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La Jolla Parks & Beaches advisory group May recap

Melinda Merryweather displays a rendering of the parking spaces she would like to restore on Coast Walk.
Melinda Merryweather displays a rendering of the parking spaces she would like to restore on Coast Walk.
(Ashley Mackin)

La Jolla Parks & Beaches (LJP&B) advisory group heard these community concerns and proposals at its May 18 meeting:

City response to request for action

At its April 27 meeting, the LJP&B issued a letter to the city, giving it until May 30 to address the increased sea lion presence at La Jolla Cove, and problems regarding public access and safety therein. LJP&B chair Dan Allen reported the city received its letter, and planned to have a response by the May 30 deadline, but could not provide one in time for the May 18 meeting.

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A list of recommended actions was listed in the letter and included:

Some form of gate mechanism or other temporary barrier on the stairway leading to/from La Jolla Cove beach to prevent sea lions moving off the beach onto the stairs;

Regular cleanup of sea lion feces from the stairs, deck and walkway areas;

A city program of morning beach inspections and sand cleaning at the Cove.

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This storm drain pipe is reportedly where drug deals are taking place in the Barber Tract.
This storm drain pipe is reportedly where drug deals are taking place in the Barber Tract.
(Courtesy)

Drug use at Marine Street Beach

Cynthia Chasen, representing the Barber Tract Neighborhood Association, returned to the group to report continued and more severe drinking and drug use at Marine Street Beach.

The morning of LJP&B’s meeting, she said a freshwater storm drainpipe large enough for a person or persons to fit was discovered on a Barber Tract beach near Marine Street, and that drug deals were taking place there.

“I’ve lived here for 22 years and didn’t know that pipe was there,” she said. “We’ve been working with police and lifeguards … and they have photos of individuals identified by police as drug dealers going into that pipe.”

Chasan said with the current Level I lifeguard stationed at Marine Street, lifeguards cannot leave their chairs to walk around, and also cannot see from their post all the small coves and the pipe where these exchanges are reportedly happening.

Her husband, Jeff Chasan, added, “The drugs we’re talking about are not just pot. These kids are using heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, Molly (a form of synthetic ecstasy often mixed with drugs such as LSD or speed), etc. It’s not only La Jolla kids, but also other kids.”

He reported there have been fights and other aggressive behaviors as a result of drug use. “We want these issues dealt with before they get out of hand,” Jeff Chasan said.

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Cynthia Chasan added that in an ideal world, a Level II lifeguard would be stationed there. “They would be more seasoned and could write citations,” she said.

Triathlon Challenge

Challenged Athletes Foundation senior director of special events Kristine Entwistle presented plans for this year’s Triathlon Challenge. The 1-mile swim starts and ends at La Jolla Cove, and 44-mile bike ride and 10-mile run start and end at Scripps Park.

The fundraising event for Challenged Athletes Foundation — whose mission is to provide opportunities to people with physical challenges so they can pursue active lifestyles through competitive athletics — is scheduled for Oct. 18.

For last year’s event, organizers had to rearrange the staging area to accommodate construction on the La Jolla Cove lifeguard tower, but with construction on the tower set to be complete in July, the only “new challenge” will be a potential sea lion presence on the stairs and beach.

“Water entry and exit is a big part of the event,” Entwistle said. “So having the two stairways completely open is important.” Volunteers assist those with disabilities in getting up and down the stairs and into the water.

Hopeful that a sea lion removal option will be found before the October event, LJP&B voted unanimously to support the event and its usage of the park and Cove.

Opening up Coast Walk

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LJP&B member Melinda Merryweather said she is exploring how to reinstate as many as four parking spaces near the overlook on Coast Walk, “with a place to turn around so the police and the fire department can get down there,” she said.

Coast Walk, located off Torrey Pines Road northeast of Prospect Place, is a short street leading to the Coast Walk Trail and provides, Merryweather contends, “one of the most beautiful views you will ever see of La Jolla.”

However, residents of Coast Walk seeking privacy had some boulders installed and some of the curbs painted red to discourage parking. The area is still open for public access.

In 2012, LJP&B formed a committee to request a Coast Walk feasibility study be conducted that would include an assessment of the property lines, a geological study of the bluffs and a traffic study.

Since then, the committee has had the study on its list of capital improvements for the city to fund, but the city has yet to do so.

Not willing to wait any longer, Merryweather said she would move forward and determine the cost to have the study conducted and fund subsequent action to open up the parking area.

Merryweather will present her findings at the next LJP&B meeting.

Next meeting

La Jolla Parks & Beaches will meet 4 p.m. Monday, June 22 at La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St. lajollaparksandbeaches.org