La Jolla Shores Assoc. discusses outdoor dining, traffic flow issues
By DAVE SCHWAB
La Jolla Shores Association in November heard a plea from a local resident calling for traffic calming on La Jolla Shores Drive, as well as getting an update on outdoor dining by restaurants along the neighborhood’s Avenida De La Playa commercial strip.
On the outdoor dining front, LJSA board member Phil Wise, who was instrumental in working with the City to cut through red tape in getting Shores restaurants to successfully relocate outside, said the relief program is a success. But as expected, Wise said there are obstacles to be overcome in extending outdoor dining into next year to help restaurants cope with continuing COVID restrictions.
“It’s like Groundhog Day, you’ve got to resubmit (permitting) every year,” said Wise adding the City’s Special Events department is not geared to handle long-term requests.
“Special events is really set up for two- to three-day or weekend events, which we are not doing,” he said. “The restaurants are doing pretty well, some have even done better than they did last summer. But of course, we’re going into the winter season.”
Wise concluded the new objective is to get outdoor dining permitting extended into next year for the duration of COVID restrictions. He added he’s even brought up the possibility of forming a business improvement district or a Maintenance Assessment District to resolve the issue long-term but has gotten little response. “It’s like herding cats,” he concluded.
“I’ve lived here for 17 years on La Jolla Shores Drive, which has problems with accidents, speeding and pedestrian safety,” Susan Wiczynski told LJSA board at its Nov. 11 Zoom meeting. “There have been two rollover accidents there recently, and near misses with honking and squealing brakes multiple times a day.”
Added Wiczynski, “I’ve talked with other homeowners and they are unanimous that traffic-calming measures need to be undertaken, putting in traffic circles that have been proven to dramatically reduce speeding while improving traffic flow and reducing accidents by 70 percent. They can also be designed with lighted crosswalks.”
“We’ve looked at this before and it usually takes a Maintenance Assessment District to get something like that done,” responded LJSA president Janie Emerson. “You would need to go through La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Committee. It’s a good suggestion. I just don’t know if you’re going to be able to do that right now with COVID and budget considerations. But I think it’s worth having a conversation about.”