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Our Readers Write: Pearl and Nautilus streets, fireworks, beach weddings, more

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Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor:

Time to polish up Pearl Street

It was very encouraging to read the article in the La Jolla Light regarding the proposed Pearl Street design concepts, complete with roundabouts, additional parking, more trees and landscaping, and most of all, slower and safer traffic (“La Jolla traffic board OKs Cuvier Street vacation for Rec Center project, hears Pearl Street design concept,” May 27).

As Trace Wilson stated in that article, Pearl Street “is not very attractive and is … dangerous” in its current form.

La Jolla Community Planning Association President Diane Kane added: “I think the traffic circles would really help with the flow of traffic. I like the beautification; Pearl is really kind of a scuzzy-looking street.” So very true.

The time has come to copy what Bird Rock did on La Jolla Boulevard.

As stated in a Light article last year, not that long ago La Jolla Boulevard was a four-lane “racetrack” through the Bird Rock business district. The cars were going very fast (average of 40-45 mph), in two lanes in each direction. This made the business district very dangerous and “unwalkable,” as pedestrians did not feel safe or comfortable walking the sidewalks to do their shopping.

As we have seen, the leaders of Bird Rock did something about this and reduced the lanes of traffic in the district to one lane in each direction. This produced two great outcomes: Numerous additional diagonal parking spots were created in the space that used to be the second lane of traffic on each side, and the additional parking spots created a “buffer” between the moving cars and the pedestrians walking the sidewalks and shopping, making it much safer for them.

For anyone who currently drives on Pearl Street between Girard Avenue and La Jolla Boulevard, you already know that the lanes are so narrow that whenever cars are parked along the side, you realistically only have one lane of traffic in each direction anyway. This causes a very dangerous situation for both the people getting out of their cars along Pearl Street and the people in the cars trying to pass them.

The roundabouts will slow traffic but also keep it moving, as well as add parking spots (using the space of the previous second lane) that will be safe to enter and exit (as they are in Bird Rock now). It will also make the people walking on the sidewalks feel much safer, as it has done in Bird Rock.

As stated in the excellent article in the Nov. 14, 2019, edition of the Light (“Roundabouts got you going in circles? Here’s a guide to navigating the loops in La Jolla and Bird Rock”), national studies show installing roundabouts can reduce injury crashes by 80 percent and overall collisions by 50 percent.

Now that we have our MAD [Maintenance Assessment District] up and running, let’s take the next step and convert Pearl Street into the beautiful, safe and vibrant business district that it is meant to be.

Tony Schmidt

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Nautilus Street residents deserve safety as well as beauty

We live on the 1600 block of Nautilus Street, and as much as we’d like to see the section between Muirlands Drive and Fay Avenue beautified, vehicle and pedestrian safety remain bigger issues for us (“Architect offers ideas to La Jolla board for beautification and roundabouts on ‘atrocious’ Nautilus Street,” June 24, La Jolla Light).

Speeding cars in the section between Muirlands Drive and La Jolla Scenic Drive are a chronic problem that no speed limit sign can address. We’ve had speeding cars crash into several of our trees, utility boxes on our property, our neighbor’s concrete wall and two fire hydrants. Four out of five cars we encounter are going at least 10 mph above the speed limit. Some are moving at highway speed. When we try to obey the traffic rules, we either get passed in the non-passing lane or have profanity and hand gestures thrown at us. We don’t cross the street when walking our dog anymore for fear of being run over by a speeding motorist.

Safety trumps beauty, and this section of Nautilus cannot be confused with a highway. The only way to slow traffic is for the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board to consider safety as a priority over beauty. The section in question should have a raised wide median with trees and turning lanes and other traffic-calming measures to ensure residents’ safety. The section is less than a mile long, and it will be a violation of public duty for the board not to consider citizen safety first.

Said Dawlabani
Elza Maalouf

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Alternative Fourth displays are preferable to fireworks

Fireworks on the Fourth ... it’s a tradition in so many places. However, the big booms cause so many or most house pets to be traumatized for hours. I can’t imagine that the La Jolla sea lions are unaffected by the display and noise.

Why is it so difficult for civic organizations to put the issue of fireworks on their future agendas? One fine alternative to fireworks are massive drone displays accompanied by music that can go out to smartphones and radios for a simulcast. Patriotic music and bright, choreographed drone displays should be just as good as costly fireworks blasts.

La Jolla’s location and resources make it a great place to convert to digital and LED drone displays that don’t scare pets, don’t leave pollution in the air or water and still give us and our families a reminder that we, as Americans, have much to be proud about. Having any La Jolla civic group go on record could finally move the needle.

It’s only me, but my wish is that California would go completely to LED Fourth of July light/drone displays and get out of the business of funding fireworks. Does anyone ever become a better person because they watched and heard a fireworks display? We’ve become programmed to think fireworks are a tradition that can’t be modified, but technology has given us a new gift as an alternative.

Gerald Johannsen

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Weddings are pushing out beach-goers

As a longtime resident of La Jolla, I’m writing to voice my frustration regarding weddings that seem to be occurring nearly every weekend at the bottom of the steps at Westbourne Street at Windansea. This is a favorite beach of locals (and more increasingly tourists) and has become tarnished with overcrowding.

These weddings are not typically for local residents and create a major nuisance to the beach-goers who are forced to vacate the popular and public area. The wedding planners are often rude when taking over the area, which forces the already overpopulated local beach access to become even more cramped.

As someone who has lived in La Jolla his whole life and pays very high property taxes, I take offense to this practice and I believe I echo the sentiments of many of my fellow residents. La Jolla has the Wedding Bowl at Cuvier Park for this purpose, and all weddings should be diverted there.

I reached out to the city of San Diego, and though they were very nice, they offered me no explanation or real course of action but simply said it is a public beach and the city is allowed to do this. Furthermore, I was told the permit to have a wedding there costs $177.16. This further shocked me, as I figured it must be a high source of revenue for the city to allow this. Lastly, I was told that the process to obtain a permit for weddings at Windansea is via a simple application that is rarely denied and that weddings could take place daily if they chose to do so.

The park rangers office also was nice and understood my frustration but basically said violations are hard for them to enforce, as they are understaffed. I was told permits are not exclusive to any spot on the beach and that anyone who claims otherwise is not accurate and has no authority to push people out. The problem, however, is that wedding planners often will claim otherwise, and unless citizens want to create open conflict, they just get their way. This seems like a terrible system that should be exposed and changed.

I’m hoping your readers will band together and reach out to elected officials to try to put a stop to this so we can go back to enjoying one of our most prized natural resources in peace. I’m all for love and weddings, but there is a time and a place, and peak summer hours at an already overcrowded Windansea is not the spot.

Jeff Saywitz

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Playhouse patrons will be accommodated for parking

Regarding the inquiry about parking at La Jolla Playhouse (“How to get to playhouse’s onsite performances?” Our Readers Write, June 10, La Jolla Light).

In an exciting new project, UC San Diego has broken ground on the Living and Learning Neighborhood across the street from the La Jolla Playhouse complex. This new Theatre District development will enrich the visitor experience for theater patrons with retail, dining, parking and a significant amount of open space and outdoor gathering areas. Until it is completed in fall 2023, playhouse parking will be relocated to the Osler parking garage at the corner of Gilman Drive and Scholars Drive.

La Jolla Playhouse is working closely with the university to ensure that patrons are accommodated during this time with free shuttles running frequently to and from playhouse performances, as well as newly paved sidewalks along the short walk from the Osler garage to the theater.

The playhouse is also reaching out directly to ticketed patrons and subscribers with specific parking information for all events this summer and during the subscription season.

For more information, please visit lajollaplayhouse.org/plan-your-visit.

Debby Buchholz
Managing director, La Jolla Playhouse

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Substitute brooms for blowers

My husband and I have been celebrating our anniversary in La Jolla every year since our honeymoon almost 30 years ago. This is the first year that our enjoyment has been marred by the sound of multiple leaf blowers around The Village.

Please bring back brooms to clean the streets!

June Simms
Las Vegas

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What’s on YOUR mind?

Letters published in the La Jolla Light express views from readers about community matters. Submissions of related photos also are welcome. Letters reflect the writers’ opinions and not necessarily those of the newspaper staff or publisher. Letters are subject to editing for brevity, clarity and accuracy. To share your thoughts in this public forum, email them with your first and last names and city or neighborhood of residence to robert.vardon@lajollalight.com. You also can submit a letter online at lajollalight.com/submit-a-letter-to-the-editor. Letters without the writer’s name cannot be published. Letters from the same person are limited to one in a 30-day period. ◆