Delayed handrail project at La Jolla Shores beach access shows progress

The beach access corridor at Spindrift Drive in La Jolla Shores
Photos presented by La Jolla Community Planning Association trustee Patrick Ahern show the beach access corridor at Spindrift Drive in La Jolla Shores, for which a handrail has been approved to help improve safety.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

“Finally, there’s some activity” on a project to install a handrail along the Spindrift Drive beach access corridor in The Shores, local planning group member Patrick Ahern said at last week’s virtual meeting of the La Jolla Shores Association.

Ahern, a trustee of the La Jolla Community Planning Association, said the railing is needed along the walkway, which runs next to The Marine Room restaurant, “to provide more safety.”

The walkway’s hazards stem from a “very dangerous, steep section” that begins halfway down the path to the beach, Ahern said. Constant shade keeps the ground very moist, creating a slippery path further deteriorated by sand, he said.

He said several people have fallen on the walkway and suffered injuries.

“It’s steeper than it looks,” said LJSA board member Rick Kent.

LJCPA and LJSA approved the handrail project in 2018, Ahern said. Then-City Councilwoman Barbara Bry added it to San Diego’s capital improvement projects list after LJCPA named it a top project in 2019.

The project was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ahern said, but has been restarted with the formation of a working group under LJSA, chaired by Kent and board member Brian Earley.

The group will work with the San Diego Transportation & Stormwater Department and city engineers to design the handrail, Ahern said.

The cost of the project is not yet known, but Ahern estimated it will be $8,000 to $10,000. “We may need more funding from the city,” he said, though he added the working group may raise funds as needed.

“There’s … a lot of planning, a lot of movement, ready to go,” Ahern said.

Other LJSA news

Lifeguard report: Lt. Lonnie Stephens of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department said the lifeguards’ summer season began June 11 with full staffing. “We will have all of our lifeguard towers open. You will see a lot more lifeguards out on the beach on patrol.”

In May, 125,000 people visited beaches in The Shores, Stephens said. Lifeguards made about 13,000 preventive actions, or warnings given to people in the water, and performed 141 water rescues, he said.

“We’ve been very busy with a moderate staffing level, but it’s going to be a lot better as you see more lifeguards on the beach,” Stephens said.

He advised beach-goers to always “check in with the lifeguard so we can give you the updates on the best places to swim.”

Next meeting: The La Jolla Shores Association next meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 14. Learn more at