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Two down, three to go: Coast Walk Trail projects making headway

Friends of Coast Walk Trail re-vegetated this area of Coast Walk.
(Courtesy of Friends of Coast Walk Trail)

At the La Jolla Parks & Beaches advisory group’s online meeting April 27, Friends of Coast Walk Trail President Brenda Fake reported on progress her group has made so far this year and what is still to come for the trail.

Coast Walk Trail lies between Coast Walk (a short street west of Torrey Pines Road between Prospect Place and Amalfi Street) and Goldfish Point, including a walking path and bridge. For the past four years of “trials and tribulations,” FOCWT has worked to secure a right-of-entry permit to privately raise funds for and execute repairs to the trail.

“On Feb. 13, we got our right-of-entry permit renewed and we started work on the trail to clean up the park area north of Coast Walk using the funds we had been collecting,” Fake said. “Our permit is good for three years now.”

She said the group has focused on five key projects, two of which have already been funded and completed. Black Sage Environmental was approved by the city of San Diego as the contractor to carry out the work.

The first project, completed in March, was to clean up and remove invasive plants by the parking area in the 1500 block of Coast Walk.

The second project was to remove invasive plants and replace vegetation for cliff stabilization at another area of the trail, fronting 1593 Coast Walk.

Should funding be secured and the city approve the plans, additional repairs could begin as early as May.

The third project is to restore trail walkability in front of the Cave Store at Goldfish Point.

Project 4 is to replant vegetation from the parking area in the 1500 block of Coast Boulevard to the entrance of the Coast Walk Trail Bridge.

Project 5, which would likely not begin until 2021, is to repair and replace fencing at the Goldfish Point Overlook.

The goal is to have as many repairs as possible done ahead of the period from Memorial Day to Labor Day, during which construction is not permitted in La Jolla.

Those who would like to donate or have questions can reach Fake and FOCWT at friendsofcoastwalk.org.

In other Parks & Beaches news:

Scripps Park Pavilion on hold: Though the state deemed construction an essential business allowed to continue during the coronavirus pandemic, work has halted on the Scripps Park Pavilion in La Jolla.

The project will provide a replacement comfort station (restroom facility) in Ellen Browning Scripps Park adjacent to La Jolla Cove. The new facility will have more single-stall unisex toilets than were previously in place, along with men’s and women’s toilets.

The facility also will feature benches, outdoor showers, disabled-accessible toilets and indoor showers and storage for beach equipment.

The facility as a whole is two buildings with a breezeway between. One building will house the unisex stalls and the other will have indoor showers and single-sex restrooms and changing rooms, surrounded by exterior features.

It isn’t known when work will resume or how the delay will affect the completion date, but San Diego City Council member Barbara Bry said there would be a meeting Friday, May 15, to discuss “how to proceed in a safe way.”

Online meetings: Bry said online meetings may continue even after shelter-in-place orders caused by the coronavirus are lifted.

“Many people like the option of being able to attend a meeting virtually and are hoping after we go back to allowing in-person meetings that they will also have the option of participating virtually,” she said.

Princess Street access: Pam Heatherington, project leader for the Environmental Center of San Diego, reported that her firm has completed the first phase of a master plan to reinstate the Princess Street coastal access trail.

“We are just waiting for the [California] Coastal Conservancy to give us the OK to publish the plan,” she said. “Once it’s published, I will bring it to [this board] and all of the other entities that need to take a look at it. Right now, it’s in the hands of the [California] Coastal Commission and they have not had any comments. We’re really excited about it.”

At only six pages, the master plan will provide a “visualization” of the trail. Access to the trail has been blocked by a locked gate since the 1970s, when a house was built there. After decades of litigation, easement documents were filed in 2016 with the city of San Diego and the Coastal Commission noting there is a public access lane adjacent to the property that will be part of the property record going forward.

Benches replaced: In late 2019, La Jolla Parks & Beaches identified 12 coastline benches in need of repair or replacement and submitted the list to the city for execution. Trustee Janet Collins, who is spearheading the bench repair project, reported that a third of it had already been done.

“The city is starting with ones with the most need,” she said. “But I am just really so pleased the city jumped on this. It looks so good to not see all the deterioration and crumbling concrete with the rebar showing through. It seems like we just submitted the list and four are already replaced.”

Next meeting: To accommodate the Memorial Day holiday, La Jolla Parks & Beaches will hold its next meeting at 4 p.m. Monday, June 1. The plan is to hold the meeting via Zoom or at least to make online participation an option. Learn more at lajollaparksbeaches.org. ◆