La Jolla transportation board hears ideas to improve pedestrian and traffic safety in Barber Tract

The La Jolla Traffic & Transportation board heard ideas to improve pedestrian safety in crosswalks along La Jolla Blvd.
The La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board heard ideas Oct. 21 on how to improve pedestrian safety in crosswalks along La Jolla Boulevard, like this one at Genter Street.

The La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board discussed two areas of traffic concern at its Oct. 21 meeting, both in the Barber Tract neighborhood, which stretches from Windansea to The Village.

Ira Parker, who leads a subcommittee tasked with identifying pedestrian safety problems and possible solutions along La Jolla Boulevard, reported on two public Zoom sessions held the week before.

For the record:

10:46 a.m. Oct. 27, 2020Ira Parker is not a member of the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board. This article has been updated to make that correction.

The “conversations were great,” Parker said, and generated many “constructive” ideas for calming traffic in the area.

The main problem is speeding on La Jolla Boulevard, Parker said. “It’s a speedway,” creating hazardous conditions for pedestrians trying to cross, he said.

Measures such as flashing yellow lights that are currently at crosswalks along the boulevard aren’t effective, Parker said. “We still need enhanced signage and education,” as well as enforcement of the law, he added.

Parker said “one big thing” suggested at the meetings was to make the crosswalks more visible through repainting and widening the stripes, along with additional signage placed “appropriately on the street itself.”

Parker said the subcommittee discussed placing scooter lanes so those using electric scooters don’t interfere with pedestrians on the sidewalks.

Parker also said a suggestion was made to create “bulb-outs,” portions of extra lines that extend into the street adjacent to crosswalks to slow traffic as it approaches the crosswalks.

Other ideas included prohibiting large trucks from parking in the center lanes to make deliveries, which restricts visibility of pedestrians in the crosswalks and is a “blatant” cause of problems, Parker said. Another idea was requiring deliveries to be made between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

The subcommittee will meet to refine recommendations to forward to the T&T Board at a later meeting.

Traffic congestion in Barber Tract

The Barber Tract neighborhood is seeing a “huge influx of traffic,” Barber Tract Neighborhood Association President Mike Cole told the T&T Board.

“We’ve got streets that were put in place 100 years ago, very narrow,” with one-way streets that can no longer handle the traffic taking visitors to the beach, he said.

Resident Ira Parker took this picture of congestion blocking Olivetas Avenue along Sea Lane in the Barber Tract.
Increased traffic is an issue in the Barber Tract neighborhood, according to resident Ira Parker, who took this picture of congestion blocking Olivetas Avenue along Sea Lane.

“Most importantly,” Cole said, “more recently the traffic coming into our neighborhood to a couple of the beaches at Marine Street and Sea Lane has become overwhelming.”

Parker reported on two Barber Tract Neighborhood Association Zoom meetings held for neighbors to voice their concerns, saying one “big problem” is that these are “pocket beaches,” without a parallel street that runs alongside.

The beaches’ popularity is “nothing like anyone who’s been living around here has seen,” Cole said, adding that unlike at Windansea and La Jolla Shores, these beaches don’t have parking lots.

“The issue is safety because of the gridlock,” Parker said.

BTNA approved an “action plan as to how we could address this problem,” Parker said, with steps that include sharing ideas with the T&T Board, requesting an official traffic study from city traffic engineers and using the information to develop an official position based on neighborhood preferences.

Parker said BTNA has not gone to the city yet because it needs T&T endorsement first. “It’s not a small issue, it’s a plan to address an area,” he said.

T&T Chairman Dave Abrams said: “I think everybody recognizes it’s a complex problem. It goes to the attractiveness of these beaches.” He said the solution “would have to be a comprehensive look” at the entire area.

Board member Tom Brady said “it’s overwhelming what has to be done down there.”

The board agreed to hold a more “targeted discussion” at its Nov. 18 meeting.

Other T&T news

Board member Natalie Aguirre, representing the La Jolla Village Merchants Association, said the VMA, along with parking companies Laz and Ace, is offering a discounted monthly parking rate of $75 at a variety of parking lots and garages in The Village. The rate is not limited to merchants, she said, but is available to anyone who needs parking in the area.

During a walking tour of Girard Avenue and Wall Street, Aguirre “was shocked to see how many managers and businesses are not aware of this offer,” she said. “We need to get those people off the streets so our customers can park here.”

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