Bird Rock resident upset over city’s hesitancy to repair street in La Jolla

By Pat Sherman

It has been four months since Joseph Chalmers asked the city about repairing a heavily-traveled stretch of Forward Street east of La Jolla Boulevard.

Chalmers wrote to District 1 City Councilmember Sherri Lightner: “Several streets in much less need have recently been resurfaced in the Bird Rock area. ... Even now cars swerve to avoids cracks and holes in the crumbling surface, creating a hazardous driving condition.”

An inspection of the street by the

La Jolla Light

found more than five blocks of deep craters and fissures in the street.

On Dec. 10, Janie Hoover, a representative from Lightner’s office, told Chalmers via e-mail that the stretch of Forward Street in question is scheduled for two different infrastructure projects — a sewer pipeline rehabilitation project to begin in November and be completed by October 2014, and a sewer pipeline replacement project scheduled to begin August 2015 and completed by September 2016.

Hoover told Chalmers the street would be evaluated for resurfacing upon completion of the projects, in 2016.

Chalmers responded, “Four years seems a long time for the city to be risking a liability that could exceed the cost of resurfacing.”

Though the city’s Streets Division patched several of the Forward Street potholes near a roundabout at La Jolla Hermosa Avenue, many of the worst, deepest potholes were left untouched.

“It’s too bad it’s a nip and tuck, but I guess it’s better than nothing,” Chalmers told the

La Jolla Light

, upon learning that patches were scheduled.

A representative for Lightner’s office assured Chalmers that her office would “continue to monitor the situation to see if there are other short-term, cost-effective fixes that can be implemented prior to the upcoming scheduled infrastructure projects.”

A 2012 San Diego County Infrastructure Report Card prepared by the American Society of Civil Engineers downgraded San Diego’s surface transportation from a C to a D+. The city’s parks and recreation facilities also fell from a B-minus to a C.

The reason the county’s surface transportation grade decreased, the report found, is “primarily due to the assumption that planned public transportation improvements are based on a 45 percent contribution from state and federal sources. Based on current economic conditions, the report says that assumption may be “overly optimistic.”

“We already see the effects of reduced funding with our local roadways not being maintained (and) the condition of our highways starting to deteriorate,” the report states.

Lightner is vice-chair of the San Diego City Council’s newly formed Infrastructure Committee. Asked to respond to a variety of questions about her work on the committee and plans for improving La Jolla’s infrastructure, her representative referred the

La Jolla Light

to committee Chair Mark Kersey for answers.

“Council President Pro Tem Lightner, of course, will coordinate with Council- member Kersey to ensure that the communities of District 1, including La Jolla, will have ample opportunity to provide their input on in- frastructure priorities,” Lightner representative Jennifer Davies responded, adding that it is “premature” to divulge the “specifics on which projects should be priorities in La Jolla.”

Lightner also e-mailed the following: “I look forward to working with Councilmember Kersey, my committee colleagues, the mayor’s office and the community to ensure that we have a workable and common sense plan to begin to tackle the city’s infrastructure needs so that we can deliver the roads, parks, libraries, fire stations and other amenities that all San Diegans deserve.”

The Lightner plan

In a Jan. 23 memo to Kersey, Lightner said her top committee priority for 2013 is to develop a five-year capital improvement program plan, which she said should include input from the mayor, independent budget analyst, city staff, community members and other stakeholders.

The plan should included deferred and routine maintenance needs, a list of unfunded and future projects and identification of viable funding sources, she said.

In the memo, Lightner said that within the coming year the committee should identify funding for the construction of the Torrey Pines Corridor Project (a top priority infrastructure project in La Jolla, according to the La Jolla Community Planning Association).

• To suggest additional infrastructure repairs and needs in La Jolla, contact

Sherri Lightner’s office


(619) 236-6611.