At its final 2018 meeting, held Nov. 8 at the La Jolla Masonic Lodge, the Bird Rock Community Council (BRCC) asked board members and the public to suggest big-picture ideas it can take on to improve life in Bird Rock.BRCC president John Newsam cited Bird Rock’s five roundabouts, which help calm the speeds of an estimated 22,000 vehicles per day, as the neighborhood’s most successful example.
“There’s still some debate,” Newsam said, “but they certainly changed the character of the neighborhood for the better.”
The group responded, although with smaller-picture suggestions. For instance, resident Dan Scanlan wondered why no roundabout was ever installed by his residence.
“You raised an issue of what would people like to see,” Scanlan said. “That’s on my list anyway. If you need me to start a petition, I will.”
Newsam replied that the decision about which intersections received a roundabout predated his involvement with the community group. (The City Council approved the roundabouts in 2003, following extensive community involvement in design workshops and public meetings. Construction began in 2004 and they were formally dedicated by former District 1 Council member Scott Peters on July 17, 2008.)
BRCC treasurer Barbara Dunbar brought up the problem of uneven paving “stacked up” around the roundabouts’ perimeters.
“What that does is creates a big safety hazard because now cars are going straight through over the apron,” she said.
Mauricio Medina, representing City Council member Barbara Bry’s office, replied that he recently received an email from City staff promising to inspect the circles shortly.
“These (roundabouts) were the first ones and they have since remodified the designs for traffic circles,” Medina said, adding that the City will determine “whether that aligns with proper paving techniques issued with contracts for slurry seals.”
Finally, board member John Shannon requested more seating at Calumet and Hermosa parks. Newsam suggested that Shannon recommend it as a capital-improvement project to La Jolla Parks & Beaches, Inc. — which is currently collecting input into the City Master Plan for Parks — during its next meeting: 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3 at the Rec Center.
Driving Bird Rock MAD
As required by its managment contract with the City, Dunbar delivered the annual report on the Bird Rock Maintenance Assessment District (MAD).Dunbar reported an increase in vandalism over the year and damage caused by traffic accidents — including an especially bad one on the night of Sept. 7-8 at the Southeast corner of Midway Street and La Jolla Boulevard, where a hit-and-run driver drove through the roundabout and caused extensive damage to the guard rail and irrigation system.
“The damage has been reduced by having perimeters around these roundabouts, but we still have problems with accidents and drive-overs,” Dunbar said. “We’re asking the City to see if there are other ways to slow traffic down. It is a really big concern.”
Dunbar announced the proposed Bird Rock MAD budget for fiscal year 2020 as $229,226 — about the same as the current budget. Due to an anticipated increase in the cost of utilities, services and the consumer price index, the total projected expenses may increase marginally, she said.
The proposed assessment rate for next year remains at $95 per Equivalent Benefit Unit (EBU), Dunbar announced, which is well below the estimated allowable assessment rate of $181.44. A single-family property will be assessed $95 per year, a condo $66.50, and an average commercial property $475.
Also at BRCC…
• The Bird Rock holiday party will be held 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4 — in lieu of the next BRCC meeting — at Wayfarer Bread & Pastry, 5525 La Jolla Blvd.
• Elections for BRCC board members and officers continue through Friday, Nov. 16. Election results will be announced at the holiday party.
• The Jan. 26 Bird Rock Tour of Homes has room for one additional home to show.
Bird Rock Community Council next meets 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5 at Bird Rock Elementary School, 371 La Jolla Hermosa Ave. birdrockcc.org
Rounding the roundabouts
Following these four steps should take you safely through Bird Rock’s five roundabout traffic circles:
1) Slow down on the approach to the roundabout.2) Yield first to other motorists inside the roundabout and pedestrians in the crosswalk.3) Look left and wait for a gap in traffic before entering.4) Keep right and don’t stop inside the roundabout, then signal before exiting.