La Jolla Traffic board votes on Playa del Norte

Just when you thought you were finished reading about Playa del Norte and Neptune Place, the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board (T&T) cast a unanimous vote affecting the contentious intersection at its Feb. 20 meeting.

It recommended adding two crosswalks to Windansea Beach — one along Playa del Norte, one along Neptune Place — and installing pedestrian barriers (chains) or signage on both sides of the foot of Playa del Norte, along with required Americans with Disabilities Act ramps at the crosswalks.

Beach-access proponent Melinda Merryweather — who previously advocated for the removal of stanchions placed at that intersection in 2017 to address complaints of noise, vandalism and drug use by illegal parkers — made the presentation.

Merryweather brought an aerial view demonstrating that a hedge, not a sidewalk, greets pedestrians who cross Playa del Norte toward 6770 Neptune Place. This forces them to immediately and dangerously jaywalk across Neptune Place to the beach.

“I call this the crosswalk to nowhere,” Merryweather said. “My mom lived there for 30 years and I used to watch this happen all the time.”

Merryweather added that children are too low to be seen by northbound motorists, who are coming around a curve and up a slight hill.

“It’s a pretty dangerous situation and it’s super dangerous for kids,” Merryweather said.

Two neighbors showed up to back up Merryweather’s claims.

In other T&T news

  • Backing branded bike racks: The board voted 7-1 to support La Jolla Parks & Beaches’ (LJP&B) effort to place branded bike racks throughout downtown, and to identify and provide LJP&B a liaison to walk the streets and help decide on locations.
    “It just seems inappropriate that I’m off doing this dance without the support and collaboration of your board,” said LJP&B president Ann Dynes during her presentation. “You guys are kind of in charge of keeping an eye on the streets and traffics here.”
    T&T board member Aaron Goulding cast the lone dissenting vote, stating: “I love your idea, but personally, I don’t think it has anything to do with this board.”
    Dynes also suggested, as a discussion item for consideration, a priority list for streets needing repair throughout the community.
    T&T chair Dave Abrams suggested forming n exploratory subcommittee, for which trustee Tom Brady volunteered. A discussion broke out about the merits of concrete versus asphalt for streets, until Abrams noted that concrete was too expensive.“We’re kind of lucky if we get them to get back into workable shape the streets that are already there,” he said.
  • Hump day: The board voted unanimously to recommend speed humps on Westbourne Street between La Jolla Boulevard and Draper Avenue, following a presentation by resident Stephanie Jernigan, who delivered a petition signed by the required 75 percent of impacted neighbors. Abrams told the board the presenter “already went through the City hoops and the City is asking T&T to endorse it.”
  • Festival closures: T&T also voted unanimously to recommend temporary street closures and no-parking zones for the Junior League of San Diego’s 19th San Diego Food and Wine Festival, Friday through Sunday May 10-12 in Scripps Park, and for the 62nd La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival, slated for Sunday, Dec. 8.

— The La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board next meets 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 20 at the La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.

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