Despite claims made to La Jolla Light last spring that the City would look into modifying its schedule and employing traffic engineers to improve the situation — and promises made earlier this month to the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board (T&T) to keep all lanes open — the City will resume the Torrey Pines Slope Stabilization Project after Labor Day with no major alterations.
Traffic caused by the construction — forecasted to take six months when it began in March — transformed the 2.4-mile trip from La Jolla Parkway to Girard Avenue (which Google says should take nine minutes) into an hour-long nightmare on almost a daily basis.
The construction will continue through “November or early December,” according to an e-mail the Light received from City spokesperson Alec Phillipp, “assuming no unforeseen delays take place.”
Reacting to this latest development, Everett Stunz owner Philip Coller called it “a disaster, an unmitigated disaster.”
Coller estimates a whopping 40 percent die-off in his business during the previous jam-ups. In addition, he said, many of his former customers vowed “never to return to La Jolla again, for any reason whatsoever.”
Coller appeared at the T&T’s July 18 meeting, asking the advisory board to request a conversion to night work once the project — which knocked off before Memorial Day weekend — resumed. In an e-mail response Aug. 2, T&T board members Brian Earley and Dave Abrams were informed by Genevieve Fong of Cook & Schmid (a marketing and community outreach company hired by the City): “The good news is that when the project resumes after the summer moratorium, there will be no impacts to any road lanes, as all work will take place behind the K-rail.”
Coller was once again informed of the “good news” when he appeared at the La Jolla Village Merchants Association meeting on Aug. 8, pleading his case for night work. “I knew it would not be possible,” Coller said. “There’s not enough room behind a K-rail.” He added: that “City people are not construction people.”
According to Phillip’s e-mail, the remaining Torrey Pines Road work consists of:
1) connecting a newly installed water line to the existing main, which will close the eastbound lane closest to the shoulder;
2) installing soil nails into the new retaining wall, which will also use the eastbound lane closest to the shoulder; and
3) performing stamped asphalt work on the median, which will require some closures of the middle lanes.
In the e-mail’s only glimmer of hope, repaving, striping and installing traffic loops was also on the schedule “but may potentially be done at night” for seven nights.
“They’re not listening,” Stunz said of the City. “They’re not listening to La Jolla.”