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La Jolla’s traffic board grappling with speeding on Mt. Soledad Road

T&T chair Dave Abrams listens to Soledad Mountain residents’ traffic concerns.
T&T chair Dave Abrams listens to Soledad Mountain residents’ traffic concerns.
(Ashley Mackin)

When La Jolla’s Traffic & Transportation (T&T) advisory board had its monthly meeting May 18 at La Jolla Rec Center, trustees believed discussion on a city-recommended speed limit increase on Soledad Mountain Road was over after the city rescinded its proposal. But unbeknownst to the board, further discussion on traffic calming in that area was just beginning.

In January, the city recommended the speed limit on Soledad Mountain Road between Pacifica Drive and Soledad Road be increased from 35 to 40 miles-per-hour. T&T chair Dave Abrams announced at the May meeting that the city had withdrawn its suggestion after re-evaluating the data from the speed survey that prompted the recommendation. Speed surveys are conducted once every few years to determine what speed the majority of drivers deem safe in a given area, and the city recommends the adjusting the speed limit if need be.

According to an e-mail from a city associate engineer, “pertinent information” in the city’s speed survey for the Soledad Mountain Road section was reviewed again and it was determined that “The segment … between Pacifica Drive and Soledad Road can be incorporated into the segment to the north. Therefore, the new segment limits are now Pacifica Drive to La Jolla Scenic Drive South with the enforceable speed limit of 35 mph in both directions of travel.”

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The city’s retraction also came after residents took to community advisory group meetings to speak out against the speed increase, and circulated a petition stating their position. Since February, residents have been sharing horror stories of near-misses and dangerous conditions caused by drivers already going too fast.

Although the city said the increase would no longer be necessary, resident Roger Wiggans presented the petition results to T&T for future reference. “We got so much enthusiasm from the neighborhood that we got 175 signatures, so I still want to turn this petition in officially, so this board has it should the item come up again — and because those 175 people would kill me if I don’t hand them in,” he said.

However, other residents, still concerned with speedy drivers, spoke in favor of additional traffic calming measures on Soledad Mountain Road. Suggestions brought forth included consideration of stop signs, blinking borders around speed limit signs, additional speed limit signs, landscaping the medians and more.

After a debate over what actions would best appease the most residents, Abrams tabled the item to a future meeting.

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In other T&T news:

— Block loses parking limits: At the request of WindanSea resident Kevin Croteau, the board voted to recommend the west side of La Jolla Boulevard between Kolmar and Rosemont streets lose its two-hour parking designation.

Presenting a petition to show the support of those on the affected block, Croteau said, “Parking is so limited in that area … and those spots are empty during the day because none of the residents can park for just two hours. I had to park a block and a half from my house when I came home the other day because parking is so impacted. There’s no reason for the two-hour parking.”

The block is largely residential, with one commercial unit. The owner of the commercial property is retiring, Croteau said, and signed the petition to make the spaces fronting his building untimed. Should the building be sold and the new tenants wish to have limited-time parking, Abrams said, they could petition the T&T board to change it back.

As such, a motion to recommend the city remove the two-hour limitation passed unanimously.

— Green light for two events: The eighth annual SummerFest Under the Stars concert (Aug. 3) and 15th annual Taste at the Cove fundraiser (Aug. 25) each got approval for the requested “No Parking” signs affiliated with the events.

The La Jolla Music Society’s free SummerFest Under the Stars concert at Scripps Park, requires the loss of 12 parking spaces along Coast Boulevard for loading and unloading equipment from 8 a.m. Aug. 2 until midnight Aug. 3. The 12 spaces in question are the ones nearest the restroom facility, with the exception of the ADA-access parking spaces, which would not be affected.

“We expect 1,200 people based on previous years … so we invite the community to come and bring a picnic, watch the sun set, and enjoy the concert,” said Travis Wininger, LJMS director of operations.

Similarly, a fundraiser for San Diego Sports Medicine Foundation, Taste at the Cove, will also be at Scripps Park. Organizers requested temporary “No Parking” signs be placed on Coast Boulevard along the park to accommodate loading and unloading of equipment, and staging for the event.

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The only change from years prior, said event representative Kira Finkenberg, involves expanding the work times to avoid late-night noise. “Rather than load the entire event in and out in one day (which previously went late into the night, causing disturbances for nearby residents), we load in the day before the event and load out the morning after,” she said.

Traffic &Transportation meets 4 p.m. third Wednesdays at La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St. lajollacpa.org or manana@san.rr.com


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