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Via Capri patch, Hillside Drive regrading and Shores crosswalks — key La Jolla streets get some work

Via Capri at Rue Denise received a temporary asphalt patch after the concrete portion was deemed dangerous for driving.
Via Capri at Rue Denise received a temporary asphalt patch Feb. 17 after the concrete portion there was deemed dangerous for driving.
(Steve Hadley)

San Diego officials offer details about three often-discussed La Jolla road issues: Via Capri repaving, Hillside Drive regrading, and a crosswalk with flashing beacons at Vallecitos and La Jolla Shores Drive.

San Diego City Councilman Joe LaCava and other city officials offered details this week about three often-discussed La Jolla road issues:

Via Capri repaving

Several residents assert that Via Capri is in worse disrepair than La Jolla Parkway, which is slated for resurfacing as part of the city’s “Sexy Streets” program.

LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, told the La Jolla Light that on Feb. 17, city crews laid an asphalt overlay on the concrete portion of Via Capri at Rue Denise in an emergency response to “dangerously worse” damage sustained recently.

He said he had learned a day earlier that “some of the cracked concrete was actually becoming concrete chunks, becoming loose and … moving as cars drove over it.”

The asphalt patch over the concrete is “a temporary fix to stabilize” Via Capri, LaCava said.

He said more permanent resurfacing will have to wait until utility undergrounding work in that area is completed. He added that he did not have a firm date for that.

When LaCava discussed roadwork and safety projects during the La Jolla Shores Association’s Feb. 9 meeting, he said funding is available for the asphalt portions of Via Capri but not the concrete sections, though he acknowledged that the latter are in worse shape.

Hillside Drive regrading

After years of trying to reduce the number of large trucks becoming stuck on Hillside Drive as they turn onto it from Torrey Pines Road, LaCava said city engineers have “designed a solution” and that crews are set to begin regrading Hillside Drive at Torrey Pines in March. The work is expected to be completed by Memorial Day in late May.

A truck gets stuck at Torrey Pines Road and Hillside Drive in 2019.
(Carl Doughty)

Previous attempts have included adding more signs warning drivers of trucks weighing more than 5 tons not to use Hillside Drive. Large trucks often get stuck in the dip between Hillside and Torrey Pines, blocking eastbound traffic on Torrey Pines and preventing residents from getting to neighborhood streets.

But the problem continues. LaCava told the Light that many drivers are not familiar with the area, and when maps tell them to turn onto Hillside, they’re going to turn, “irrespective of the signs.”

City spokesman Tyler Becker said the regrading project entails “raising the grades at the top of the slope at Hillside Drive and Torrey Pines Road and adding vertical curves for a smoother transition to alleviate vehicles from bottoming out.”

He said the work will include replacing the concrete, curb and gutter on Hillside and installing new curb inlets to improve drainage.

Becker said the work “may cause temporary impacts to both traffic and utility services in the surrounding area,” including lane closures. He added that residents will receive advance notice once a schedule and impacts have been determined.

LaCava said the project is “a very tough assignment for the engineers,” who need to accommodate adjacent private properties and stormwater drainage.

The stuck-trucks problem began after Torrey Pines Road was resurfaced years ago to improve drainage capacity.

“Hopefully it’ll be a little more permanent solution to that situation, making it the best we can with what we have to work with,” LaCava said.

After the work is complete, the city will assess whether updated signage is needed, he said.

Vallecitos/La Jolla Shores Drive crosswalk

The intersection of Vallecitos and La Jolla Shores Drive is slated for a crosswalk with flashing beacons.
The intersection of Vallecitos and La Jolla Shores Drive is slated for a crosswalk with flashing beacons.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

City spokesman Anthony Santacroce said an “improved crosswalk with reflectors and flashing beacons” at the intersection of Vallecitos and La Jolla Shores Drive has been approved, with installation expected in the 2023 fiscal year, “once funding becomes available.”

In October, the La Jolla Shores Association added a roundabout at that intersection to its list of requested capital improvement projects after a June traffic accident injured two children and their mother who were walking there. Discussions about traffic safety prompted LJSA to ask the city for improved pedestrian crossing striping and lights.

Santacroce said the city recommended against the roundabout after receiving a petition opposing it from people living near the intersection.

“My preference always is for roundabouts,” LaCava said, but since the neighbors didn’t support one there and roundabouts are expensive, “that all added up to a decision that the roundabout was just not the right solution for that intersection. I fully support both the residents and the city engineers’ decision not to pursue one at that location.”

LaCava said the crosswalk and flashing beacons will help implement the city’s “Vision Zero” initiative, which he said aims to “make it safe for pedestrians to be able to walk to where they want to go.”

LaCava said the Vallecitos/La Jolla Shores Drive intersection has a lot of foot traffic as people go to the beach or to shops and restaurants on Avenida de la Playa.

“There’s enough traffic on La Jolla Shores that we needed to do something different to make sure it was safe for pedestrians,” he said.

LaCava’s field representative Steve Hadley said Vallecitos is not the only La Jolla Shores Drive cross street “where the city is trying to put in a safe passage for pedestrians.”

He said crosswalks also have been planned for La Jolla Shores Drive’s intersections with Calle Frescota and Camino del Collado and that those projects are awaiting completion of utility undergrounding. ◆