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Bridge Stopgap: La Jolla Traffic Board recommends City study for proposed overpass

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More than 60 people packed the Recreation Center to debate a bridge spanning La Jolla Parkway at the Feb. 19 La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board meeting.
(COREY LEVITAN)

At its Feb. 19 meeting, the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board (T&T) unanimously voted to ask the City to conduct a comprehensive study of all possible solutions to the traffic congestion at the intersection of Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla Parkway and Hidden Valley Road (aka The Throat) and adjoining areas.

The resolution came about because of resident and real estate agent Lance Peto’s third attempt to get T&T to reconsider a bridge spanning La Jolla Scenic Drive North and La Jolla Scenic Drive South over La Jolla Parkway. (The overpass appeared in the La Jolla Community Plan in 1972, but was subsequently removed.)

More than 60 people packed the La Jolla Rec Center to air their feelings. They consisted of many of the same residents of both La Jolla Scenic Drives who objected, at two previous meetings, to their driveways suddenly abutting bridge on-ramps.

This time, however, many more La Jolla residents — about a third of all speakers — favored the bridge.

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“I know it’s a big project,” said La Jolla resident Ihor Lys. “We’re probably talking tens of millions, but if we really want to be able to get somewhere and not spend 20 minutes at the light, we really need solutions.”

Though it can be assumed that “all possible solutions” includes the possbility of a bridge, T&T’s resolution did not specify it. Also, Peto backed down from his previous insistence upon one. When trustee Patrick Ryan asked how Peto felt about a smaller bridge joining La Jolla Scenic Drive North to La Jolla Parkway East without touching down near Via Capri, Peto said he would “totally support that.”

“It’s not so much the bridge,” Peto replied, “the congestion (at The Throat) is really the issue.”

Upon that point, every attendee seemed to agree.

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“There’s a crying need for this study,” said resident Thomas Rushfeldt, “not just to address the needs we have today, but when we add 2,000 units to UCSD and other problems we’ll have 10-to-15 years out.”

“Sometimes I see it back up three miles, and this problem is escalating,” agreed Tom Grunow, a Via Capri resident. “This committee is the perfect place to look at it. The City didn’t do a great job on The Throat before.”

Before voting, Abrams read recommendations favoring just such a study from both the La Jolla Shores Association and La Jolla Village Merchants Association.

Also at T&T …

La Jolla Blvd. pedestrian safety forums: A half hour will be reserved for public comment about La Jolla Boulevard pedestrian safety at each of the next two T&T board meetings. The Wednesday, March 18 forum will address Coast Boulevard to Palomar Avenue; the Wednesday, April 15 forum Palomar Avenue to Tourmaline Street. Among the recommendations subcommittee chair Ira Parker said he seeks input on are adding a “yield to pedestrians / right turn” sign to Pearl Street, adding a “pedestrian crossing ahead” sign to Marine Street in both directions, and repainting the crosswalks on Palomar Street.

Herschel’s angle: A request from the office of architect Tony Crisafi for angled parking on Herschel Avenue between Kline Street and Torrey Pines Road, which would create seven new spaces, was unanimously green-lighted.

Student parking: During public comment, resident Bill Allen requested T&T place on a future agenda a proposal for meters or resident-only parking on La Jolla Scenic Drive North and North Torrey Pines Road. “It’s all students parking there!” he said. (In response, a woman commented that it isn’t UC San Diego’s students but its employees, who are not issued parking passes. Lys then commented: “Be careful what you wish for. That will mean many more tickets written and we’re the ones who will be paying them.”)

Coast Walk repairs: During public comment, Friends of Coast Walk Trail founder Brenda Fake said her organization is trying to raise $18,000 for repair work on the trail, including the placement of decomposed granite, shoring up some of the slope and removing some ice plant. “We won’t be touching the bridge, but the rest of it is mine for the taking,” she said, “and it’s yours if you want to give me some money.” To donate, visit friendsofcoastwalk.org

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— La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board next meets 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 18 at the Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.


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