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Letters to the editor: January 3, 2008

Explanation for Bird Rock intersection problems

Two recent letters to the editor re: the LJ Mesa/Linda Rosa/Colima intersection in Bird Rock deserve a response to eliminate concern and confusion.

First, the Bird Rock traffic-calming plan is the result of an intense and inclusive community process that started several years ago. The city developed and is implementing this plan at the request of the Bird Rock community.

As to this specific intersection, the construction is still under way. Improvements at this particular intersection were split into two phases. We can see the first phase now, but a second phase involving the center median, including sewer replacement, will start early next year. Once both phases are complete, including re-striping, the intersection will function safely and encourage slower speeds on both the through and turning movements. Pedestrians and cyclists will have safer paths as well.

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Admittedly, there has been some confusion at the intersection during construction as the contractor did not “erase” the old striping. The old striping combined with the new curb locations makes the first phase improvements seem awkward. We have appealed to the city to direct the contractor to erase the old striping now so that intersection is less confusing and functions as safely as possible in the interim.

Unfortunately, many motorists do not drive safely, obey speed limits, nor respect pedestrians. The improvements are designed to train motorists in all three regards. If they continue to drive with their old bad habits, trying to short a turn or driving at excessive speeds, they will get into trouble such as hitting the new curbs. If motorists take the time to understand the changes and drive the speed limit they can safely and easily negotiate the intersection to the benefit of all.

Comments regarding Colima ignore that this street has always been a narrow street and nothing has changed the fact that two cars can not pass when there are cars parked on both sides. Despite that narrow passageway, some motorists used Colima as a shortcut and frequently exceeded the 25 mph speed limit exposing residents, children walking to school, and other cars to danger. The recent improvements at the north and south ends will help in reducing traffic speed and make Colima safer for everyone.

While this letter focused on one intersection certainly the comments apply to all the traffic-calming improvements currently under way in the Bird Rock neighborhood and on the boulevard. While there is temporary inconvenience, and regrettably some confusion during construction, once it is all complete and motorists adapt to the improvements, Bird Rock will be a safer place to drive, walk and bike.

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Joe LaCava

Bird Rock

Paid parking would not be beneficial

In addition to the reasons stated in previous letters, I oppose paid parking in La Jolla as inefficient and abusive. It would be inefficient because the cost of installing and running parking meters as a means for the City of San Diego to collect more revenue from La Jolla would be wasteful given that existing tax programs are already in place which could raise more revenue if needed and approved by voters. It would be abusive because it would take away the public’s pleasure, convenience, and efficiency of meter -free street parking for no reason that I can imagine other than perhaps an aesthete wish to see empty spaces on the street or an economic wish to fill for-pay spaces underground.

The cost of maintaining the streets is the same whether all the parking spaces are empty or full. The City of San Diego already receives more revenue from La Jolla than it returns in services so it would be abusive to try to get more with a street parking tax. It also would be inefficient because the irreparable harm to La Jolla’s unique low-key village atmosphere would be reflected in real estate prices which determine more tax revenue than can be expected from a street parking tax.

The harm to La Jolla would be much more than economic, it would also include a loss of unique cultural identity in which free parking welcomes visitors to enjoy this seaside village without regard to the ability to pay.

John A. Berol

La Jolla