La Jolla traffic board approves street improvements related to Bishop’s School addition proposal

The yellow box illustrates the first phase of proposed additions to The Bishop's School in La Jolla;
The yellow box illustrates the first phase of proposed additions to The Bishop’s School in La Jolla; the red outline indicates the potion of a city alley to be vacated.
(Screenshot by Elisabeth Frausto)

The La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board approved amendments to a conditional use permit that would allow for the vacation of a portion of an alley that runs parallel to Draper Avenue to make way for an addition to The Bishop’s School.

The addition would happen in phases, and include the construction of batting cages, indoor soccer and field hockey areas, athletic center and a creative sciences, visual arts and social innovation building.

The Bishop’s School in La Jolla, a private school at 7607 La Jolla Blvd., has acquired 7552, 7554 and 7556 Draper Ave. and wants to fold that property into its campus, said Domus Studio Architecture principal architect David Pfeifer.

The integration would add about 1,000 square feet, he said, requiring updates to Bishop’s existing permits. However, the permit amendment does not involve a change to student enrollment numbers or parking spaces.

“The buildings that are being added are to allow the school a more diversified offering of curriculum and give some space for really impacted programs,” he told the board at its Oct. 19 virtual meeting, with the scope of the project being “clustered up on the Draper Avenue frontage.”

The project includes the vacation of a portion of an adjacent alley that runs parallel to Draper from Pearl Street, dead-ending currently at the Bishop’s campus.

Domus Studio project architect Anna Nagasugi said Bishop’s already owns the land abutting both sides of the requested alley vacation.

In a vacation, the city of San Diego relinquishes a public right of way or public service easement and turns it over to an adjacent property.

If the project goes through, the alley will “be a shorter dead end by 50 feet,” Pfeifer said.

This alley vacation is an entirely separate project from a proposal to vacate part of Cuvier Street to help make way for as part of a La Jolla Recreation Center renovation. That vacation was approved by the La Jolla Community Planning Association in 2021.

Draper Avenue would receive improvements to existing curbs, sidewalks and landscaping along the entire frontage of Bishop's
Draper Avenue would receive improvements to existing curbs, sidewalks and landscaping along the entire frontage of Bishop’s property.
(Screenshot by Elisabeth Frausto)

The alley vacation and proposed buildings would “achieve architectural harmony on campus and create a nice streetscape on Draper and clean up the Draper frontage [with] street improvements and landscaping,” Pfeifer said. Street improvements along Draper will include those made to the existing curb, gutter and sidewalk, Pfeifer said, with paving of half the street. There will not be any new driveway cuts and that landscaping would be replaced once construction is finished.

The discussion did not center too heavily on the buildings themselves, as the T&T board is primarily concerned with impacts to traffic, acting chairman Dave Abrams reminded those in attendance.

T&T member Donna Aprea expressed concern that the architects were not able to answer what the traffic impacts during construction would be for neighboring residents and patrons of the nearby La Jolla/Riford Library.

“We can’t give you an absolute final answer until we get a construction partner on board,” Pfeifer said.

The motion to approve the permit amendments passed 6-0-2, with Aprea and T&T member Ross Rudolph abstaining.

“I don’t trust the project,” Aprea said, noting it hasn’t been reviewed yet by the Development Permit Review Committee or La Jolla Community Planning Association.

“I don’t think we have enough information,” Rudolph added.

Coast Walk Trail

The La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board hears about progress on Coast Walk Trail Oct. 19.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

A project to cleanup and restore parts of La Jolla’s historic Coast Walk Trail is underway, the board learned.

Coast Walk Trail runs between Coast Walk (a short street west of Torrey Pines Road between Prospect Place and Amalfi Street) and Goldfish Point and is considered a “paper street,” meaning it exists under the purview of the city’s Transportation Department (it was originally intended as a vehicular road) but is now only for foot traffic.

Friends of Coast Walk Trail President Brenda Fake said a cleanup at the Prospect Place trail head is in progress.

“We are cleaning out vegetation in prepping for planting new vegetation,” she said, and that the cleanup will also reduce fire hazards, mitigate soil erosion and improve the view. Efforts include replacing a damaged fence with an updated post and chain. No new signage is expected, Fake said, but current signs will be replaced if needed due to graffiti or other damage.

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The La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board next meets at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16, likely online. Email ◆