La Jolla traffic board pauses plan for stop sign at intersection that draws speeding complaints

The city of San Diego has proposed a stop sign for the corner of Rutgers Road and Vista Claridad in La Jolla.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

Also, the board plans to help a group of residents push the city of San Diego for improvements on Eads Avenue.


The La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board moved to continue consideration of a request for a stop sign on Rutgers Road at Vista Claridad pending further information after some board members raised questions.

The board this week heard resident Gerry Soderstrom explain why he asked the city of San Diego for the stop sign.

Soderstrom said he moved to the La Jolla Mesa neighborhood from Bird Rock about a year ago and noticed that “people come barreling through” the intersection much faster than the posted 25 mph speed limit.

“I hear neighbors complain constantly about how fast people come through there,” Soderstrom said. The speed is dangerous for the many pedestrians in the area, he added.

“There’s nothing stopping people from coming through there as fast as they can,” Soderstrom said. “Nobody really pays attention.”

Soderstrom contacted the city to request the stop sign. City engineers evaluated the intersection and then reached out to the T&T Board.

T&T Chairman Brian Earley shared an email from city engineer Gary Pence at the board’s June 20 meeting that stated the intersection meets the criteria for a stop sign.

The sign would be on Rutgers facing northbound traffic, Pence wrote.

Pence added that if T&T had no comments to the contrary, “we will proceed with the installation.”

However, T&T Vice Chairman Dave Abrams said “I have to refute pretty much everything [Soderstrom] said. There’s a total misconception by the general public that stop signs assist in traffic and speed control. That’s not their function.”

Stop signs are meant to indicate to drivers who has the right of way and who needs to yield, T&T member Patrick Ryan added.

“And when you put a stop sign where it doesn’t belong,” Abrams said, “it actually causes more traffic hazards … cars just blow through it because there isn’t sufficient side traffic.”

Still, Abrams and Ryan said they would support a stop sign at the Rutgers location since city engineers have determined it meets the criteria.

Other board members took issue with the sign’s proposed placement.

“It seems southbound traffic is the problem,” member Ross Rudolph said. “I don’t understand that.”

Soderstrom agreed that the traffic and speeding problems are in “the opposite direction of where the proposed stop sign potentially might be.”

Being that the proposed location doesn’t meet Soderstrom’s concerns, “we need some clarification, more information,” Abrams said.

The board voted unanimously to continue the item to its meeting Tuesday, July 18, pending clarification on the city’s rationale for the sign’s location.

Other T&T news

Eads Avenue is marred with spots of disrepair and fading parking lines.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

Eads Avenue: T&T will help a group of residents appeal to the city to improve the state of Eads Avenue.

Residents have formed the Eads Avenue Improvement Group, which wants new parking space striping, repavement and pedestrian safety measures along the length of Eads between Rushville Street at La Jolla High School and Prospect Street.

“Something really does need to be done,” said Henry LaHaie, spokesman for the improvement group and president of a homeowners association that includes his residence at Eads and Silver Street.

Eads is a wide concrete street that LaHaie said is in such disrepair that “the cracks at times are so wide, weeds are growing in them.”

“The street has been patched any number of times … with asphalt,” creating more problems, he said.

LaHaie and other residents of Eads Avenue — many of whom attended the T&T meeting — also would like the parking space lines redrawn because they have faded and are no longer visible in some areas.

“You’re not even sure if you’re in between the lines or not,” LaHaie said. “It needs to be fixed.”

He also said speeding and reckless driving create danger for pedestrians crossing the street.

The efforts to improve Eads started when the La Jolla Light published a series of articles about the state of local streets, he said.

The Eads Avenue Improvement Group coalesced and met with Steve Hadley, field representative for San Diego City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla.

Hadley advised the group to reach out to Earley and circulate a petition, which so far has gathered more than 75 signatures from residents, LaHaie said.

“I’m confident that we … will have many, many more signatures,” he said.

Hadley said at the T&T meeting that LaCava has requested restriping along all of Eads.

Earley said the board would push for the striping and forward the petition to the city “because that shows how many people are interested and are noticing these problems.”

The board also will ask for “traffic-calming opportunities,” Earley said.

As concrete is expensive to replace, the repaving request is likely “far down the road,” he added.

Officer nominations: The June 20 meeting also served as the board’s annual meeting, during which nominations are solicited for chair, vice chair and secretary.

Only one nomination was made for each position: Earley to continue as chairman, Eric Gantzel to be vice chairman and Donna Aprea to continue as secretary.

Elections will take place at the July 18 meeting. ◆