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Some recommended changes for Via Capri are in sight

Some traffic measures for Via Capri are heading toward implementation.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

La Jolla traffic board also continues discussion of approval standards for street closures for private events in The Village.

After a lengthy study of the need for traffic calming along La Jolla’s Via Capri, the city of San Diego is looking to implement some recommendations, according to La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board Chairman Brian Earley.

In April, the board gave its support to four measures: repave Via Capri entirely; restripe it to reduce the lane width from 12½ feet to 11 feet; add buffered bike lanes; and repair or replace the three solar-powered signs that caution drivers to slow down.

Earley said city officials are looking to narrow the street lanes and that a solar-powered sign on the northbound side toward the top of Via Capri has been replaced “and a complete system check was performed for proper operation.”

The board was told last month the new city budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year includes $1.08 million for repaving all of Via Capri.

City traffic engineer Gary Pence stated in an email that Earley shared with the La Jolla Light that bike lanes on Via Capri are undesirable because the city would have to remove parking, which Pence added might also encourage speeding.

Steve Hadley, representing the office of City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, said July 20 that the resurfacing means asphalt portions will be repaved in asphalt and concrete portions in concrete.

“I want to say to those who don’t feel like they’re getting everything they want [that] there will come a time after SDG&E [finishes its current work to replace underground power cables that] the city will come back in and actually resurface that entire street and give us another opportunity to address some of those requests,” Hadley said.

The cable project is expected to be finished in the first quarter of 2023. Once SDG&E has resurfaced portions that it dug up during its project, the city will resurface everything else.

A concept to redesign the large space at the sharp bend in Camino de la Costa in the Lower Hermosa neighborhood got unanimous approval from the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board.

Event closures

Members of the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board and others meet July 20 online.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

The Traffic & Transportation Board continued a discussion of possible standards for street closures for private events in La Jolla’s Village, making progress toward a document intended to streamline the approval process for such events.

The issue was originally listed as an action item on T&T’s July 20 meeting agenda, but Earley said he needed more information and that with several board members unable to attend the meeting, the matter would be discussion only.

The conversation was part of a series of such talks following two approved road closures for private events, one on Memorial Day, May 30, and the other on June 25, a Saturday.

Each was a baraat, a procession in an Indian wedding during which the groom rides a horse or an elephant to the ceremony, accompanied by his family members.

Given that both baraats took place on days when tourists normally flock to La Jolla, the road closures prompted concerns from T&T board members about the effects on traffic and parking.

“Any weekend in La Jolla between Memorial Day and Labor Day is a busy time,” Earley said.

He said he watched the June 25 baraat and “it went very well. It was a very exciting event to watch from the outside.”

Earley shared a working document of guidelines for approval of similar special events in the future, emphasizing the document is not final. Upon T&T approval, it will move to the La Jolla Community Planning Association and the San Diego Special Events & Filming Department for feedback. The latter issues permits for such events.

The guidelines would apply only to special processions for private events within The Village, Earley said, and are intended to minimize the “amount of time and disruptions to traffic flow, parking and businesses while celebrating the ceremony and cultural benefit of such events.”

Earley reiterated previous remarks that large events like this bring in thousands of dollars in hotel and other tourism revenue.

The guidelines include already-determined city blackout dates when events will not be approved due to the commitment of public safety resources such as traffic control and police officers elsewhere in San Diego.

That list for 2022 includes Independence Day (July 4), Halloween (Oct. 31) and New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31), along with a few dates of large events, such as the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon (held June 5) and the La Jolla Concours d’ Elegance (April 22-24).

T&T board member Nancy Warwick suggested adding Memorial Day and Labor Day to a La Jolla-specific list.

Board member Bill Podway said blocking Memorial, Independence and Labor days would be excessive, noting that Indian weddings often are planned for dates and times culturally designated as auspicious.

Taking away moneymaking opportunities from hotels and other Village merchants also is undesirable, Podway said.

The guidelines currently include the idea for T&T to work with popular wedding venues in The Village, such as the La Jolla Cove Hotel & Suites and the La Valencia Hotel, “to ensure that the event starts at a certain time [and] ends at a certain time,” Earley said.

The guidelines also might state that the closed portions of a street would be reopened once the procession has passed, without waiting for the entire event to end, Earley said.

The guidelines also could impose a two-hour limit on street closures.

Podway suggested adding a two- or three-block maximum. ◆