New sidewalk at Whale View Point could be in place by Memorial Day in La Jolla

As part of the $2.1 million Whale View Point Shoreline Enhancement Project (and the many piecemeal projects therein), a new sidewalk along Coast Boulevard could be constructed by the end of May. Although a start date has not been given, project organizer Ann Dynes said the City approved the final design, funding was identified, and an “environmental clearance” is pending. 

“This is really our biggest project,” she said. “We’ve postponed doing a certain amount of the (smaller) Whale View Point enhancements because they would involve tearing up a lot of the grass and other things for installations. It’s going to be interesting to see how the City replaces the sidewalk because there are some spots where the slope has to go toward the street, so any water comes out and feeds into the storm drain. This means they’re going to have to build the grassy bank up to the level of the sidewalk, and there are places where the grass is well below that ... I’m dying to see how they do that.” 

The sidewalk would be wide enough to be ADA-compliant, at about six-feet-wide, plus the curb, and will replace the “rutted gravel and asphalt paths that poorly serve foot traffic along this area of the coastline.”

The sidewalk would span the distance of Whale View Point, which starts to the south at 274 Coast Blvd. and ends at the cobblestone structure known as the “People’s Wall” to the north. 

In the meantime (to take advantage of year-end seasonal storms), Dynes contracted Black Sage Environmental to re-vegetate the southern tip and the Wedding Bowl (at the end of Cuvier Street), and create coastal access trails.

In mid-2016, native bushes were planted near the 200 block of Coast Boulevard and roped off so people would not walk on them. Since that time, the plantings have thrived. 

On the hillside adjacent the Wedding Bowl, which ends at an informal overlook, vegetation has also taken hold. “We trimmed the ice plant to create a natural path, put in some new plants and we put signage up that requests people not walk on the new plants to allow them to grow like the plants did on the other end,” Dynes said. “Once this is re-vegetated and there is a walking path, that overlook would be a great place for a bench.” 

The next re-vegetation project will be the removal of some invasive trees, including grinding down their stumps, to avoid the use of pesticides. The planting plan for that project is in development, and once complete, Dynes said she’ll apply for the appropriate permits. 

When the new sidewalk and re-vegetation are finished, Dynes said she would like to proceed with the installation of an “educational plaza” near 300 Coast Blvd., to be finished by the end of 2017. Since gray whales can be seen migrating from that spot, Dynes hopes to stencil the image of a gray whale onto the pavement and post a small sign that lets visitors know what to look for and the reason for the stencil. 

To garner support, Dynes walked the site on Dec. 22 with representatives from new District 1 City Councilmember Barbara Bry’s office to explain to them all the possible projects that could be completed. “There was great support and credibility from the staff of (former District 1 City Councilmember) Sherri Lightner, who knew we were doing something legitimately, that’s why we wanted to bring Barbara (Bry’s) staff over to familiarize themselves with the project and to continue that support,” Dynes said.

ON THE WEB: To learn more about the Whale View Point Project, visit whaleviewpoint.org

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