‘Gross neglect’: La Jolla traffic board hears ideas to improve Via Capri

Via Capri in La Jolla is dangerous due to its state of "gross neglect," according to local resident Sven Zabka.
Via Capri in La Jolla is dangerous due to its state of “gross neglect,” according to local resident Sven Zabka.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

Citing dangers to drivers along Via Capri, La Jolla resident Sven Zabka presented several ideas for improving the street to the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board during its March 16 meeting online.

Zabka, who lives off Via Capri, said his objective is to “create a thoroughfare that is safe for everyone that travels it by limiting the speed of traffic to the speed for which Via Capri was designed to handle.”

Speeding vehicles have made the road dangerous for motorists and pedestrians, Zabka said. He referenced a settlement this month in which the city of San Diego paid $1.32 million to the daughters of a man who died in 2020 from injuries suffered when his motorcycle hit a pothole and crashed on Via Capri near Rue Michael in 2014.

Zabka also cited incidents of road rage, tailgating and mailbox destruction by careless drivers.

He said Via Capri “has reached a stage of gross neglect” and that conditions will only worsen when current projects to place power lines underground are completed. He said the construction zones now have a traffic-calming effect.

Steve Hadley, representing San Diego City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, said the undergrounding projects will stop in two months due to the summer construction moratorium for areas near the beach.

Zabka’s improvement ideas for Via Capri — developed with a local civil engineer — include repaving the road entirely; restriping it to reduce lane width from 12½ feet to 11 feet; adding buffered bike lanes; installing speed humps; adding traffic circles at the intersections with Hidden Valley Road and La Jolla Scenic Drive South; reducing the maximum weight limit for trucks; and repairing or replacing the three existing signs warning drivers to slow down.

Zabka said much of the repaving and restriping costs may already be included in what’s allocated for the undergrounding.

The T&T Board last year approved the recommended traffic circle at Via Capri and La Jolla Scenic Drive South and the city added it to its “unfunded needs” list.

Zabka estimated the rest of his suggested improvements would cost $177,500.

He said that cost is significantly lower than potential settlements in lawsuits over deaths.

The La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board discusses Via Capri during its March 16 meeting online.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

The issue appeared on the T&T agenda for discussion only. Board members and others at the meeting discussed the presentation and asked whether San Diego Gas & Electric has agreed to repave all of Via Capri as part of the undergrounding.

“I’ve heard that they only are required now to repave the trenching that they’ve done,” said La Jolla architect Trace Wilson.

Hadley said he will inquire about that with SDG&E.

T&T Chairman Brian Earley said SDG&E representatives confirmed they will attend the next T&T meeting to discuss the Via Capri projects and street restoration.

In the meantime, Earley said, he will work with Hadley to contact traffic engineers about adding the recommended bike lanes and speed humps.

The La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board was the latest community group to hear the La Jolla Village Visioning Committee’s proposal for a master plan for La Jolla’s streetscape.

Other T&T news

New board member: Bill Podway from the La Jolla Village Merchants Association has been appointed to T&T following board member Cody Decker’s resignation last month. Podway, a retired retail executive, said his goals while on the board are to make La Jolla safer, with “better access for our residents [and] for our tourists.”

Next meeting: The La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board next meets at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, online or at a location to be determined. Email