La Jolla Farms residents see red following traffic committee’s curb decision

Melinda Merryweather (front left) makes her case for removing the red curbs along the east side of La Jolla Farms Road while surrounded by some opponents at the Sept. 18 meeting at the Rec Center.

In the latest salvo of a 30-year battle, the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation (T&T) board voted on Sept. 18 to accept a City finding to eliminate red curbs along the east side of La Jolla Farms Road near Blackgold Road — enough to create 11 new parking spaces close to the Black’s Beach Trail entrance. (Currently, both east and west sides are red-curbed.)

Committee members were not only interrupted during deliberation by members of the audience during the tense meeting, but some of the interrupters interrupted each other.

“That’s not acceptable!” shouted area resident Brian Keating while the committee read aloud its motion.

“You’re totally out of order here!” T&T chair Dave Abrams replied.

About a dozen La Jolla Farms residents showed up to emotionally voice their support for keeping the disputed red curbs, which the City has no record of ever having approved. Keating argued that adding the 11 spaces would only take the average occupancy rate down from 4 percent to 3.8 percent.

“Studies show that there is zero time throughout the year when you cannot find parking,” he claimed.

Safety concerns were also expressed. Because the neighborhood has no sidewalks, resident Ervin Wheeler pointed out, when cars park next to the curb, pedestrians and bicyclists are forced to circumnavigate them into traffic.

“Women with kids and strollers, four-year-olds bolting across the street,” he said. “If you take (the red curbs) away, you increase risk of pedestrian and bike accidents.”

However, trustee Brian Earley spoke for most of the board (the vote was 5-2) when he commented: “I’m not sure how both curbs got red — no eyewitnesses exist — but I’m more concerned with what’s fair to all La Jollans.”

Community activist Melinda Merryweather, who got the item on the agenda, sat calmly in a sea of angry opponents as her victory was announced — joined on her side of the argument only by a lone Surfrider employee, policy manager Laura Walsh, who sat in the very last row.

“Black’s Beach is not their beach,” Merryweather told the Light after the debate. “That road up there is not their road. It belongs to all of us.”

Following the vote, Keating accused the committee of “withholding information from the community” and threatened legal action.

The matter will be forwarded to the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA), which will take it up at its Oct. 3 meeting.

Brakes on scooter moratorium

T&T voted 5-2 not to support District 1 City Council member Barbara Bry’s call for a moratorium on scooters in San Diego. Although the LJCPA voted on Sept. 5 to support Bry’s proposed moratorium, T&T thought a complete ban too restrictive.

“Regulation will calm it down and sort out the market,” said trustee Patrick Ryan, adding that T&T should “consider the people who come and visit us and what they want.”

Echoed trustee Natalie Aguirre: “ I think it’s wrong and we need to welcome tourists into the community. I would only ask Council member Bry why we were the only community that didn’t get geo-fenced, so we could have speed limits imposed, like in downtown San Diego and Mission Beach.”

Also at T&T

New safety committee: The committee voted unanimously to form an ad hoc subcommittee to study pedestrian safety issues on La Jolla Boulevard, an action item raised by resident Ira Parker, who was not in attendance. Trustee Tom Brady volunteered to join the committee.

Yielding to stop: The committee voted unanimously, following the findings of the Barber Tract Board, to replace two yield signs on Olivetas and Monte Vista avenues with two stop signs at their intersections with Marine Street, and to add an additional stop sign to each intersection to make them both four-way.

Scripps Park warning: Former Recreation Advisory Group member Bill Robbins used public-comment time to issue a polite warning to T&T about any event they approve at The Cove. During one recent special event, he said, there was no public parking all the way up the hill because five different entities issued parking permits. “It was like refereeing at a day care center down there,” Robbins said. “We all have to be vigilant and have to share that park.”

— La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board next meets 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16 at the Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.