By Pat Sherman
During its June meeting the La Jolla Town Council (LJTC) heard a presentation on $6.5 billion in planned North County transportation improvements to occur in phases during the next 40 years — as well as the closer-at-hand expansion of the San Diego trolley line to east La Jolla, UTC and the UC San Diego campus.
Caltrans Interstate 5 Corridor Director Allan Kosup told LJTC trustees the 27-mile North Coast Corridor project, spanning from La Jolla north to Oceanside, will include highway, rail, bike and pedestrian improvements, as well as $200 million for restoration of lagoons and designation of natural habitat. Between the freeway and rail system, 700,000 people currently travel the North Coast Corridor each day, he said.
About 50 percent of the rail line, which is currently single track, will be double-tracked — work which is already underway in Sorrento Valley.
“When those trains come to the single-lane portions, one of them sits on the side while the other one goes through and that really constrains the amount of capacity we could put on that rail line,” Kosup said.
In addition, four high-occupancy express lanes will be added to the middle of Interstate 5 in North County, which Kosup said will require additional land for the addition of retaining walls in certain spots.
Asked whether that acquisition of space would involve eminent domain, Kosup said about 40-50 residences will need to be relocated. “The rest might be just partial acquisitions or encroachments,” he said. “We go through a very fair process. We pay fair market value, and we have a relocation program.”
Kosup said a bike and pedestrian trail running along state Route 56 that currently ends at the I-5 will be expanded west to the beach, tunneling under I-5.
Caltrans will seek a special coastal development permit from the California Coastal Commission next year to cover the project for the next 40 years, with assurances with each phase of the work conforms to the original plans.
“That was important, because we don’t want to start building things and then not be able to finish them.” Kosup said. “From the Coastal Commission’s standpoint, they want assurances that we live up to our promises.”
In addition, the project includes replacing the five-lane overpass bridge at I-5 and Genesee Avenue with a 10-lane bridge to relieve congestion.
Mid-Coast trolley project
The expansion of the trolley line into the La Jolla area is expected to be under construction by 2015, with service beginning in 2018.
Six trolley stops are planned near La Jolla as part of the Mid-Coast Corridor Transit Project light rail expansion, including: Nobel Drive at La Jolla Village Square shopping center; the Veterans Administration Medical Center at 3550 La Jolla Village Drive; Pepper Canyon (UCSD west campus); Voigt Drive (adjacent Scripps Memorial Hospital); Executive Drive and Genesee Avenue; and Westfield UTC mall.
La Jolla Parks & Beaches board president Dan Allen said the La Jolla Community Plan calls for transportation to get La Jollans from the Village to trolley stations along I-5, though he said there he hasn’t seen such a provision in current Mid-Coast plans.
“There’s absolutely no plans for shuttles or connections or any facilitation of feeders into the trolley line,” Allen said. “What they told me was that the way to get up to
the trolley was to take the No. 30 bus, which right now wiggles all the way through La Jolla Shores, crosses the UCSD campus
and then finally will reach the trolley. Then, when it gets there the nearest stop will have a 1,000-foot walk (to the trolley station). … It sounds like we’re not going to be served at all well by this project.”
Jim Linthicum, director of mobility for the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) told the
La Jolla Lightparking would be provided for La Jolla trolley riders at the La Jolla Village Square and Westfield stations — details he said SANDAG is currently negotiating with the operators of both shopping centers.
“These are the types of details we’re going to be working out as we go through the environmental process and into final design,” he said. (The public comment period on the project’s draft environmental impact report closes July 17. The report can be read at sandag.org/midcoast).
For more information on both projects, visit
In other LJTC news
Dancing with … Anderson Cooper?
Nancy Gardner, chief organizer with La Jolla’s first Dancing with La Jolla Stars fundraiser, said she is in discussions to have Adrianne Haslet-Davis participate in the event.
Haslet-Davis is a professional dancer, who lost her leg in the Boston Marathon bombing.
“She is now in rehab and wants to join us and dance if she can,” Gardner said. “She just got her first (prosthesis), which is a little bit of a rough recovery, but assuming that she will have recovered by October, she will be part of our show. I think she was on Anderson Cooper’s show and there’s a possibility he’ll be coming as well.” (The CNN anchor’s uncle, Harry Cooper, is a La Jolla resident).
“This is not something to shirk,” Gardner said. “All the monies will be going to La Jolla projects that need attention that are not getting the attention from the city.”
Also confirmed to dance in the competition are Mayor Bob Filner and City Councilmember Kevin Faulconer. choreographer Mary Murphy of TV’s “So You Think You Can Dance” will emcee and Assistant Chief of Police Shelly Zimmerman will serve as a judge.
Tickets to the event, 6-10 p.m. Oct. 5 at the La Jolla Torrey Pines Hilton, are $175 each or $325 for two. For tickets or more information, call Gardner at
Coastal Access and Parking
La Jolla’s Coastal Access and Parking Board is seeking input on how to spend roughly $400,000 in development fees to improve parking and ease traffic congestion in the Village. Parking Board member and LJTC trustee Michael Dershowitz suggested a bicycle program like Citi Bike, New York City’s new bike share program. “I encourage you all to come up with your own ideas … and I’ll submit those,” he said. To submit ideas, e-mail Dershowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dershowitz also noted that the city is sending fewer permit applications to the La Jolla Planned District Ordinance (PDO) committee for review.
“Reviews by the city are considered to be ministerial in many instances, which are basically just a remodeling of what was there before, and are not being referred to the PDO for our own review,” he said. “What that means is that we often disagree after the fact with what the city had approved in La Jolla. … Certainly, that’s not the best way to have to proceed.”
However, Dershowitz said PDO members are pleased with a new program initiated by the city that uses trained volunteers to assist with code compliance — a program the PDO hopes to be involved with, he said.