Traffic board votes to restore La Jolla Blvd. parking spaces

During its Nov. 19 meeting at the Rec Center, the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board (T&T) unanimously voted to recommend converting the red zone on the west side of La Jolla Boulevard, north of Marine Street, back to three parking spaces.

At T&T’s July and August meetings, resident Carole Sabin raised the safety issue of traffic speeding around that corner. The board asked the City to evaluate the situation and its solution was to remove the spaces.

According to Gloria Green, owner of Verdes El Ranchero restaurant at 7404 La Jolla Blvd., removing the spaces made a bad problem even worse. At least before, Green said, the parked vehicles made drivers “a little hesitant” about speeding. “Now,” she said, “it’s wide open. Why would you do this without input from us? Because it really affects us!”

As per Green’s wishes, T&T recommended three two-hour spots. (Most recently, there were two two-hour spaces and one 15-minute space — a space intended to expedite business at a liquor store that’s no longer there.)

Green also suggested a disabled spot but was advised by T&T chair Dave Abrams not to “cloud the issue” with that request.

Two other green lights

T&T also voted unanimously to recommend installing speed bumps on Bonair Street between La Jolla Boulevard and Draper Avenue.

Resident Roland Stroebel produced a petition with 20 signatures from the 25 impacted neighbors supporting the bumps, claiming that people use Bonair Street as a main artery when ascending Mt. Soledad via Nautilus Street.

“One of the reasons it’s so enticing is that it’s the widest street and there’s no traffic light,” Stroebel said. “But we’ve got families with children living there.”

Finally, T&T voted unanimously to recommend placing right-turn-only signs on Exchange Place where it intersects Torrey Pines Road.

“We cannot turn right until they turn left,” explained resident Byrne Eger, who produced signatures from 75 percent of her neighbors, as required by the City, for the change.

City rejections

Also at the meeting, Abrams read reports from the City to T&T recommendations that it decided against.

Eger’s request for left-turn signals at north- and southbound Fay Avenue and Pearl Street, for instance, was rejected because a City traffic study didn’t show a sufficient problem.

“We thought it would be a wise thing but the City reviewed it and thought it wasn’t,” Abrams said, explaining that the City’s engineers were hesitant to add a cycle on Fay that would extend the length of the stop on Pearl.

“That kind of takes the wind out of the sails,” Abrams said. “We’ll watch it. Maybe things will change and we’ll take a look again.

Also rejected was resident Gail Forbes’ request to eliminate parking spaces on Prospect Street east of Torrey Pines Road, so that tour buses and construction trucks can turn right when cars are parked there.

“The fact that they narrowed their vision is pretty typical,” Forbes said of the City engineers who studied the problem. “Restriping is the solution. They didn’t exercise their geometry.” (Abrams promised to suggest restriping to the City.)

Finally, the City nixed a request, initiated by resident Janie Emerson, for signs on Princess Street at Torrey Pines Road warning motorists who turn right that they’re about to encounter a newly installed lighted crosswalk half a block west of Princess.

Abrams said that a City engineer determined that “drivers must come to a complete stop before making the right turn” and “there are adequate signs in both directions.”

— The La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board next meets 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 19 at the La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.