La Jolla Community Foundation (LJCF) and Enhance La Jolla board members hosted a public forum presenting the new La Jolla Village Streetscape Plan, March 5, 2020 at La Jolla Recreation Center.
The plan intends to remake the upper part of “The Dip” (Prospect Street between Girard and Herschel avenues) into a pedestrian plaza including new street trees, lighting, sidewalk improvements, benches and crosswalks. The lower part of Prospect would switch from one- to two-way traffic, with lost parking replaced by diagonal parking on Girard between Prospect and Coast Boulevard.
About 40 members of the public entered the Rec Center expecting a standard community meeting. Instead, there was no formal presentation — only renderings on six easels manned by those who helped design them, including architects Jim Alcorn, Mark Steele and Jennifer Luce and landscape architects Todd Fry and Jennifer Phelps.
Tracy Ly, marketing director for the soon-to-open Cormorant Hotel, entered wondering how to walk down from The Dip — situated directly across from her hotel — to Scripps Park. So she approached Alcorn and asked.
“I would think there would be a paved walkway,” Ly said.
Alcorn replied that bisecting The Dip would require stairs connecting its higher and lower levels, “but the City doesn’t want stairs in the public right away, so we have to go across and come down instead — just the way we do now.”
La Jolla Parks & Beaches trustee Patrick Ahern said the Streetscape Plan reminded him of the transformative Piazza della Famiglia in Little Italy. “It’s going to make us pedestrian again,” he said, “and it’s going to attract more people to La Jolla for reasons beyond the seals.”
Joan Huffman, a La Jolla resident since 1963, agreed. “I manage a lot of property up and down Prospect and Girard,” she said. “I had the owners of the land here to look at this and we’re all for it.”
La Jolla resident John Shannon just had one problem — one of the tree types on the renderings.
“I hate Jacarandas,” he said. “They’re my wife’s and my mother’s favorite tree, but they drop pods, blossoms and sap.”
Phelps replied that the trees in the renderings are only placeholders, “not necessarily the trees that are for sure going to be chosen.”
The Dip renovation has been percolating since 1990, when Alcorn chaired a committee of the Town Council — of which Steele was president at the time — dedicated to building what was then called The Belvedere. (Belvederes are man-made look-outs.)
“The Town Council approved it back then,” Alcorn said, “but the City’s never had any money for it.”
In 2004, the project was included in the La Jolla Community Plan and, in 2012, the La Jolla Merchants Association funded the $5,000 cost of a civil-engineering survey that allowed Alcorn to construct a scale model.
The next step is helping LJCF raise $50 million to bring its Streetscape Plan to life.
“Things like this take time,” Alcorn said.
• Want to know more about the Village Streetscape Plan? Visit enhancelajolla.org or e-mail email@example.com
• Read more about the Village Streetscape project in the La Jolla Light story, “La Jolla Community Foundation unveils Village Streetscape Plan,” at lajollalight.com/news/story/2020-01-22/la-jolla-community-foundation-unveils-village-streetscape-plan