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‘Teardrop’ at gateway to La Jolla set for makeover

The median strip on the La Jolla Parkway known as ‘The Teardrop’ will be cleaned out and filled with cobblestone-like pavers. Photo: Dave Schwab
The median strip on the La Jolla Parkway known as ‘The Teardrop’ will be cleaned out and filled with cobblestone-like pavers. Photo: Dave Schwab

By Dave Schwab

daves@lajollalight.com

It took Texans to point out to La Jollans that their teardrop-shaped traffic median east of “The Throat” in La Jolla Parkway needed some attention.

The suggestion led the nonprofit La Jolla Community Foundation to take on restoration of the 3,000-square-foot, weed-filled median — nicknamed ‘The Teardrop’ as its latest project. The spot is at the bottom of the hill at the intersection with Torrey Pines Road, across from Fire Station 9.

“We’ve been working on it for probably three months, and it really sort of grew out of a suggestion by good friends in Texas who have second homes here,” said Andy Nelson, a Foundation board member who is heading the project for the organization formed in 2009 to enrich the Jewel’s environmental, social and cultural landscape.

“The idea is to get $55,000 needed in donated funds, then get final approval from the city to get this accomplished as quickly as possible,” said Nelson, adding they have raised about $39,000 to date. “We’re looking to get another $15,000,” he said.

The Foundation board presented the idea of improving the “teardrop” to La Jolla architect Tony Crisafi, who offered to help.

“We came up with the idea of using cobbles working with the city of San Diego’s Development Services Department and we want to get it done before the end of the year,” he said.

Initially, the idea just to “get things cleaned up … We’re just trying to get something started,” he said, adding that later people who want to can “do something more artistic and creative.”

Cobbles, said Crisafi, were determined to be “the smoothest way to get the ripped-up plastic and sand and weeds out of there and something good looking in its place.”

Rectangular-shaped cobbles being used typically pave crosswalks and are manufactured by Belgard Cambridge.

“It should drain well and be easy to maintain,” Crisafi added.

Meanwhile in an unrelated project, the Urban Corps of San Diego has been trimming oleanders and greenery along La Jolla Parkway as part of a $300,000 contract with the Street Division, funded by the city’s general fund, for weed abatement. The work was made in response to requests from Councilwoman Sherri Lightner’s office, according to her spokeswoman Jennifer Davies.

The idea of the teardrop project has the support of at least a couple of community leaders who have said in the past that the area needed help.

“It’s certainly something I think about when I either leave or come into the community as La Jolla Parkway is the grand entrance to La Jolla,” said Joe LaCava, a La Jolla Community Planning Association trustee and former chair.

Noting the ocean view on La Jolla Parkway coming off I-5 and Highway 52 is “full of weeds and trash and looks very unkempt,” he said that “speaks to what we think of our community.”

He said the challenge of doing improvement work the parkway is complicated by the fact that it’s city-owned land, is on a high-speed road and is a main thoroughfare into town.

“It’s very tricky,” he said. “There’s so much traffic there.”

Joe Dicks, a past president of La Jolla Shores Association, said he was “favorably impressed” with plans he’s seen for improving the teardrop.

“The decorative cobbles they’re using will give it a finished look,” he said. “It’s a significant improvement, and it will help cut down on the trash along that roadway.”

Anyone with questions or wishing to contribute can contact Trudy Armstrong at

trudy@sdfoundation.org

or (858) 674-6979.