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La Jolla Parks & Beaches board forms working group with aim to fix seaside fences

Some of the fences along La Jolla's shoreline near Scripps Park have raised concerns about safety.
(Claire Sheinberg)

Following concerns and complaints about the condition of white wooden fencing along La Jolla’s coastline, the La Jolla Parks & Beaches board formed a committee during its Oct. 24 meeting that is tasked with getting permits necessary to repair and revitalize the fences.

“Those fences are iconic that have been there for decades, but they are dilapidated and an eyesore,” said LJP&B President Bob Evans. “There has been a lot of [comments] from the community about how they do not represent La Jolla well. I think it is one of those low-hanging fruit projects that we could get done.”

The fences in question separate the walkway from the bluffs next to Scripps Park at The Cove and go down toward the Children’s Pool.

Locals say the white wooden fences look ‘horrible,’ ‘dilapidated’ and ‘dangerous’ and they want them repaired and maintained.

The board recently recommitted to be more project-driven and bring members of the community into the fold to help carry out such projects. It said part of its long-term planning is to get a right-of-entry permit to do work on San Diego city property, including repairing the fences.

Evans said the new committee would determine the scope of the work, which permits are needed and how much the whole project would cost and ideally report that information at the next board meeting.

In addition to the actual repair, the working group’s effort will include fundraising, “because the city is not going to give it … the repairs it needs, and it needs a whole new life,” Evans said. “So we are going to explore grants and donations.”

LJP&B Vice President Brenda Fake said: “I’ve looked at that fence many, many times, and there are chunks that are still intact and OK. Then there are parts that are falling apart. It’s becoming a liability and a safety issue. We’re going to go after cleaning it up and seeing what it takes to maintain it.”

The formation of the working group comes after some residents voiced concern that the fences are chipping away.

“It’s a shame that whoever is in charge of La Jolla’s maintenance does not do anything about all this,” Claire Sheinberg said. "[It’s] very dangerous because the wood is so deteriorated that it became very weak. ... It is a real shame; it makes our area look horrible and neglected. The Cove is just a jewel tarnished by this.”

The fences — and all fences in the public right of way — are maintained by the San Diego Transportation Department, according to city spokesman Jerry McCormick.

“If Parks [& Recreation] staff notice issues related to the fencing, they reach out directly to the Transportation Department,” he said. “Parks staff ... recently submitted a request for some repair work to be done in the [Scripps Park] area with the city fence contractor. They are expecting the work to be completed in the next few weeks.”

It isn’t known whether the city has a long-term plan to maintain the fences or if repairs are made only when a request is filed.

Other LJP&B news

The La Jolla Parks & Beaches board meets Oct. 24 at the La Jolla Recreation Center.
The La Jolla Parks & Beaches board meets Oct. 24 at the La Jolla Recreation Center.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Electric bikes: Community volunteer Debbie Adams, who organizes occasional cleanups of the Fay Avenue Bike Path, said there is growing concern about electric bicycles on the path, which connects Nautilus Street and Mira Monte and is used by cyclists and pedestrians. Noting the upcoming holidays and the likelihood of people getting e-bikes as gifts, Adams said she studied e-bikes and found there are three classifications.

Classes I and II are allowed on any bike path and generally can go up to 20 mph, Adams said.

“So we need to post signage that states Class III e-bikes are not allowed on the bike path because they can go up to 28 mph,” she said.

Adams said she has communicated with various city departments to determine whether a speed limit is imposed on similar bike paths in San Diego.

“If we can get some agreement as to what the speed limit should be,” it might provide some clarity, she said. “No one knows what is reasonable for that area.”

Resident Mary Pat Des Roches wrote in a letter to the editor published by the La Jolla Light that e-bike riders “race at high speed on the path without a horn or verbal notice that they are coming. Many small children, strollers, pets and seniors with hearing issues use this path. ... There will be a serious accident if this continues.”

Adams added that some areas of the bike path are subject to erosion and “mud rivers” when it rains. She said she is working with the San Diego real estate department to determine how to mitigate the issue.

Picnic project: An effort to improve the picnic area of Scripps Park may be complete by Thanksgiving, according to LJP&B member Alexandra Corsi.

A ceremony was held Sept. 29 to launch the 45 working days scheduled to move existing tables, improve access for people with disabilities, replace a dying tree and layer the ground cover with a paving material called GraniteCrete. The project originated in March 2021.

“I’m so happy that we were able to establish the partnership between La Jolla Parks & Beaches and the city to get this done,” Corsi said.

Next meeting: The La Jolla Parks & Beaches board meeting normally falls on the fourth Monday of each month, but to avoid conflict with the November and December holidays, LJP&B will combine its next two meetings into one. That meeting — the last one of the year — will be at 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5, at the La Jolla/Riford Library, 7555 Draper Ave. Learn more at lajollaparksbeaches.org.