The La Jolla Board of Traffic and Transportation discussed proposed speed limits and bike lanes this week with the goal of making La Jolla Boulevard safer. The discussions at their January 18 meeting were updates on topics the group had previously heard about.
Lower speed limit: reviewing a September Trinidad and Tobago In discussion, Bird Rock resident Harry Bubbins contended that the 35 mph speed limit on a southern portion of La Jolla Boulevard between Loring and Colima streets is too high and is higher than nearby speed limits.
Bubbins wants the speed limit to be lowered along that stretch, citing a city of San Diego traffic study from February 23, 2022, which said more than 1,100 cars were driving there that day.
“Slowing down can really significantly reduce the number of fatalities and injuries,” Bubbins said.
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Bubbins sent a letter earlier this month to the office of San Diego City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, asking for a lower speed limit and noting that more than 200 people have signed the petition. of Bubbins the cambio.org agreeing that the speed limit should be reduced.
Bird Rock resident Christina Giorgio said, “It’s absolutely insane how people drive on that street. … I really hope that creative minds can come together and make it a safer place for community members.”
LaCava’s field representative, Steve Hadley, said that if T&T or its parent group, the La Jolla Community Planning Association, “wants to go on record asking for a speed limit change whenever possible,” LaCava said so. would support.
“Whatever it is that can help … reduce, as close to zero as possible, injuries and deaths on what is … a main street in La Jolla,” Hadley said.
Bubbins said California Assembly Bill 43which allows municipalities to reduce a speed limit after traffic studies, can be invoked here.
T&T President Brian Earley read a Jan. 12 email in which the city’s Senior Traffic Engineer Gary Pence wrote, “there are parts of AB 43 that have not yet gone into effect that may offer More chances to lower speed limits in the future, but we’ll win.” I don’t know until the law is fully defined.”
Earley added that Pence said he might do another traffic study.
Pence also wrote in the email, that the La Jolla Light obtained, that “reducing the speed limit below 35 mph between Colima Street and Loring Street would make the speed limit unenforceable.”
Patrick Ryan, a long-time T&T Board member, said that “people tend to drive as fast as they feel safe, regardless of speed signs, unless … the signs are enforced. of speed”.
Without enforcement, Ryan said, the new speed limits wouldn’t help. He suggested traffic-calming measures, such as adding curb exits, crosswalks and angled parking to force drivers to slow down.
Will Rhatigan, director of advocacy for the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, said that while “slowing down traffic is a critical public safety issue,” he agreed with Ryan.
Earley said T&T will wait for the city’s Division of Transportation Engineering Operations to respond on further traffic studies.
Bike lanes: T&T also reviewed a city plan presented in october to repaint two portions of Prospect Street and La Jolla Boulevard to include new bike lanes.
The plan, which would adjust the parking, travel and center turn lane measurements along La Jolla Boulevard and make similar changes to Prospect, drew strong criticism from avid cyclists and others upon its initial submission, with many saying it had lanes for bikes with narrow door openings. Areas for parked cars is dangerous.
At the Jan. 18 meeting, Rhatigan presented a draft joint letter from T&T and the Bike Coalition to LaCava to request a Class IV protected bike lane, which is separated from vehicular traffic by flexible poles or another physical barrier, along La Jolla Boulevard between Calle Gravilla and Camino Mesa.
The letter proposes 8-foot-wide bike lanes on both sides of the boulevard with a 3-foot barrier and a barrier between the bike lanes and parking lanes.
The new design would eliminate the center turn lanes, Rhatigan said.
“We want to see the safest bike lanes where people of all ages and abilities feel comfortable riding everywhere,” Rhatigan said.
He added that the proposed design would help calm traffic. “You give drivers much less room to maneuver, which encourages them to slow down.”
Ryan said the design laid out in the letter is “a pretty simple way” to slow traffic, but added that he “would be concerned that removing that turn lane could really choke traffic,” especially around the United Methodist Church of La Jolla.
Rhatigan said bike lanes could be reduced or parking in crowded places eliminated to allow for the retention of center turn lanes.
La Jolla resident Ira Parker expressed frustration with what he called “piecemeal” plans for La Jolla Boulevard. Parker led a subcommittee 2021 to brainstorm ideas to improve pedestrian safety further north on the boulevard through Barber Tract.
Parker said T&T “should seriously develop a task force … to really study the issue” in a broader sense rather than working on smaller segments of the street with multiple people.
“Get organized. … Be serious and study all of La Jolla Boulevard,” he said.
Several La Jollans agreed to form a task force, including frequent cyclist Mike McCormack. “I think more thinking needs to be done on La Jolla Boulevard,” he said.
Earley said the draft letter and the question of a working group could appear on the agenda of the next T&T meeting for action on Wednesday, February 15. ◆