Safety improving, congestion easing near the beachResidents, business owners and visitors seem pleased with improvements to the Shores area of town even as efforts to keep the momentum going continue between locals and city officials.
“We are all exceedingly happy down there about what we’ve done,” said Jim Heaton, chairman of the La Jolla Shores Association, which pushed for the changes.
In addition to rezoning parking between Avenida de la Playa and the beach, the Association has worked with companies that conduct business on the beach such as divers and kayakers.
One of the most significant changes has been allowing operators to keep kayaks and paddles on the beach instead of carrying the equipment back and forth. The gear was bulky and awkward, making it a hazard for sidewalk pedestrians.
“It has made a massive difference in terms of safety and just the tempo of the Shores,” Heaton said.
Sharon Luscomb, who owns La Jolla Kayak on Avenida de la Playa with her husband Michael Luscomb agreed: “Right now, I know that the general consensus on the paddles on the beach is (that it is) working out incredibly.”
Luscomb said the change has meant fewer trips down to the beach to drop off kayaks and less congestion on the sidewalks. She also noted that the lifeguard ambassadors have been helping to manage and enforce traffic flow at the boat launch.
So far, so good“It’s still really busy down there but these are all really nice improvements so far,” Luscomb said.
Parking along the terminus of Avenida de la Playa terminus and the Vallecitos terminus, west of Camino del Oro, has been changed to 15 minutes, just enough time for divers or beachgoers to load and unload their gear without double parking or parking illegally.
Heaton said this has improved access to the boat launch, the beach and Kellogg Park.
In the Shores business district, the changes have created more than 10 new parking spaces, including a designated commercial zone near Piatti’s restaurant.
Another suggestionMary Coakley, a Shores resident, said the improvements have definitely made a difference but she suggested follow up is needed on a few minor issues. She suggests changing the signs at the boat launch to indicate the 15-minute zoning applies seven days a week.
Also, she said it would be helpful to make all four of the new parking spots east of Piatti’s a dedicated commercial loading zone until 11 a.m. Currently, only one of those is for commercial vehicles.
Coakley added that the city has agreed to install a path from Vallecitos to the park between the restrooms and the street to allow easier access.
Heaton said he has not heard back on the association’s request for a park ranger, but the city, especially the office of City Council President Scott Peters, has been responsive on other issues.
“The city is working to find the money to replace the (playground) equipment as we and the Friends of Kellogg Park try to find private funds,” Heaton said.
Pam Hardy, Peters’ communication director, confirmed that funding has been identified but did not have a timeline for when it would be made available.