Speed racers? La Jolla Shores group hears complaints of increasingly fast driving

The Torrey Pines Road/La Jolla Parkway area drew concerns about speeding at LJSA's Aug. 12 meeting.
The Torrey Pines Road/La Jolla Parkway area drew concerns about speeding at the La Jolla Shores Association’s Aug. 12 meeting.
(Graphic by Daniel K. Lew / Google Earth photo)

“It’s crazy,” La Jolla Shores resident Kate Adams said of traffic on Torrey Pines Road as she spoke during the La Jolla Shores Association’s Aug. 12 meeting.

Her main concern, however, isn’t the amount of traffic. “It’s the speed,” Adams said.

“The speed is almost deafening sometimes. There’s drag racing, there’s speed at night and during the day,” she said.

LJSA board members heard various comments about increased speeding on Torrey Pines Road and La Jolla Parkway and discussed ways to enforce speed laws.

The La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board heard suggestions from community member Carol Hernstad for easing traffic headaches at “The Throat,” where La Jolla Parkway, Hidden Valley Road and Torrey Pines Road converge.

“[Drivers] get to the corner of Torrey Pines and La Jolla Shores [Drive] and if they see they’ll just miss the light, or if they see there’s a flat throughway there, they go so fast,” Adams said. “It’s absolutely terrifying. When they’re racing, it’s deafening.”

“In 46 years, I [hadn’t] called the police,” she said. “I’ve called them twice [recently], it was so bad on weekends.”

Board member Joe Dicks said he’s noticed that “every Thursday night, between 9 and 10, there is a drag race or a group of speeding motorcycles that is just ripping. You can hear it all across the valley. Every Thursday night at the same time. You’d think one time we can have one police cruiser out there.”

Board member Pam Boynton asked, “Don’t you think it’s on La Jolla Parkway, from just past the fire station … heading east, and they know they have a full stretch of no traffic lights?”

Dicks said: “I’m sure that’s the case, which would make it very easy for the police to take a peek at what’s going on. And they can pull over the entire group; it wouldn’t take much.”

Board member Mary Coakley-Munk said: “That needs to be dealt with. I think somebody’s going to get killed.”

Steve Hadley, representing San Diego City Council member Barbara Bry, whose district includes La Jolla, said that “with the lack of traffic due to [the COVID-19 pandemic], people got used to driving faster. Maybe there’s some frantic driving that’s going on; I don’t know the causes. But the speed of traffic in general is way up, and it’s not good. We’ll be glad to ask for some enforcement.”

Hadley emailed San Diego police Community Relations Officer Brandon Broaddus on Aug. 13 asking for “speed enforcement on Torrey Pines Road from La Jolla Village Drive to Pottery Park Driveway (particularly downhill), Torrey Pines Road from La Jolla Village Drive to Genesee Avenue (along the mesa by UCSD) and on La Jolla Parkway from Torrey Pines Road to State Route 52 (particularly eastbound traffic)” to address LJSA’s concerns of “the excessive speed with which cars are traveling on Torrey Pines Road and La Jolla Parkway.”

In an email to the La Jolla Light, police Sgt. Matthew Botkin said he “checked back one month for that entire area and was only able to find three reckless-driving calls in total spread out July 20 to the most recent Aug. 4. All were for unsafe speed or driving.”

Botkin encouraged residents to call (619) 531-2000 “whenever they see or hear incidents” of excessive speed and to use the Get It Done app or website, (click the “other” category in the “streets, sidewalks & lights” section, Botkin said).

Botkin said he “will forward the complaint along to our Traffic Division as well for good measure.” ◆