip.

For more information, visit and search for Project No. B16101.

Coastal Rail Trail

The board was updated on the layout and appearance of the La Jolla portion of the Coastal Rail Trail project, which has undergone significant redesign since it was last presented to the community.

The project is the Gilman Drive segment of the regional 44-mile Coastal Rail Trail bicycle corridor, a SANDAG project, which would install protected bike lanes along Gilman Drive between La Jolla Village Drive and Interstate 5.

According to the LJCPA project description: “Since the last presentation, the design has been revised based on the board’s advice and comments. Initially, the project proposed installation of a two-way cycle track on the east side of the road with a southbound lane reduction on Gilman Drive to allow for minimal widening and impacts. Based on the board’s feedback, the design has been changed to include one-way cycle tracks on both sides of Gilman Drive without lane reductions.”

Larry Thornburgh with Nasland Engineering pointed out: “We are basically converting the Class 2 (delineated with paint) bike lanes into the Class 4 with raised protections and adding a sidewalk on the west side. There is not currently a sidewalk in either direction in this location.”

Applicants are working on the environmental documents and the goal is to complete those and the construction documents by early 2019.

— La Jolla Community Planning Association next meets 6 p.m. Thursday, March 1 at the Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.