La Jolla Traffic moving quickly again, passes 6 motions

The La Jolla Traffic & Transportation (T&T) board passed six motions during its Wednesday, Jan. 16 meeting at the Rec Center, and one was clearly a crowd favorite.

Resident Diane Wall’s request to add yellow blinking lights to all four pedestrian crossings at Fay Avenue and Genter Street — an intersection heavily traversed by children walking to and from school -- filled more than half of the 40 occupied seats.

“You see people texting in their cars all the time,” Wall told T&T. “And we don’t have enforcement. It’s every person for themselves.” Echoed another resident: “There’s not one day we’re there that we don’t see people rolling through that stop sign.”

T&T passed the motion 7-0-1, and threw in requests for the City to restripe the crossings, to add back previously removed left-turn lanes on north- and southbound Fay Avenue, and to review the potential for adding school-zone status.

Wall’s supporters — who included nine children ages two to about 12 — erupted in applause after the vote and then left en masse before the next agenda item was heard. However, the battle to fulfill this request will be steeply uphill, as T&T chair Dave Abrams attempted to explain.

“Here’s the problem,” Abrams said. “We had approved a recommendation on Girard before. (The City) came back and said that because it was a four-way stop, they felt that was sufficient protection for pedestrians, and it’s their general policy not to do that.”

Remove four parking spaces

Resident Frances Zimmerman’s request — for the City to remove two curbside parking spaces each from in front of the BevMo and Ortho Mattress stores — passed 7-1 but was strongly opposed by board member Tom Brady.

The spaces are on north- and southbound Fay Avenue where it intersects Pearl Street.

“At busy times of the day, no one can turn right either north or south on Pearl,” Zimmerman explained, “because cars are backed up waiting to proceed straight and the parked cars on the right obstruct the path of cars wanting to turn right.”

At issue was consent from BevMo and Ortho Mattress. Zimmerman claimed she approached the manager of each store and didn’t encounter opposition. (No one from either business attended the meeting.)

Abrams accepted this effort, Brady did not.

“What you would do by giving up those parking space is make a string of spaces equivalent to five cars,” Brady said. “I don’t think that should be done without written approval.”

“I don’t agree with you,” Abrams replied, noting that both stores have their own dedicated parking lots, and that curbside spaces are City right-of-way.

“I just think we’re setting a bad precedent for future applicants in recommending changes to the City by not following the process we have in the past,” Brady said.

Trolley talk

T&T green-lit a proposal by Dan Allen, chairman of its transit subcommittee, to formerly request that the Metropolitan Transit System, Mayor Kevin Faulconer and District 1 Council member Barbara Bry prepare plans and find resources to provide either a shuttle or feeder transit service to link central La Jolla with the Mid-Coast Trolley.

The plans — according to the proposal — should connect both the northern and southern parts of the La Jolla Community Plan area with the optimal stops, and can include re-purposing the No. 30 bus.

Parking hours increased

T&T recommended adopting the Aveline HOA’s request to increase the parking limit on portions of Silver Street and Draper Avenue from two to three hours.

Resident Dr. Allan Churukian said two-hour parking did not suffice because guests get ticketed “and pretty regularly.” Churukian said he received signatures from 16 of 18 residences.

“While I can appreciate why you want this, this is a slippery slope because once this is approved, the floodgates are opened and everyone will request it,” said board member Natalie Aguirre. “I think there’s just too many different times in La Jolla and I think it’s a bad idea to ask for this.”

Nevertheless, Aguirre voted along with her fellow board members 8-0 in favor of the motion.

“Let’s see what happens,” Aguirre said.

Also at T&T…

  • Hump day: T&T green-lit resident Mike McCormack’s motion to place two speed humps on Paseo Del Ocaso between Calle Clara and Vallecitos, a move supported by 214 petition signatories. McCormack explained that traffic has become “very aggressive” on Paseo Del Ocaso, which is being used as a cut-through by cars traveling in excess of 35 mph.
  • Just to be clear: T&T also unanimously recommended that the City establish clear zones (painting “keep clear” on the pavement) where Nautilus Street intersects both Avenida Manana and Avenida de la Reina. Frequent community-meeting participant Sally Miller introduced the issue, explaining the intersections’ proximity to Muirlands Middle School. “It’s common sense that you need to keep intersections clear but nobody does,” Miller said.
  • Crosstalk: Community activist Melinda Merriweather approached the committee during public comment to propose adding a crosswalk to the foot of Playa del Norte for pedestrians to safely navigate Neptune Place.

— La Jolla Traffic and Transportation next meets 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20 at the La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.

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