La Jolla planners authorize use of San Diego funds for sidewalk reconstruction next to Scripps Park

Widening the Scripps Park sidewalk next to Coast Boulevard is a primary request of La Jolla groups to the city of San Diego.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

Money from La Jolla’s share of development impact fees will give the project a ‘foothold,’ City Council member says.


When several La Jolla community planning groups got together this year to create a wish list of projects for the city of San Diego to do, widening the sidewalk next to Scripps Park topped the list for the second year in a row.

Also like last year, resurfacing the La Jolla Shores boardwalk is a close second among requests the groups intend to submit to the city of San Diego.

July 22, 2023

And looking to get the project off the ground, City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, announced at the La Jolla Community Planning Association’s meeting Sept. 7 that city funds known as development impact fees may be available.

Development impact fees are one-time charges levied by local governments on developers of new projects to help recover growth-related infrastructure and public service costs.

“I heard loud and clear as you started to develop your infrastructure priorities that the sidewalk on Coast Boulevard next to Scripps Park was a very high priority,” LaCava told the board. “Rather than wait for the formal process to get along, let’s get moving on it.”

He told LJCPA that it could authorize the use of La Jolla’s portion of San Diego development impact funds to provide the seed money.

Thus, the board voted unanimously to support the use of La Jolla’s DIF funding for the widening of the sidewalk.

In the past, the La Jolla community groups would submit separate lists and the city would pick one or two projects based on priorities and funding availability. But last year, looking to present a united front, representatives of the Community Planning Association, La Jolla Shores Association, Bird Rock Community Council and La Jolla Parks & Beaches group got together to produce a list of projects to submit to the city. Widening and rebuilding the Scripps Park sidewalk next to Coast Boulevard was No. 1 on last year’s list and La Jolla Shores boardwalk resurfacing was No. 2.

The groups repeated the exercise this year and collectively drafted their new list in July. Widening and rebuilding the sidewalk at Scripps Park again topped the list of capital improvement projects, with the Shores boardwalk a close second.

“We’re looking to get that sidewalk project off the ground and identified as a capital improvement project … but there is a tedious process to go from ‘The community wants this and the council member supports it’ to get into the [city] bureaucracy,” LaCava said.

San Diego City Councilman Joe LaCava
San Diego City Councilman Joe LaCava speaks at the La Jolla Community Planning Association’s meeting Sept. 7 at The Bishop’s School.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

DIF funds have been used on several projects, “so the fund balance is a little on the small side, but it gets us started on a project that clearly everybody wants,” LaCava said.

The fund balance for La Jolla was about $80,000 the last time LaCava checked, he said. He acknowledged that with an estimated cost of $250,000, depending on the width, “that is not going to be enough for that length of sidewalk. But it will give us that foothold we need to get it into the system.”

LaCava said the sidewalk would be completely replaced, though there are no design concepts right now.

For the width the city is proposing, “imagine the concrete sidewalk that is there now and the dirt next to it. That gives you an idea,” LaCava said. He said it ultimately could be 8 to 12 feet wide.

There is no schedule for when the work could begin.

One past project in La Jolla funded with development impact fees was construction of a sidewalk from the Wedding Bowl park up to the larger sidewalk on Coast Boulevard. ◆