Locals want action on Torrey Pines

La Jollans seek more safety for pedestrians

At a town hall-style gathering last week on reviving the Torrey Pines Road Corridor study, La Jollans registered their No. 1 priority for the project: enhancing pedestrian safety.

About 50 or so locals turned out on June 17 at the Rec Center for an update on the long-term, multimillion-dollar plan and the prospects of funding it in difficult economic times. The plan for the corridor, approved in concept by the City Council at the end of last year, has already been five years in the making.

But before anything can happen, Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, who called the meeting, said La Jolla’s community advisory groups need to fully vet the project and prioritize its short- and long-term goals. After that, funding sources could be sought to pay for the project, which undoubtedly would be done in several segments over a long period.

A few in attendance last week, like Amalfi Street resident Bill Engel, expressed frustration that the project is still a “concept” and that city government isn’t moving forward more aggressively to fund and implement it.

“Something has already been approved,” he said. “Why should we run it through the process again and prolong it more? I want to know what the next step is to make it happen.”

The traffic-calming and beautification plan covers the three-quarter mile stretch of Torrey Pines Road between La Jolla Shores and the Village.

Sherry Nooravi, a La Jolla newcomer who lives on Torrey Lane, spoke about her top concern with improving La Jolla’s entranceway.

“Safety is the most important thing to us,” she said “The city needs to put in some kind of a sidewalk at least to get people safely to the Village. There’s no way to do it now with cars going by at 60 mph. Please give us safety.”

Resuscitating the the study revived controversy over at least one proposal: constructing a pedestrian-activated traffic signal at Princess Street. Some neighbors believe putting in a light is absolutely essential to promoting corridor pedestrian safety. Others insist it would merely divert traffic into side neighborhoods increasing noise, diminishing air quality and negatively impacting property values.

Lightner said the process of moving the corridor plan forward is going to be long and difficult.

“I’m just asking the community to revisit this,” she said, noting only a small amount of money for bluff stabilization has thus far been identified. “It’s not going to happen next week. We’re not going to magically find money.”

She suggested that forming a Maintenance Assessment District (MAD) - a legal mechanism by which property owners can vote to assess themselves to pay and receive services above and beyond what the city normally provides - would be one option to fund a portion of corridor improvements.

Study recommends:

  • Adding guardrails, bollards and sidewalks;
  • Constructing a 10-foot wide, two-way left-lane median in the center of Torrey Pines west of Viking Way;
  • Creating a marked bike lane and new V-calm speed indicators;
  • Installing transverse striping pavement markers in both directions to discourage speeding;
  • New lighting, landscaping and fencing;
  • Stabilizing bluffs;
  • Creating a view corridor;
  • Adding signage and stormwater drainage.