New signs coming to Hillside Drive area in latest effort to prevent ‘stuck trucks’

A truck gets stuck heading up Hillside Drive in La Jolla from Torrey Pines Road in July.
(Courtesy of Urs Baumann)

In the next three months, more signs are coming to the streets surrounding Hillside Drive in La Jolla in an effort to stop the pervasive problem of “stuck trucks.”

The issue, which has been reported frequently in recent years, stems from trucks trying to enter Hillside Drive from Torrey Pines Road or turn from Hillside onto Torrey Pines and getting stuck in the dip between the two roads. They end up blocking at least one lane of eastbound traffic on Torrey Pines and preventing residents from getting to neighborhood streets.

Two such instances were reported in as many months this summer, leaving Urs Baumann of La Jolla to ask, “How many more signs are needed to stop this?”

Apparently, a few more.

San Diego city spokesman Anthony Santacroce said one new sign would be installed on Via Siena near the entrance from Via Capri, and two others would be posted on Soledad Avenue east and west of Hillside Drive. They’re meant to supplement the existing signs on Torrey Pines Road that are intended to deter trucks from entering Hillside.

“The signs will say ‘No trucks over 5 tons on Hillside Drive,’” Santacroce said. “The community asked for this because they wanted to have signage prohibiting trucks at all possible access points to Hillside Drive. The truck prohibition on Hillside Drive has been in place for many years. We expect to have the signs installed in the next 90 days.”

Santacroce said the city has no plans for additional signs at or near the intersection of Torrey Pines and Hillside.

In August 2019, city crews painted bright white stenciling on the westbound left-turn lane along Torrey Pines Road to prohibit left turns by trucks onto Hillside Drive. It installed seven signs — some flashing — on both sides of Torrey Pines indicating that trucks over 5 tons cannot turn onto Hillside.

Signs along Torrey Pines Road try to keep large trucks from entering Hillside Drive.

In February this year, the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board recommended that the city replace signs at various intersections along Hillside Drive. The vote followed La Jolla Community Planning Association President Diane Kane’s Feb. 17 presentation to the T&T Board detailing “multiple issues on Hillside Drive.”

One of them, she said, involves trucks with “very long overhangs” — the length from the rear axle to the end of the truck — getting stuck between Torrey Pines Road and Hillside. “They would start going uphill and their bottoms would sit and then they would get hung up on the rise” of Hillside, she said.

Kane said signs prohibiting trucks over a certain weight and length placed at Hillside Drive and Soledad Avenue and Hillside and Via Siena could lessen the number of trucks entering the neighborhood that get stuck.