Advertisement
Share

Bird Rock leaders get first look at renovation plans for La Jolla’s Fay Avenue Bike Path

A rendering depicts some proposed changes to the Fay Avenue Bike Path in La Jolla.
A rendering depicts some proposed changes to the Fay Avenue Bike Path in La Jolla, as presented to the Bird Rock Community Council.
(Courtesy of Trace Wilson)

A San Diego city representative says he’s optimistic the project can be accomplished.

The Bird Rock Community Council got its first preview this week of conceptual plans to “re-naturalize” La Jolla’s Fay Avenue Bike Path.

The plans are intended to “enhance the native environment and make it the best it can be,” said La Jolla architect and urbanist Trace Wilson, who is shepherding the proposal.

Wilson said he and La Jolla resident Debbie Adams (who leads cleanups of the bike path) and other volunteers have been meeting for the past year to discuss how to improve the walkway and hillsides between Camino de la Costa and Nautilus Street. They ultimately decided to catalog the native plants in the area and break the path into 11 segments, with a vegetation plan for each segment.

“We wanted the stretches to have their own character,” Wilson said.

The bike path sits between Nautilus Street and Mira Monte and is used by bicyclists and pedestrians. Immediately east of the path are steep, sensitive slopes containing native plants. 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.

“Looking from Nautilus Street to the south … we would take clues from what is already there, such as Torrey pine trees to the north, oak trees on the hillside and sycamore trees further down, and adding something like a pepper tree in the lower area for shade,” Wilson said.

Work also would entail creating a serpentine path, repairing eroded paths and adding gabions (wire cages or baskets filled with rocks, concrete, sand or soil) to control erosion.

A rendering shows some of the changes proposed to “re-naturalize” the Fay Avenue Bike Path.
(Courtesy of Trace Wilson)

Wilson called the bike path “a huge and important natural link from The Village to Bird Rock and down to Pacific Beach.” But with development in the surrounding area decades ago, it has not been treated with care, he said. He called the current conditions “haphazard” and “ill-maintained,” with litter and discarded construction materials.

“One of the issues with the bike path is over the last 75 years, with Upper Hermosa being built, a lot of the bike path has always been disturbed,” he said. “But it is nature at its best. We want to bring back the native trees.”

The item was presented for information only during BRCC’s Sept. 6 meeting online, so the Community Council did not vote on the proposal.

However, acting President Joe Parker thanked Wilson for his efforts, and board member Arianna Opsvig said the plans “look amazing.”

But Opsvig questioned how accessibility for people with disabilities would be improved. Though specifics were not disclosed, Wilson said all new development must be accessible under the Americans with Disabilities Act and that improving that was “top of mind.”

BRCC secretary Barbara Dunbar questioned how the path would be maintained once it is “fixed up.”

Wilson replied that he would rely on the ongoing cleanups to remove debris and keep vegetation low.

“I think if we treat this as a place that we love and we make it the best it can be, others will do the same,” Wilson said. “As this becomes more of a natural garden, people will hopefully treat it with [care]. I know that is easier said than done … but I think we can prevent ... [littering and camping] from happening. With the correct signage and an environment we can feel good about, that would help quite a bit.”

Wilson also is involved in plans to renovate the La Jolla Recreation Center, create a streetscape master plan and more.

Steve Hadley, representing the office of San Diego City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, said that of all the projects Wilson is involved with, “this will be the easiest and most likely to be accomplished. … The funding that would be available for this would be easier [to obtain].”

The project is still in the conceptual phase, and Wilson said he is still collecting feedback before funding is explored. ◆