Advertisement
Share

La Jolla’s Fay Avenue Bike Path to get year-round care and ‘re-naturalization’ plan

The Fay Avenue Bike Path sits between Nautilus Street and Mira Monte and is used by cyclists and pedestrians.
The Fay Avenue Bike Path sits between Nautilus Street and Mira Monte and is used by cyclists and pedestrians.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

The Fay Avenue Bike Path, also known as the La Jolla Bike Path or Fay Avenue extension, will get some TLC in the near future. Actually, lots of TLC.

A volunteer effort led by La Jollan Debbie Adams to organize annual cleanups got a year-round right-of-entry permit to facilitate cleanups as needed, and a plan is being developed to “re-naturalize” the path with organized plantings.

The bike path sits between Nautilus Street and Mira Monte and is used by cyclists and pedestrians. Immediately east of the path are steep, sensitive slopes that contain native vegetation. There also are connecting unpaved walking paths that continue south to Camino de la Costa. Some of that section is owned by La Jolla United Methodist Church.

In recent years, volunteers have removed litter and dead brush from the path during organized cleanup events. Private donors help cover the cost of city permits, along with waste containers and their removal. In 2020, Adams started working with the Kiwanis Club to obtain grants to pay for additional permits and services, such as professional gardening, and provide a place for donations to be held.

“We would get a lot done at these cleanups, but we always took a step back once it was done and found things we could have done,” Adams said. “The work is never-ending because it is vegetation and heavily used, and we want to keep it as safe and clean as possible all the time.”

She sought a year-round right-of-entry permit from the city of San Diego so cleanups could be done as needed. That permit was granted earlier this year, and the city has the option to renew it annually.

“With this permit, we can keep up with it better than with just the annual cleanup,” Adams said. “We’ve already had three cleanups. It’s great. They are an hour and a half, we target one area. We rake, we weed, we pick up trash. Then a few weeks later we can do it again. It’s more efficient to do it throughout the year rather than one big one.”

She said the annual cleanup will still be held in addition to the smaller efforts and that donations are accepted year-round.

A hillside next to La Jolla's Fay Avenue Bike Path.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Meanwhile, a longer-term conceptual plan is being developed to “re-naturalize” the area. The plan is being drafted by local resident and urbanist Trace Wilson and will be presented to the community this fall. Wilson also is involved in plans to renovate the La Jolla Recreation Center, create a streetscape master plan for The Village and more.

“I grew up in Muirlands and on the bike path,” Wilson said. “It was our place to get out of the house. It has a special place in my heart.”

Inspired by Adams’ efforts, he wanted to bring his skills to the table and help, he said.

“I suggested looking at it from a bigger standpoint and create a master plan to create special stretches with vegetation,” Wilson said. He and Adams are looking at the native and drought-tolerant plants that are already there and exploring making the path a little more organized and designed.

“If you go out there, it is a garden of all that Southern California scrub, cacti, buckwheat and trees, which creates these groupings of plants,” Wilson said. “The key to this whole thing is keeping it open space for people to walk along, but make it a little more formal.”

He said he also would like to add more trees, such as California live oak and pepper trees, to create more shade.

“The long-range plan is to make sure that any plant that goes there is native and contributes to native habitats, and anything that comes out is invasive,” Adams said. “I love it because it’s a real community effort and so positive.”

Noting that California often is in a drought, she said “we need a plan” to sustain the longevity of the path in a safe manner. Plus, she added, “it looks better to have a plan where the vegetation fits with the environment.”

“The work is never-ending because it is vegetation and heavily used, and we want to keep it as safe and clean as possible all the time.”

— Debbie Adams

The bike path is “our link between Bird Rock and The Village and a beloved amenity,” Wilson said. “This is an effort to make it better but not urbanize it.”

In late 2015, residents started advocating for the city to make minor repairs on the path and better indicate the presence of pedestrians and bicyclists. In June 2016, new signs and street stenciling went into place, and curbs were painted bright red so people would not park in front of the entry and exit points.

In 2018, the La Jolla Parks & Beaches group voted to formalize its efforts to maintain the bike path and create a committee to pursue a fund that would cover future path maintenance expenses. ◆