By Scott Peters
Newcomers to La Jolla quickly realize that it is verboten to honk a car horn while driving on Neptune Place along Windansea Beach. There’s no traffic sign to specify the rule, but it’s just not done. We all love the beach’s craggy coastline and sandy nooks; surfers worldwide come to ride the demanding waves. In a city with many wonderful beaches, this one is truly special.
Given its popularity, it’s not surprising that Windansea has developed various erosion and drainage issues and parking challenges over time. As part of an ongoing Erosion Control and Maintenance Plan initiated 10 years ago by Friends of Windansea, then approved by the La Jolla Town Council and the City, these problems are in the process of being corrected.
In 2001, I was pleased to contribute to the erosion control and stair repair efforts by helping secure $150,000 in grant funding from the state. I also had the honor of accepting a $100,000 grant to the City from a generous community donor. In 2002, I helped secure additional monies to complete mechanical and electrical repairs to Sewer Pump Station 21.
The groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday marked the start of a two-month project. The goal of this phase, as for the entire plan, is to preserve and enhance the natural character and beauty of the Windansea Beach area.
What can you expect in early November when construction crews have finished their work? The parking area, located just south of the Nautilus Street/Neptune Place intersection, will still accommodate the same number of cars and handicapped parking spaces. However, the area will have been reconfigured to incorporate a walkway between the parking area and the beach so pedestrians have a safe place to walk and watch the sunset. Bicycle and motorcycle riders will find it easier to park, and space will have been allocated so everyone’s gear can be more easily loaded and unloaded. The improvements will also address the drainage and erosion issues. All in all, the beach will be even more welcoming.
Previous improvements to Windansea have included the rebuilding of the oft-photographed and historic shack, reconstruction of Sewer Pump Station 21, replacement and maintenance of protective fencing where needed, and the rebuilding of three public access staircases located at Winamar, Palomar, and Kolmar streets. We recently reopened a portion of the Neptune Place sidewalk that had been closed for some time. At the request of a few concerned neighbors, I brought this to the attention of City engineers and expedited the repair.
We owe our thanks to Jim Neri, Lou Beacham, Melinda Merriweather, and other Friends of Windansea members and donors who have led the planning and provided much of the financing for these projects. Each has helped make Windansea more accessible and safer. If you drive by the beach to see the work in progress, remember not to blow your horn on Neptune Place.