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Next Enhance La Jolla Day will focus on Village streetscape plan

A concept image shows what could be done at Wall Street and Girard Avenue as part of the Enhance La Jolla streetscape plan.
A conceptual image shows what could be done at Wall Street and Girard Avenue as part of the Enhance La Jolla streetscape plan.
(Enhance La Jolla)

The third annual event will be held later this year, when it can serve to present the completed plan to the public.

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The third iteration of Enhance La Jolla Day will take a different approach for 2023. The event will be later in the year and will focus on providing information about Enhance La Jolla’s Village streetscape plan.

Enhance La Jolla is a nonprofit that manages The Village Maintenance Assessment District with authority to enhance services provided by the city of San Diego, including landscape maintenance, street and sidewalk cleaning, litter and graffiti abatement and additional trash collection. It also can privately fund and complete capital improvement projects in public spaces, such as trash can upgrades, bench installation, sign augmentation, park improvements, public art, and tree canopies on main thoroughfares.

The group has presented two Enhance La Jolla Days. During the inaugural in 2021, La Jolla’s community organizations came out to spruce up The Village, provide information about their groups and put river rock in tree wells as part of an ongoing project.

With the tree well project nearly completed, the 2022 Enhance La Jolla Day focused on family-friendly art events, distribution of milkweed plants (on which monarch butterflies live and reproduce) and demonstration of services. Members of the La Jolla Community Recreation Group’s Visioning Committee, Friends of Coast Walk Trail, Rotary Club of La Jolla, La Jolla Parks & Beaches, La Jolla Shores Association, La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board and more set up tables with information on their groups.

But with a $15 million streetscape plan being drawn up under the auspices of the La Jolla Community Foundation — the fundraising arm of Enhance La Jolla — the board is looking to wait until the final plan can be part of the third Enhance La Jolla Day.

Streetscape means the appearance or view of a street, and the Enhance La Jolla plan is a four-phase project to renovate Girard Avenue between Silverado and Prospect streets and the area known as “The Dip” at Prospect. Planned improvements in the public right of way include curb extensions, paving, landscaping, lighting, conversion of northbound Prospect to a public pedestrian way between Girard and Herschel avenues and converting the southbound side of Prospect in that area to two-way traffic. More than $1.5 million is already available for the project.

La Jolla Community Foundation Chairwoman Phyllis Pfeiffer, who also is president and general manager of the La Jolla Light, said the streetscape plan is “near completion” and that civil engineering work has been done, though lighting options for Girard Avenue need to be addressed.

Experts “measured the lighting at night and found that the lighting on Girard currently doesn’t meet city standards,” Pfeiffer said. “As we were looking at the lighting plan, we would like to put lights up that really light up Girard, but the city will only pay for the electricity of what is there now. So if we add light fixtures, we have to pay for it. So we have to be very careful with the lighting.”

Pfeiffer said the group is working with the city to make sure that on-street features such as bulb-outs are the right size so buses and emergency vehicles can get through and everything is up to code.

“That’s going really well; we’re almost done,” she said. “The plans are getting down to the final details and at some point we will go to the public with examples of street furniture and say ‘Do you like A or B?’ and get something with some community involvement.”

Thus, the idea was broached to integrate the final streetscape plan into Enhance La Jolla Day.

Change may be coming to reduce Enhance La Jolla’s liability in trip-and-fall lawsuits like those that have plagued the board recently.

In looking at forming a committee to run this year’s event — which usually is held in April — Enhance La Jolla board member and former City Councilwoman Barbara Bry noted there was a decrease in activity from the first year to the second.

“I think we have to step back and say ‘What is the purpose of Enhance La Jolla Day?’” she said at the board’s Jan. 19 meeting. “What is the goal of the day?”

With the streetscape plan nearing completion, some suggested holding off on Enhance La Jolla Day and using it as an opportunity to present the plan, outline where street furniture and trees would go and offer a walk-through to help explain what is being proposed.

Bird Rock resident Sharon Wampler said a walk-through would “get people excited … to see the future of La Jolla and what Enhance La Jolla can do.”

Enhance La Jolla Chairman Ed Witt said Enhance La Jolla Day can be held any time of the year and that the concept to focus it on the streetscape plan is “a great idea.” A committee was assembled to explore what could be done and when and report back. ◆