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Tarnishing Our Jewel: La Jolla residents want city to fix public stairs off Prospect Street

Ocean Lane, a jewel of a staircase off Prospect Street, has fallen into a tarnished state, say a couple who reside there.

The owners of these 1920s cottages say the city has neglected the condition of this heavily trafficked pedestrian throughway from Prospect Street to Coast Boulevard South, known as Ocean Lane. Liza and Paul Breuninger say they have seen people trip while traversing the public stairway.
The owners of these 1920s cottages say the city has neglected the condition of this heavily trafficked pedestrian throughway from Prospect Street to Coast Boulevard South, known as Ocean Lane. Liza and Paul Breuninger say they have seen people trip while traversing the public stairway.
Pat Sherman

While many people are familiar with the public stairway adjacent La Valencia Hotel that dips from Prospect Street to the La Jolla Cove, a lesser known jewel of a staircase at the other end of Prospect Street (adjacent Smashburger) has fallen into a tarnished state, say a couple who reside in one of four 1920s cottages along the public stairway, named Ocean Lane.

Liza and Paul Breuninger say they have seen people trip while traversing the public stairway adjacent their cottage home off Ocean Lane.
Liza and Paul Breuninger say they have seen people trip while traversing the public stairway adjacent their cottage home off Ocean Lane.
Pat Sherman

Liza and Paul Breuninger say they have been urging the city to repair and maintain the cracked steps descending from Prospect Street to Coast Boulevard South for several years, though to date only minor patchwork has been completed — in 2013. The couple says the steps are also stained from grease leaking out of a nearby restaurant, and littered with trash and cigarette butts from Prospect Street employees and tourists.

Liza and Paul Breuninger say Ocean Lane is often littered with cigarette butts and other debris from Prospect Street employees and others using the stairway as a shortcut to the coast.
Liza and Paul Breuninger say Ocean Lane is often littered with cigarette butts and other debris from Prospect Street employees and others using the stairway as a shortcut to the coast.
Pat Sherman

“Progressively the steps have been deteriorating,” said Liza Breuninger, who is president of the cottage owners’ homeowner association. “The city did come out, but they did the minimal of work. It’s worse now than it was before.”

Paul Breuninger added he feels “Ocean Lane gets shortchanged when it comes to city funding for this heavily trafficked (staircase). Ocean Lane is in constant use by the tens of thousands of tourists each year — as evidenced by all the trash, cigarette butts and stains from discarded foods and spilled beverages that have all been left behind,” he said.

 Aerial photo of Ocean Lane circa 1965.
Aerial photo of Ocean Lane circa 1965.
Pat Sherman

Jennifer Kearns, communications director for the office of San Diego City Council president Sherri Lightner, said May 1 Lightner’s office has been in contact with the city’s Transportation & Stormwater Department about the issue, and confirmed that a second active request to repair the steps has been assigned. Kearns said she would report back with a date in which the work will be completed.

• Fellow La Jollans: Please send La Jolla Light your leads of Village eyesores and we will go after the perpetrators. E-mail the scenarios and attach a photo, or call us and we’ll investigate who or what is Tarnishing Our Jewel! Reach Editor Susan DeMaggio at (858) 875-5950 or e-mail: editor@lajollalight.com

Liza and Paul Breuninger say they have been urging the city to repair and maintain the cracked steps descending from Prospect Street to Coast Boulevard South in La Jolla for several years, though to date only minor patchwork has been completed — in 2013.
Liza and Paul Breuninger say they have been urging the city to repair and maintain the cracked steps descending from Prospect Street to Coast Boulevard South in La Jolla for several years, though to date only minor patchwork has been completed — in 2013.
Pat Sherman