Bird Rock resident launches petition to lower speed limit on La Jolla Boulevard

A road sign on La Jolla Boulevard was believed to have been knocked over by a speeding driver.
(Courtesy of Harry Bubbins)

A Bird Rock resident is seeking a lower speed limit on a southern stretch of La Jolla Boulevard, citing “a number of harrowing experiences” caused by speedy drivers.

Harry Bubbins, who runs the Respect Bird Rock blog, has started a petition on to reduce the speed limit on La Jolla Boulevard between Pacific Beach and Bird Rock from its current 35 mph to whatever is deemed appropriate.

He argues that “35 mph is a higher speed than all the other commercial/residential streets that connect with La Jolla Boulevard, so drivers are encouraged to dangerously speed up. [The] stretch of La Jolla Boulevard between Loring Street and Colima Street is entirely residential, with only one commercial business that actually has an entrance on Turquoise Street.”

Bubbins also argues that the speed limit at the La Jolla Boulevard roundabouts is 15 mph, “with no transition from 35 mph.”

Bubbins told the La Jolla Light that there have been “a number of close calls” because drivers pulling out of diagonal parking spots expect other drivers to slow down, but they don’t.

The section of La Jolla Boulevard that runs through Bird Rock contains roundabouts and landscaping intended to slow traffic, but Bubbins said “it is inconsistent to have a 35 mph speed limit leading to an area with a 15 mph speed limit. A sensible speed limit would go a long way toward the health and safety of the residents.”

Area resident Scott Rose, whose balcony overlooks La Jolla Boulevard, was an early signer of the petition.

“Drivers just go too fast on La Jolla Boulevard,” he said. “There are too many people that treat the speed limit, which is too high to begin with, as a suggestion. They speed through intersections … and it is an extremely dangerous condition, particularly at La Jolla Boulevard and Tourmaline Street. I’m waiting for someone to get wiped out in the crosswalk.”

Reducing the speed limit would “make the area safer because those that observe the limit will have more time to react to the pedestrians,” Rose said.

Bubbins and other Respect Bird Rock volunteers launched the petition drive online and in person last month with the hope of collecting at least 100 signatures before presenting it to local planning groups and city officials. As of Sept. 2, the petition has collected 52 signatures.

“This is an urgent issue; we don’t want to wait a year to see it changed,” Bubbins said. “The speed is too high and there is no traffic calming coming from PB into Bird Rock.”

However, local government officials might not be so quick to agree to the change. San Diego County’s online information page about neighborhood speed limits ( contends that lowering them wouldn’t necessarily slow traffic.

“Three widely held misconceptions about speed limits are: speed limit signs will slow down traffic; speed limit signs will decrease accidents and increase safety; raising a posted speed limit will increase the speed of traffic,” the page states. “Several transportation studies have consistently shown that there are no significant changes in average vehicle speeds following the posting of new or revised speed limits. Similar research has found no direct relationship between posted speed limits and accident frequency.”

The county says the California Vehicle Code governs the establishment of speed limits and requires that an engineering and traffic survey be done to determine the proper speed limit on a road.

One of the items examined in the survey is the “normal pace of free-flowing traffic under normal conditions,” a measurement based on the “basic speed law” — “No person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property,” the county says.

“Speed limits established without the support of an engineering and traffic survey are labeled by the [code] as a ‘speed trap’ and enforcement agencies cannot use radar to help them enforce the speed limits there. The end result is that posting a lower speed limit without legal justification will not slow the traffic and probably will severely reduce any enforcement of the speed limit that’s already on your street.”

Bird Rock Community Council secretary Barbara Dunbar said the BRCC board has not discussed Bubbins’ petition but plans to during its meeting beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6, online. To learn more, email ◆