La Jolla lifeguard station upgrades prompt city visit

By Dave Schwab

Staff Writer

City officials were in La Jolla last week to discuss plans for a disabled ramp upgrade for the Cove lifeguard tower and a new lifeguard station and rescue vehicles facility in La Jolla Shores.

City engineer Jihad Sleiman and architect Rick Espana of Roesling Nakamura Terada Architects met at the Cove with a group of La Jollans Aug. 11 to receive their input, cluing them in on options being considered to make the small Cove lifeguard tower accessible to the disabled.

“There is a legal requirement to provide access - we’ve got to do it,” said Sleiman. Espana’s firm has come up with a conceptual plan with four basic ramp options of varying lengths, slopes and configurations that will follow the terrain.

“We wanted to be flexible and make sure whatever we do has minimal impact in terms of views,” he said. “We didn’t want something that stands out and becomes this focal point. The idea was to try and be as low impact as possible, while at the same time support the city by providing a secondary access ramp to the (Cove Station’s) midlevel landing.”

Patrick Ahern, a member of the La Jolla Town Council’s Parks and Beaches Committee, suggested planners consider providing “cubbies” - public storage space, for beach users to store their gear.

“We’re running out of time,” cautioned Sleiman who said he would make a presentation on the status of Cove improvements at the Parks and Beaches Committee’s next meeting on Sept. 27.

Sleiman said the city would like to begin construction ramp improvements, likely to take about eight months to complete, in September or October of 2011.

Perri Storey, senior public information officer for the city’s Engineering and Capital Projects Department was joined on Aug. 13 by Jennifer Nichols Kearns of the Pollution Prevention Division and engineers Jeff Soriano and Jihad Sleiman to talk about two Shores projects: the lifeguard facilities set to start in November and repaving the Kellogg Park lot with pavement to assist with runoff.

That project “will catch whatever drainage comes through the parking lot and allow it to just percolate into the ground,” said Soriano.

Kearns explained that runoff will be filtered through gravel to “help it to become natural groundwater.”

The parking lot work, which will be done in two phases closing only one side of the parking lot at a time, is to begin in October or November and be completed in May 2011.