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Our Readers Write: Parking meters, sea lions, roundabout study, stuck trucks, La Jolla Parkway

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Letters to the editor

Parking meters don’t deserve another look

Regarding the announced forum to “take another look at” installing parking meters in La Jolla (“September forum may take another look at community parking district and meters,” July 29, La Jolla Light):

Yes, there is a high cost of free street parking (per Donald Shoup’s book) just like there is a high cost of not charging one’s family a fee for washing the dishes, not charging one’s children rent for a room one could have let out to the highest bidder, and letting guests go home without presentment of a check for dinner. Here in The Village of La Jolla, there is still sufficient wisdom and wealth to know that not everything should be monetized and not every resource should be allocated to the highest bidder.

What would be lost with parking meters would be La Jolla’s charm as a calm, welcoming place by the sea. While it would be convenient for some to have high-priced parking meters to reduce visitors to only those with more money, that convenience would come with a price of destroying the community feeling of La Jolla that has lasted for so long.

I wish leaders would pursue something more productive and less painful than this old issue, which has already been resolved in public opinion and past surveys. Stare decisis — Stand by things decided.

John Berol

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We need to fight back against sea lion advocates

I wrote in these pages recently that creeping regulation of the beach by seal and sea lion advocates was endangering beach access (“Preserve traditions and beach access,” Letters to the Editor, June 24, La Jolla Light).

Lo and behold, we now know that the city of San Diego has decided to pursue a temporary emergency closure of Point La Jolla because sea lions are experiencing too much harassment (“City plans to temporarily close Point La Jolla as beach access advocates worry about its future,” Aug. 5, La Jolla Light).

First the Fourth of July fireworks were canceled because there was a concern the sea lions would be bothered by the noise. And now the sea lion advocates have persuaded Mayor [Todd] Gloria and Councilman [Joe] LaCava to issue this new edict. (Make no mistake: It is an edict.)

Gloria is not a local and can, in that respect, be somewhat forgiven for caving in to the far left of the party. But LaCava is from La Jolla and should know that this issue is politically poisonous. He has miscalculated, and I predict his support here will slip.

The only way to right this wrong is through litigation. The political process here is broken because both Gloria and LaCava are beholden to the left wing of their party. Only a court of law can dispassionately balance the interests here. If people don’t fight back, this area will turn into the next Children’s Pool, as it’s a slippery slope from a temporary closure to a permanent one.

Indeed, this gradual, incremental, step-by-step approach is precisely how the sea lion advocates operate. La Jollans need to fight back against out-of-town, out-of-touch advocates who value animals over people.

Bill Smith

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Magic of La Jolla’s sea lion habitat is worth preserving

La Jolla’s sea lion rookery, the only mainland rookery on the California coast, is home to about 150 animals that give birth to 50-plus pups each year. It’s a magical place and a privilege to be able to view these magnificent animals in their natural habitat.

Visitors are delighted and mesmerized by the comings and goings within the rookery. Adorable 2-month-old pups nurse from their mothers, walk around on their flippers and splash in shallow pools. Mothers keep vigil over their pups, directing their movements away from the rugged surf. Adults dive off rocks, swim about and surf the waves. Large bulls bark and stroll around like kings.

The beloved alpha bull, Emperor of the Rookery, aka Submarine (which he resembles when swimming), weighs in at 800 to 900 pounds. He patrols the rocks and bluffs, barking the alert to warn that high tide is coming and the sea lions must move to dry land. He nudges pups back from the water so they won’t fall in and drown. Visitors from near and far, locals and Sierra Club Seal Society docents love him. He is a valiant leader who works hard to preserve and protect the rookery. He’s also somewhat comical as he marches back and forth, barking away, steadfast in his mission.

The sea lions’ habitat is where they rest, mate, give birth and nurse their pups. For them to carry on these normal activities without interruption, visitors need to stay back; 50 feet is recommended by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, which is responsible for carrying out the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act. The MMPA states that “marine mammals should not be disturbed from their normal behavior or harassed.”

Sea lions cuddle together when they rest. They make noises — cries and growls. If people get too close, they raise their heads and will bite if provoked, especially bulls and mothers with pups. Bulls may also chase people off the rookery.

Mating season is now upon us and males will be fighting over the females. This ritual can be very vicious. Visitors can be trampled and badly hurt — another big reason to view from the sidewalk. The uneven terrain is slippery and rocky and people fall frequently.

Please enjoy watching the sea lions from the sidewalk for your own safety and for the well-being of the animals. This is one of the closest views of wild sea lions in the world and must be respected and preserved.

Carol Archibald

Docent, Sierra Club Seal Society

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Say no to roundabout study for La Jolla Shores intersection

Regarding the proposed roundabout study at La Jolla Shores Drive and Vallecitos (“Shores group asks for action on new crosswalk striping, pedestrian beacons, roundabout study at intersection,” July 22, La Jolla Light):

The 21 people who signed this letter are residents on Vallecitos (both Vallecitos Court and Vallecitos) and La Jolla Shores Drive. We are submitting this letter in opposition to any consideration of a city of San Diego study for a roundabout at the intersection of Vallecitos and La Jolla Shores Drive. We do not believe taxpayer funds are warranted for such an impractical and potentially problematic concept.

We are in favor of more practical measures at our intersection, such as restriped pedestrian crosswalks and, if reasonable, pedestrian flashing lights like other La Jolla-area intersections. Additionally, most of the residents in our survey will support a four-way stop, if necessary.

The collective preference is to minimize traffic flow interruption as much as possible. A roundabout would significantly impede traffic flow.

We are all aware of a recent accident at our intersection when a vehicle hit two children and their mother who were crossing the street to the beach from Vallecitos. Fortunately, they suffered only minor injuries.

While the roundabout concept was initiated by a neighbor with the best intentions to ensure pedestrian safety, the residents feel there are better alternatives.

We are not in support of the roundabout concept for the following reasons:

• A roundabout is conceptually inefficient in monitoring traffic congestion, and it does not ensure pedestrian safety. Many visitors and tourists are unfamiliar with roundabouts and cause many “near misses” with vehicles. Pedestrians try to cross in the roundabout.

• Vallecitos is one block from the stoplight at Avenida de la Playa; a roundabout would cause congestion all the way to Torrey Pines Road in one direction and to UC San Diego on La Jolla Shores Drive.

• Given the success of the user-friendly four-way stop on Calle del Oro and La Jolla Shores Drive, it seems responsible that this proven alternative be given priority consideration. The pedestrian crossing at Downwind Way near the aquarium is also a success.

• The standing proposal lacks customary public time for input. We believe it is a waste of taxpayer funds to even study such a proposal rather than either a four-way stop or pedestrian signal crossing.

It is universally agreed that beach-going pedestrian safety is of foremost importance. A roundabout does not solve the problem. In fact, it exacerbates the safety problem and creates new unintended problems of congestion. For these and other reasons, we ask that the proposal to study a roundabout be withdrawn. In the event it is not, we ask city officials to quash any such study of a roundabout and use taxpayer funds more wisely in seeking other mitigating measures as discussed above.

Philip and Gayle Tauber sent this letter on behalf of 19 other residents who also signed it.

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Length is the real culprit in stuck trucks

One of the signs restricting trucks over 5 tons on Hillside Drive in La Jolla.
(Suz Sheridan)

In reply to last week’s question [from a reader] (“Signs aren’t ending stuck trucks,” Aug. 5, Letters to the Editor, La Jolla Light):

Trucks are getting stuck [on Hillside Drive] because they are “legal.”

The signs, at least five on one side and five on the other, all say no trucks over 5 tons. The truck shown in the photo was under 5 tons.

The length is the problem. Know your truck — weight and height and length!

Change all the signs to length restrictions.

Homeowners, be proactive. Tell delivery trucks not to go there.

Now, what is a doable length? I’m sure that depends on axles, fulcrum and load.

But the problem is not the weight.

Suz Sheridan

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Psychology of the name La Jolla Parkway

On July 29, I was broadsided by an automobile that was traveling at much more than the posted 35 mph [speed limit]. He must have assumed that he was free to travel at more than that rate since he was on a so-called parkway! I was hurt and my car was almost totaled.

I believe the accident is partially to be blamed on the bad psychology of naming La Jolla Parkway a parkway — an open invitation to speed on an often-crowded and under-patrolled village road. As anyone who travels on that street knows, the road is now so full of bumper-to-bumper cars — much of the time at a complete standstill in both directions — that it can hardly be labeled a parkway.

Living on Mount Soledad for the past 47 years, we know it is one of just two or three ways to get on and off the mountain. Sadly, I do not remember any time when I would have labeled such a heavily traveled road a parkway. How about just “road”?

Edith Bookstein

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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. The deadline is 10 a.m. Monday for publication in that week’s paper. Letters without the writer’s name cannot be published. Letters from the same person are limited to one in a 30-day period. ◆