At its August meeting, La Jolla Parks & Beaches (LJPB) advisory board re-opened discussion on a city-funded Coast Walk Feasibility Study to see if more public parking is possible along the scenic stretch. Originally addressed in June (the board did not meet in July), the board reviewed its request to have the city examine the area.
Coast Walk — a short street west of Torrey Pines Road between Prospect Place and Amalfi Street — is a paved, residential road that connects to the Coast Walk trail and scenic path that starts at Goldfish point. The view from the point at which Coast Walk and the Coast Walk trail meet sweeps the ocean from La Jolla Shores to the Cove.
The driveway onto Coast Walk from Torrey Pines Road is narrow with the curbs painted red, except for two segments large enough for two cars each. However, there is no form of turnaround at the end of the paved street, nor is there a way to determine whether there are any parking spaces available.
LJPB member Melinda Merryweather reminded the group that this was the second time they were requesting a parking feasibility study from the city. The first was in 2011 when they sent a letter asking the city to include in an upcoming budget a study that would provide a bluff stability and drainage analysis to determine geological constraints, a map of the lines of the public right of way, and an analysis of traffic safety and fire department access issues.
At its June 2015 meeting, the request to re-send the letter and remind the city of the project’s priority with the group was discussed, with participation from residents in opposition. It was voted down 5-6-4, reportedly because some LJPB members thought they were voting to install parking in the area or take other direct action.
Asserting the letter is a request for information, rather than a call for action, Merryweather said the topic needed to be re-discussed to address the confusion.
“We were not voting for parking on Coast Boulevard,” Merryweather said. “We were and are asking for the city to study the area, that’s it.”
Member Ken Hunrichs added, “We need that information before we can even see what’s possible. Until we (have the results of that study), we can’t know what we might want to put in that place.” As was the case at the June meeting, residents opposed to the possibility of adding more public parking to their street were on hand to voice their concerns. To assuage those concerns, a subcommittee formed consisting of LJPB members and any interested parties.
The subcommittee will meet to determine an amenable solution for all concerned, which could be implemented based on the results of the study — should the city decide to fund it. the board also voted 12-2 to re-send the letter asking for the study to be included in the city’s next year’s budget.
Those interested in joining the sub-committee may contact LJPB through its website: lajollaparksandbeaches.org
In other LJPB news
■ Cove restrooms restoration update: LJPB member Judy Adams Halter, who is spearheading the private/public project to replace the Scripps park restroom facility, announced she was given a tentative construction schedule by the city. Halter privately raised the funds to have architectural firm Safdie Rabines draw up schematic designs for community and LJPB to approve before handing them over to the city for construction. The project is currently in the engineering phase, she reported.
“The restrooms should be going to the design phase in October, where the city will decide what their process will be in picking the architect,” she said. “Our hope is that they do a RFQ (Request For Qualification) so that Safdie Rabines will be able to participate. That will probably take four to five months. Then the architect will take about a year to design the restroom pavilion, so it looks like the project goes out to bid for builders around March 2017, and we are planning on the facility being opened in September 2019.”
■ Whale View Point parking ‘unfeasible’: As part of the piecemeal Whale View point Shoreline enhancement project — a multi-year, multi-component project to improve the area along Coast boulevard — project organizer Ann Dynes reported on her efforts to remove parking along the west side of Coast Boulevard.
With the intent of opening up the ocean view, Dynes said she was researching the possibility of removing the parallel parking on the west side of the street and installing diagonal spaces on the east side. Through her research, Dynes met with city engineers who said the street is too narrow to accommodate diagonal parking, so that component “does not appear to be feasible,” she said, adding she and her city contacts are “still working on it.”
In the meantime, Dynes said the next task is removing some of the overgrown vegetation at the Wedding bowl to reveal the wall underneath and re-vegetating the surrounding area. “The retaining wall around the Wedding bowl is one of these 100-year-old cobblestone walls, and it was completely covered with aloe and grass,” she said. “The city has trimmed (the enveloping plant life). It looks a little rough because it exposes dead growth, but we are going to plant some goldenrod and other plants behind the aloe.” Read more about the project at whaleviewpoint.org
■ Concours d’Elegance draws ire: Typically, when a presenter for an annual event says there is no change from the previous year, that’s a good thing, but with the Concours d’Elegance car show presentation, that was a problem. The 12th annual car show is set to take place April 8-10, 2016, said organizer Michael Dorvillier.
The event takes up nearly all of Scripps park and organizers fence off the area, with the exception of a ribbon around the park on the ocean side. planners use the backs of park benches as a marker to abut the fences, so parkgoers can sit on a bench and view the ocean.
but each year, LJPB members request that a small portion of the park be left open for visitors and residents who want to use the park. “If we do that, we do not have the room to hold this event successfully,” Dorvillier said. To which board member Merryweather replied, “This bothers me every year.”
The La Jolla Concours is listed by Octane Magazine as one of the top three Concours events in the world. Last year it netted $80,000 — 90 percent of which went to the La Jolla Historical Society and the remaining 10 percent to the Monarch School for homeless children.
Calling the closure a “minor imposition,” Dynes said, “We don’t want to become so self-absorbed that we can’t open our community up to good things.” A motion to support the event, with the fence lines presented, passed 12-4.
■ Tree removal in Heights Park: To accommodate a home rebuild on the 7000 block of Brodiaea Way, off Encelia Drive, Claude-Anthony Marengo, a principal with Marengo-Morton Architects, requested board support for removing a cluster of 10 eucalyptus trees in La Jolla Heights Natural park and re-vegetating the area.
Marengo said the eucalyptus trees are dense, non-native to the environmentally sensitive lands in the canyon, and known for falling down and posing a fire hazard. City Park & Rec Open Space Division manager Laura Ball said, “We’ve developed a policy by which people can propose to remove trees on open space with the requirement that it be more of a re- vegetation project than a tree removal project, with the intent of establishing native habitat as a benefit to open space.”
Although in support of re-vegetating the area, board members had concerns over what type of vegetation would be used. Ball said the plants would have to be native and only require water to be established, and tentatively included bushes and shorter trees. With board members hopeful that the eucalyptus would be replaced with other tall trees, marengo said he didn’t object and would return to a future meeting with a new vegetation plan.
At the suggestion of city staff, Marengo also presented the proposal to the La Jolla Community planning (LJCPA) during its Sept. 3 meeting at La Jolla Rec Center.
The project’s landscape architect, David McCullough, said the city suggested replacing the eucalyptus with trees and/or vegetation of a similar height. Marengo and McCullough are proposing to plant either coastal live oak or Torrey pines, as well as several varieties of coastal sage scrub at ground level. A temporary irrigation system would be added to assure the trees and scrub take hold, Marengo said.
Though coast live oak and Torrey pines can be found locally, and would do well in that location, neither tree is native to that area, McCullough said.
In the end, the LJCPA voted 9-5-1 to let LJPB hear the item again before it makes its own recommendation or considers the issue as a consent agent item. The LJCPA’s motion suggested the applicant present the proposed replacement trees and vegetation to parks and beaches, and also provide a letter of support from the neighbor whose property includes several of the eucalyptus trees slated for removal.