La Jolla’s Traffic & Transportation (T&T) advisory board, comprised of representatives from five community groups, has put this question forward: Should we nix the parking spaces along Torrey Pines Road between Girard Avenue and Prospect Place?
T&T has two members from each of these groups: La Jolla Community Planning Association, La Jolla Town Council, La Jolla Village Merchants Association, Bird Rock Community Council and La Jolla Shores Association. Hopeful that these representatives would take the discussion back to their boards to gather community feedback, T&T chair Todd Lesser introduced the topic at the Jan. 22 meeting.
“I‘ve had multiple people come to me (with this proposal),” he said “But we are also aware that by allowing parking, it provides a traffic calming of sorts because cars will not fly by. So we need to bring this back when we know what the community wants.”
T&T member Tom Brady reported there are 45 parking spaces in question.
Serge and Adriana Issakov, owners of La Jolla Swim and Sport on Torrey Pines Road at Girard Avenue, were in attendance and spoke in favor of keeping the parking for its traffic calming effect, but favored efforts to make it safer to park there.
“You can feel the whole traffic line slow down as soon as motorists approach where those cars are parked,” Adriana Issakov said.
“People back off and try not to drive closely side by side. Without those cars there, other cars would just fly by. It really is the only thing that slows people down.”
However, parking along the busy thoroughfare has its risks, with Serge and Adriana both reporting that cars whizzing by occasionally take off the side mirrors of parked cars. Further, Adriana said people are not always aware that parking is allowed on the block in front of the business, and passing drivers often honk their horns at those trying to parallel park.
La Jolla resident Dan Courtney opined that “the discussion (of removing parking) is going the opposite direction of how it should go,” and that “If you take away the parking being discussed, people are going to go faster, like they do on the other (eastern) side of Torrey Pines Road.”
The item was noticed for discussion only, with the hope it could be readdressed at a later date with more feedback.
‘What can be done?’
Two La Jolla residents came to the board with traffic problems near their residences. Neither proposed a solution, but both asked what the city might do to address their concerns.
Casa de Manana resident Esther Viti said the crosswalk (mid-street on Coast Boulevard South between Eads Avenue and Jenner Street) used by several residents is not safe.
“There is currently a pedestrian-activated lighted crosswalk for those who live across the street but access the main building for meals or events,” she said. However, in trying to cross the street, “I’ve almost been killed five or six times and, on the average of twice a week, someone is almost hit,” she said. She claimed drivers actually accelerate when seeing the pedestrians — often using walkers or wheelchairs — hoping to cross the intersection before the pedestrians do. Chair Lesser said the mostly likely
solution would be a crossing guard, and would relay Viti’s concern to the city to see if there are any other additional safety measures available.
Ed Ward came before the board looking for ways to relieve traffic issues around Nautilus Street, La Jolla Scenic Drive South and Soledad Mountain Road. He argued there are issues both with congestion from parents dropping off children at one of the three schools at the top of Soledad Mountain Road and students using the route to get to UCSD from Pacific Beach, but also issues with people speeding during non- peak hours.
Lesser said he would also relay Ward’s concerns and see what options the city presents.
Art & Wine Fest street closures approved
Although nearly a year away, the board voted to approve the requested street closures for the October La Jolla Art & Wine Festival. The board approved the closure of Girard Avenue between Prospect Street and Torrey Pines Road, starting 6 p.m. Friday Oct. 9 and reopening 11:59 p.m. Sunday Oct. 11.