A bridge too far out? La Jolla Traffic board to weigh in (again) on Parkway overpass

The bluffs at the edge of both these La Jolla streets remain graded for an overpass that was never built.
The bluffs at the edge of both these La Jolla streets remain graded for an overpass that was never built.

La Jolla will have another discussion about spanning La Jolla Parkway with an overpass that was approved long ago by the City. At the Oct. 16 La Jolla Traffic & Transportation (T&T) board meeting, La Jolla real-estate agent Lance Peto spoke in favor of connecting La Jolla Scenic drives North and South. (The portion of Via Capri that becomes an entrance ramp for La Jolla Parkway is called La Jolla Scenic Drive South.)

The item is slated to appear on T&T’s Dec. 18 meeting agenda.

“We’re trying to alleviate the problem down at the throat,” Peto said during the time allotted for non-agenda public comments. “For a couple of years, I lived across from Fire Station 9 and every day, that traffic is horrendous — with the traffic coming down Torrey Pines Road, going up Hidden Valley Court to Via Capri, and it just seems logical that we would want to alleviate that congestion.”

Bandied about since the 1950s, the proposed overpass would also allow more direct access to the I-5 and to UTC, since it would allow motorists to bypass Torrey Pines Road entirely. However, it has long been opposed by residents at both ends who don’t want their driveways intersecting a major thoroughfare.

Back in 2012, former District 1 City Council member Sherri Lightner noted the residential opposition and also stated that building such a bridge was “not possible with today’s environmental concerns.” In addition, part of the Rose Canyon fault — the most active earthquake zone in San Diego — lies directly under La Jolla Parkway.

At the meeting, T&T chair Dave Abrams said that he e-mailed City of San Diego senior traffic engineer Gary Pence about the proposal, who replied that “to pick up on this in any fashion would necessitate a community-plan amendment,” since it had once been included in the La Jolla Community Plan but was subsequently removed.

Peto protested, stating: “It doesn’t involve a zoning or land-use change. It’s a street that was designed and approved by the City in 1972.” Peto brought along a copy of the plans to demonstrate his point — but noted that anyone with a sharp eye can see that the cliffs on either side of La Jolla Parkway were already graded by the City for never-built bridge abutments.

“Lance, it’s not a zoning issue,” Abrams stated firmly. “It’s a topic that comes up periodically, and if you like, we can look at it again. But I’m of the general opinion that it just isn’t an item that’s going to fly — for cost reasons, for environmental reasons and for political reasons.”

Waste of spaces?

Also speaking during public comment, T&T trustee Natalie Aguirre, speaking in her role as store manager of J. McLaughlin, asked T&T to consider recommending that the parking permit held by La Plaza La Jolla, 7863 Girard Ave., be revoked.

On May 1, 2014, the La Jolla Community Planning Association, acting on T&T’s recommendation, approved the conversion of four parking spaces in front of the shopping mall to white-curbed passenger loading and valet parking only. The zone was approved for 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, and it’s still signed that way. However, according to Aguirre, the property only valet-parks there on Fridays and Saturdays, and not until about 3 p.m. Therefore, anyone who parks in one of the spots when it isn’t being used for its approved purpose gets ticketed. (The Google Street View map for 7863 Girard Ave. actually shows a San Diego Police Parking Enforcement truck parked out front.)

“In my opinion, this is why Girard is the number one revenue-generating street in San Diego,” Aguirre said. “If the valet was there when it was supposed to be, that wouldn’t happen.”

Abrams agreed to add the item to an upcoming agenda, pending notification of the current property owner and/or manager.

Also at T&T
Classic car show gets green light: The board unanimously recommended temporary street closures and no-parking zones around Scripps Park for the 16th annual La Jolla Concours d’Elegance, April 18-19, 2020. Event chair Michael Dorvillier and Heath Fox, executive director of the La Jolla Historical Society (for which the event raises money) made the presentation together.

Half-marathon can run smoothly: The board unanimously recommended temporary street closures and no-parking zones for the 39th annual Kiwanis-sponsored La Jolla Half-Marathon, based at Scripps Park April 26, 2020.

Stop sign on Arenas: The board unanimously voted to endorse the City’s recommendation to add a stop sign on westbound Arenas Street at Monte Vista Avenue.

— La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board next meets 4 p.m. Wed., Nov. 20 at the La Jolla Riford Library, 7555 Draper Ave.