La Jollans lament continued litter along La Jolla Parkway

Trash along La Jolla Parkway continues to alarm residents.
(Courtesy of Rayan Hourani)

A buildup of trash alongside La Jolla Parkway — which many consider to be La Jolla’s front door — continues to upset local residents, who in recent months have reported the litter to the city of San Diego, to no avail.

“This has been an issue since I have lived here,” said Rayan Hourani, who lives on a street parallel to La Jolla Parkway. “I’ve seen garbage that is historic — you can tell it has been here for years. And there is garbage on both sides; it’s just everywhere. It’s really frustrating that the city won’t commit to cleaning up. It’s an eyesore and a shame.”

Hourani said he has submitted reports on the city’s Get It Done app and notified the office of City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla.

“I call the app ‘Get Nothing Done’ because we aren’t seeing anything getting done,” Hourani said.

Fellow La Jollan Elaine Galinson said she also has reported the trash along La Jolla Parkway. “It is disgraceful and ugly to have our community so poorly kept,” she said.

Resident Rayan Hourani calls the trash along La Jolla Parkway "an eyesore and a shame.”
(Courtesy of Rayan Hourani)

But tending to the road and abating the trash requires coordination and resources — personnel from the city Environmental Services Department and traffic control from the Transportation Department, according to LaCava’s office.

A LaCava representative said the office has made a request to those departments to schedule a cleanup, but a date when it would be done was not given.

An every-other-month schedule isn’t possible because the departments say they don’t have the resources and personnel for it, the representative said. “So they come out when they are able to.”

The representative said the Get It Done app is the best way to alert the appropriate departments and that a high volume of requests at one location will elevate the priority.

La Jollan Elaine Galinson says the trash along La Jolla Parkway “is disgraceful and ugly."
(Courtesy of Rayan Hourani)

The city partners with the California Department of Transportation for care of La Jolla Parkway, given its proximity to State Route 52 and Interstate 5.

Caltrans District 11 maintenance crews cleaned the La Jolla Parkway on-ramp to SR-52 and southbound I-5 on July 23 and inspected that location again last weekend, according to Barbara Cosio Moreno, public affairs manager for Caltrans.

San Diego maintains all of La Jolla Parkway other than the freeway ramps, and the city and Caltrans coordinate “to address customers’ requests submitted via the city’s Get It Done app or the Caltrans website [],” Cosio Moreno said in a statement.

Caltrans prioritizes cleanups on state property based on safety, need and customer requests, Cosio Moreno said. Areas without safe access for maintenance crews often require lane closures and assistance from the California Highway Patrol before litter can be picked up.

Cosio Moreno said businesses, community organizations and individuals can join the Adopt a Highway program to help maintain sections of roadways in California’s state highway system. Participants can remove litter and graffiti, plant trees or wildflowers and control vegetation as volunteers or hire a maintenance service to do the work on their behalf. In exchange, they get recognition via signs beside the highway.

Under the Clean California initiative, participants are eligible to earn a stipend of up to $250 per month per adoption.

La Jolla Parkway becomes Torrey Pines Road in an area known in La Jolla as “The Throat,” where maintenance also has been questioned.

In recent months, community members have complained that the area has not been tended or landscaped in accord with an agreement between the city and Aztec Landscaping.

Aztec, based in Lemon Grove, has a $41,000 annual contract to maintain several medians at The Throat. The maintenance is paid for by gas taxes. One of the medians is a triangle for which local Rotarians made a one-time $17,000 donation for landscaping in 2018.

The Aztec contract states the company will inspect irrigation, remove litter and weeds, and prune shrubs and ground cover every two weeks.

However, community representatives have said the area is not being properly maintained, and an effort is underway to improve accountability.

City spokesman Tim Graham told the La Jolla Light in May that the city was receiving regular inspection sheets from Aztec Landscaping and would complete a quarterly review of the company’s performance in “approximately three months.”

Graham said late last week that the review would be done soon.

Aztec co-founder Rafael Aguilar told the Light earlier this year that if the city increased the frequency of Aztec’s maintenance at the site, the “result would be a better-looking median.” ◆