Westbourne Street gets blinking crosswalk

After an impassioned plea to La Jolla’s Traffic & Transportation advisory board in April for a blinking lighted crosswalk across La Jolla Boulevard at Westbourne Street – the city installed one in mid-August.

At the April meeting, residents came forward reporting they had almost been hit by motorists while attempting to cross the street, which had a continental crosswalk but no blinking indicator lights. They called it “a horror story.” A chief concern was that, without a pedestrian-activated blinking crosswalk or some sort of indicator, even if a car stops for a pedestrian, the second car or third driver in line gets impatient because they don’t know why they’re stopping and they use the left turn lane to pass the car in front of them. Those concerned came before the traffic board and reported writing letters to City Council President Sherri Lightner.

Their wish was granted.

Lightner’s director of communications, Jennifer Kearns, said the Transportation Engineering department evaluated the crosswalk and determined it was eligible for the installation of “Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons” for additional safety.

“We worked with transportation department staff to determine the cost of the crosswalk improvements. Due to a lack of available funding, our office funded the requested improvements through a Community Projects, Programs and Services (CPPS) Funding transfer,” she said.

At that time, they were told the installation could take six months with a fall completion date, “so we are extremely pleased that the installation has been completed this summer,” Kearns said.

The installation is especially important for the high school and middle school students who often use the crosswalk as a route to the beach, as it is a direct connector to WindanSea.

Melinda Merryweather, a vocal proponent for installing a blinking lighted crosswalk (especially for young beach-goers), previously said she has seen a person hit and often struggles to cross at that street on her bike. Noting there is a stoplight one block away, she theorized that drivers will “hit the gas” as soon as the light turns green or race through a yellow light, unaware that there is a crosswalk so close by.