La Jolla traffic board discusses fixes to Fay Ave. Bike Path

When it comes to improving safety on the Fay Avenue Bike Path, there are a number of different avenues to explore, a committee charged with sprucing up the path has learned. At the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation advisory board (T&T) meeting Feb. 17, the different options — and their possible complications — were discussed.

After walking the path in January (which extends from Genter Street through La Jolla Hermosa), committee members La Jollan Stuart Gimber and La Jolla Parks & Beaches member Sally Miller came up with a list of safety concerns and possible fixes.

“The asphalt is in poor shape, there are cracks and potholes we might like to look at, but our committee decided to first look at the intersections (that serve as entrances/exits),” Gimber said. Access points include Nautilus Street next to Fire Station 13, and on Via Del Norte, Mira Monte, La Cananda and Camino de la Costa.

“At some of these intersections, there are homemade ramps that connect the bike path to the street. We’d like see those ramps removed and replaced with proper ramps … to make it safer. We also discussed painting the curbs red on either side of the entrances/exits to establish better visibility; and installing little raised bumps — not speed bumps — on the streets that feed into the Bike Path to ‘wake up’ drivers and alert them to pay attention,” he said.

Added Miller, “When we did the walk, there was a car parked across an entrance (because the red curb was faded), which blocked the view of bikers and the traffic on the street. Most places are very open, but when you put a car in front, it blocks visibility. The whole point of all this is to improve safety for bicyclists and motorists. We would also, ultimately, like to see better signage.” Miller said she requested information from the city as to whether there have been accidents in the area, but had not heard back in time for the meeting.

After their presentation, Gimber submitted the findings and requested the T&T board forward them to the appropriate city entity. However, board member Patrick Ryan cautioned that a city traffic engineer might assess the situation, see it through a different lens and propose a different solution.

“There are really simple, uniform traffic control regulations,” Ryan said. “I might look at a problem and come up with a solution, but a traffic engineer with knowledge of those regulations might see it differently and propose a different solution.” For example, an engineer would take speed limit and braking distance into consideration before determining an appropriate safety measure. Ryan added, “We can make a recommendation, but if that recommendation is not feasible within city code, the engineer will not be able to implement it and it won’t go anywhere.”

Ann Dynes, who was in attendance to share her experience in working with the city on her Whale View Point Enhancement Project, said, “You might be able to get a constructive dialogue going with the right parties at the city … if you can figure out who the right party is. It never hurts to find out what can of worms you might be opening up, or just get a conversation going.”

Should the committee determine it would rather submit its recommendations and ask the city to implement them as is, Ryan suggested they space out their requests rather than ask for all the fixes to be done at once. He noted they would be up against finding available city funding and getting the city to prioritize the project.

“The easiest thing to start with is red paint, so you could come to us with the suggestion (that we ask the city to paint the curb red on either side of the entrance/exit) as an action item to vote on, and we could poll the residents to see if they would give up parking spaces and paint that section red,” he said. Down the line, the committee could request the T&T board approve textured ramps, or improved signage, or textured street bumps as individual items.

Because the topic was docketed for discussion only, it was continued to a future meeting. The committee will return with a formal request at a future meeting.

In other T&T news:

• New member seated: Erik Gantzel, representing the Bird Rock Community Council, was seated to replace outgoing member Michelle Fulks, who resigned late last year. “I’ve lived in La Jolla my whole life and I’m happy to be serving in whatever way I can,” Gantzel said.

• Village parking limit surveys: T&T acting chair Tom Brady said the sub-committee tasked with reviewing the inconsistent parking times throughout the Village sent surveys to gather public input, using Fay Avenue between Silverado and Kline streets as a test group. The sub-committee sent out 94 surveys and received about 30 responses. “We are going to meet and go over the results,” he said, adding the sub-committee will report back at a future meeting.

The survey asks business owners on that block (which currently has a one-hour parking limit), if they would consider changing the time limit to 90 or 120 minutes and whether the change would be beneficial or detrimental to their businesses or if they are neutral on it. The committee will also determine whether the current sporadic changes in parking time limits — from 15 minutes to two hours throughout the Village — should remain as is, or something more uniform should be adopted.

— T&T meets 4 p.m. third Wednesdays at La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St. or