‘La Jolla segment of the California Coastal Trail’: Local planners approve ‘slow street’ suggestions

A map indicates possible "slow streets" suggested by La Jolla's community planning groups.

As the city of San Diego continues its effort to establish “slow streets,” La Jolla groups have come together to propose a long one along the coast extending from The Cove to Bird Rock. Some have taken to calling it the “La Jolla segment of the California Coastal Trail.”

The proposal was unanimously approved at the La Jolla Community Planning Association meeting June 4 and will be forwarded to the city for consideration.

The slow streets initiative involves closing select streets to through traffic to provide more safe walking space for pedestrians while maintaining physical distancing from others. It’s currently in effect on five streets around San Diego, according to the program’s website.

Local groups are weighing in on San Diego’s “slow streets” initiative, making recommendations from La Jolla Shores to Bird Rock.

“The idea is to create more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly streets that are slow by the fact that there are fewer cars there,” said Steve Hadley, representing the office of City Council member Barbara Bry, whose district includes La Jolla. “They are looking at streets where people live that would connect people to public facilities and open spaces.”

Rather than submit piecemeal suggestions, representatives of the Community Planning Association, the La Jolla Parks & Beaches advisory group, the Traffic & Transportation advisory group, La Jolla Village Merchants Association, La Jolla Shores Association, Bird Rock Community Council and Enhance La Jolla came together for an hour-long telemeeting to come up with one unified suggestion.

“We had widespread participation; every group provided street recommendations,” LJCPA President Diane Kane said. “We tried to link up the areas that were suggested as various segments. This is one long slow street that would allow people to park on the street but not allow for through traffic.”

Streets that would be used include Coast Boulevard in The Village, Neptune Place in Windansea and Camino de la Costa in La Jolla Hermosa. There are additional slow street suggestions in La Jolla Shores and near the La Jolla Country Club.

A map submitted to the city also recognizes a closure of Wall Street in The Village, but that is part of a separate initiative to close the street for outdoor dining.

A notice submitted to the city reads: “The concept is to provide enough room along La Jolla’s shoreline for exercise and social distancing, not only for La Jollans but the many shoreline visitors from other portions of San Diego and beyond. The streets in our proposal are currently stressed to the point where social distancing is difficult and travel dangerous. …

“The ‘trail’ is broken into segments for consideration by the city’s traffic engineers. In some areas, there are a few options for how much of the street is slowed, or where it is slowed to provide continuity in the trail. This proposal enables traffic professionals to evaluate individual segments with an eye to attaining the overall idea.”

The notice asks that the plan be implemented immediately, ahead of the summer influx of tourists.

“The community is excited about this concept and is willing to help the city implement all or parts of the proposal ASAP,” the notice states. “La Jolla would like to be ready for the summer crush.”

The letter and recommendations will be sent to Bry’s office and traffic engineers, who will review the proposal for feasibility.

Under the slow streets initiative — which would be in effect only while coronavirus-related restrictions continue — streets are open to cars only for people who live or have business there. Temporary signage diverts traffic and indicates the presence of pedestrians and bicyclists.

As of now, a slow street must be a neighborhood or local commercial roadway with a posted speed limit of less than 35 mph. The street also must not be a primary route for transit services.

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