Looking back on a busy year in La Jolla

By Scott Peters

Council President, First District

Two thousand seven was a busy and productive year for La Jolla. Several major community projects began or were completed, and a number of street-level repairs made our neighborhoods safer and more beautiful.

The highlight of the year was the completion of a significant renovation project at Fire Station 13. Trip Bennett and the La Jolla Sunrise Rotary deserve our thanks for taking on such an ambitious project and transforming an aging, under-equipped station into a real community treasure. The men and women of our fire service have a home and working space with room to move and of which they, and the community, can be proud. I hope we see more of these public-private partnerships in the future.

We began another ambitious project this year, the next installment of the Bird Rock traffic calming and beautification plan. The culmination of years of intense public participation and design review, this project seeks to reduce speed and improve safety along La Jolla Boulevard, and make the commercial zone walkable and attractive for residents in La Jolla. I appreciate efforts by the construction teams to be courteous and flexible to accommodate residents and merchants, and I ask for continued patience as the project proceeds. We can all help by shopping and dining in Bird Rock, and if you live nearby, walk there.

A number of street and parking improvements around La Jolla will create additional parking in other heavily-trafficked areas. Crews removed red curbs to create additional parking spaces on public streets throughout La Jolla, and the bus loading zone at La Jolla Elementary was reduced to accommodate additional cars. In the Shores, the changes have simplified parking time limits, reorganized yellow and green zones, and encouraged delivery trucks to service businesses from the alley instead of blocking the street.

Other notable accomplishments of 2007 include major street and sidewalk upgrades such as the repaving of Torrey Pines Road between La Jolla Village Drive and La Jolla Parkway, and significant portions of Hillside Drive, Hidden Valley Road, and Via Capri; traffic-calming measures along Via Capri; the repair of a heavily-damaged crash barrier at the Throat; a new stairwell at Shell Beach; and dozens of curb cuts and audible signals around town to accommodate the disabled.

One of the most newsworthy developments in La Jolla this year was the decision by the California Supreme Court to uphold Judge William Pate’s ruling ordering the City to restore the Children’s Pool to its historic condition. Work continues to find a way to improve water conditions and allow shared use once more. Any plan devised by the City must be approved by the California Coastal Commission, to ensure that the terms of the court order are carried out in a way that protects and preserves our coastal environment.

Even with all of these accomplishments, this year was not without its troubles. The October 3 landslide ripped through one of La Jolla’s busiest thoroughfares, and displaced dozens of homeowners. Work continues day and night to shore up the hillside and repair Soledad Mountain Road and Desert View Drive. I hope both roads will open in the first part of 2008. We also experienced loss this year, with the tragic death of Emery Kauanui in May. We continue to extend our sympathy to his family as the case against his alleged attackers proceeds.

Two thousand eight promises to be another busy year, as construction is completed along La Jolla Boulevard and the community works to solve long-standing parking problems in and around the Village. It will be a bittersweet year for me personally, as it is the final year of my term as La Jolla’s Councilman. It continues to be an honor to serve you, and I look forward to a momentous and exciting new year.