City adds more signs to curb stuck trucks on Hillside in La Jolla

A series of new signs surround Hillside Drive at Torrey Pines Road.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

New, additional and even flashing signage is being installed near Hillside Drive to deter the proliferation of “stuck trucks” on Torrey Pines Road. The last week of August, the City put up at least seven new signs discouraging trucks from turning onto the steep street.

Meetings were held between La Jolla Community Planning Association’s ad-hoc committee on Hillside Drive chair Diane Kane and City Council member Barbara Bry’s staff in mid-August to address the issue, in which large trucks become stuck at the curb incline when they attempt to turn onto the steep Hillside Drive and other adjoining streets, blocking at least one lane of eastbound traffic on Torrey Pines Road and preventing residents from accessing neighborhood streets.

At least eight stuck truck reports have come into La Jolla Light since spring.

In a statement to neighbors and the Light, Bry said: “In response to the inquiries from residents and multiple situations where trucks turning onto Hillside Drive from Torrey Pines Road became stuck at the intersection, my office continues to work with City staff to get the issue resolved.”

As a result, two measures have been implemented and more are planned.

Already, the City has added bright white stenciling to the westbound left turn lane along Torrey Pines Road reading “No Trucks” to prohibit left turns onto Hillside Drive, and added the new signs.

Bry said the following measures are also forthcoming: 1) Add two flashing signs along Torrey Pines Road, to be installed by Aug. 30, that prohibit turning from Torrey Pines Road onto Hillside; 2) Divert truck traffic from making turns from Torrey Pines onto Hillside via GPS navigation apps Google and Waze; and 3) Work on enforcement efforts in the form of citations for any truck that violates the posted signage and gets stuck.

While appreciative of the City’s efforts, Kane said she continues to advocate for “taking Hillside Drive out of the left-turn equation and directing trucks to Prospect Street,” and sees the City remedies as “more of the same.”

She explained while on the phone with the Light Monday morning: “There is a stuck truck there right now — this time, the truck driver tried to back up into traffic when he got stuck, almost causing an accident. It’s more of the same, installing signs is the standard City response. With anything, you start with the cheapest and simplest solution and see how it goes. But I think we have tried them all.”

Should the trucks continue to get stuck with the increased signage, Kane said she’d like to see other measures taken. For instance, the committee has also asked for additional “no truck” signs on other problematic intersections along Hillside Drive; and that the upper areas of the street be paved in the coming years (there is no funding in the 2019-2020 City budget); and finally, the creation of an emergency evacuation plan.