Shores group votes to oppose La Jolla Parkway overpass

Joe LaCava states in no uncertain terms his opposition to the bridge at the La Jolla Shores Association meeting, Jan. 8.

At its Jan. 8 meeting, the La Jolla Shores Association (LJSA) voted 10-1-1 to register its opposition to a bridge over La Jolla Parkway with the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board (T&T).

The overpass — which would connect La Jolla Scenic Drive North and La Jolla Scenic Drive South — appeared in the La Jolla Community Plan in 1972, but was removed from the plan after landing pads for the bridge were installed. Now it is being reconsidered by T&T.

The bridge will be debated at T&T’s Feb. 19 meeting, which is expected to result in a recommendation to the City. It was originally slated for T&T’s Jan. 15 meeting, but chair Dave Abrams told the Light that crucial public records requested from the City have yet to be delivered.

Presenting the issue before a packed Martin Johnson House at Scripps Institution of Oceanography was Joe LaCava, candidate for City Council District 1, who stood in for the absent Joseph Dicks.

“Every traffic engineer knows that when you try and solve congestion, you do not take cars off the main roads and dump them on the side streets,” LaCava said. “If you’re thinking about a bridge, you have to have a bridge to somewhere.”

LaCava explained that the original vision was not just a bridge, but a bridge connecting to a new road.

“You will never get a road built on the east side of Mt. Soledad,” LaCava said. “The environmental impact, the cost, and the community opposition would be too great.

“And if you don’t pursue the original vision,” LaCava continued, “the other option is to build a bridge and funnel cars up Via Capri. This is a winding street and a steep street, and it’s the last place you want to be funneling cars.”

LaCava also said he wanted to kill the suggestion, made by a member of T&T’s board on Dec. 18, to recommend that the City conduct a traffic study of the proposed project.

“In my experience, City Hall is a zero sum game,” he said. “If we ask them to spend money on this, they’re not going to spend money on something else.”

About 20 of the same 30 residents of La Jolla Scenic Drive North (and the immediately surrounding streets) who attended the Dec. 18 T&T meeting also attended this one. Eight spoke, communicating the same grievances: How fast and recklessly traffic already moves and how hard it is to see and predict when backing out of their driveways.

“It is not just an overpass,” said Misti Coleman. “You can’t keep those roads the same if you want to have a huge overpass that people will circumvent the freeway for. We have driveways all along Scenic Drive North. You will need major stop signs. And you haven’t improved traffic flow. You’re making traffic go slower.”

One woman distributed photographs of cars that crashed into 8601 La Jolla Scenic Drive North in 2015 and 2018. And, in a repeat of their behavior at T&T, all residents exited the meeting after their agenda item concluded, leaving the room a third as full.

The only vote against the motion came from trustee Phil Wise, who didn’t like its wording. He said he didn’t want to close the door on a bridge over La Jolla Parkway for a streetcar, an idea he proposed at the meeting that would pick up commuters from Mt. Soledad and transport them through Bird Rock to the Balboa Avenue Trolley Station.

Chair Janie Emerson said she had to abstain from voting, per the group’s by-laws, “but you know how I feel about this.”

Undergrounding update

Wise reported that SDG&E has begun its promised undergrounding work behind Avenida De La Playa, with 60 workers on site at all times. Trustee Mary Coakley Munk wondered if an electric box that will be installed as part of the project (in front of Scoops La Jolla, 2179 Avenida De La Playa) could possibly serve some other function, such as a table. Emerson added that she was told her street would be undergrounded a year after she bought it, but it’s only getting done 22 years later.

We’ll be underground before the wires are,” a member of the audience joked.

Also at LJSA ...

Airbnb ban: Steve Hadley reported that his boss, District 1 City Council member Barbara Bry, never received a response to a Nov. 22 letter she wrote Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, demanding that 9660 Blackgold Road be banned from Airbnb’s platform. (On May 31, 2019, police were called to the home after gunshots were fired, according to Bry’s letter, and on Nov. 9, police were called to the home after an 18-year-old woman was brutally attacked by five others, two with handguns.)

2020 goals: The meeting closed with a brainstorming session on goals for 2020, which included greening the Shores, rebranding the Shores as a destination, and increasing participation in the Shores Association.

— La Jolla Shores Association next meets 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12 at the Martin Johnson House at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 8840 Biological Grade.