OPINION: Steer motorcycle officers to better La Jolla locations

By Donald G. Yeckel

La Jolla resident

Traffic safety is much in the La Jolla news these days. The Sept. 9 La Jolla Light had a front-page article with the title “Collision accents safety issues on Torrey Pines Road,” and Joe Parker, president of the Bird Rock Community Council, wrote a “Community Leader’s View” headlined “Bird Rock crash serves as wake-up call to residents” in the same issue.

Joe’s article pleads with “our residents to think twice about their driving habits.” I suggest that he instead plead with the San Diego Police Department Traffic Division to direct its motorcycle unit (popularly known as the “speed cops”) to concentrate on locations with chronic risky driving patterns, instead of locations that are lower risk but where issuing citations is like “shooting fish in a barrel.”

Example? On the same day I read these articles in the Light, I received an SPDP “eWatch Notification Report” telling me that on Aug, 25, there had been 23 traffic citations issued at the intersection of Fay and Genter, where there are four-way stop signs. My guess is that these were issued to people who didn’t come to full stops. This bad habit might be the cause of occasional fender-benders, but I doubt you will ever see a fatality at that intersection.

Fay and Genter seems to be the latest focus of the motorcycle unit, but their favorite location continues to be the 6400 block of La Jolla Scenic Drive South, where they have issued many scores of citations the last several years. Do you drive that street? The speed limit is 25 mph, but that is clearly much too low - it takes a real effort of will to drive even close to that slowly. It’s a classic “speed trap.” (And, no, I’ve never received a ticket there myself, so that’s not why I’m complaining.)

On the other hand, I rarely if ever see eWatch reports of citations being issued in higher-risk locations, like La Jolla Boulevard and Nautilus Street, where there have been many more accidents (including injury accidents). I have several times politely complained about the lack of enforcement on Nautilus Street to the motorcycle officer assigned to La Jolla, directly to the Traffic Division, and multiple times to our City Council representative, all to no avail. I believe that more responsible policing would do more good than newspaper articles asking people “to think twice about their driving habits.”

Is inadequate police coverage that is unresponsive to local needs yet another argument for La Jolla to seek independence from San Diego?