Some recommendations for Via Capri route changes are in sight

After a lengthy study of the need to calm traffic along La Jolla’s Via Capri, the city of San Diego is looking to implement some recommendations, according to Brian Earley, chairman of the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board.

In April, the council gave its support to four measures: completely repaving the Via Capri; retread it to reduce the track width from 12½ feet to 11 feet; add buffered bike lanes; and repair or replace the three solar panels warning drivers to slow down.

Earley said city officials were looking to reduce street lanes and a solar panel on the north side up Via Capri was replaced “and a full system check was done for a good functioning”.

The board was told last month that the city’s new budget for fiscal year 2022-23 includes $1.08 million to repave the entire Via Capri.

City traffic engineer Gary Pence said in an email that Earley shared with the La Jolla Light that bike lanes on the Via Capri are undesirable because the city should remove parking, which Pence added could also encourage speeding.

Steve Hadley, representing the office of Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, said July 20 that resurfacing means that the asphalt portions will be repaved to asphalt and the concrete portions to concrete.

“I want to tell those who don’t feel like they’re getting everything they want [that] there will come a time after SDG&E [finishes its current work to replace underground power cables that] the city will come back and resurface all over this street and give us another opportunity to meet some of these demands,” Hadley said.

The cable project is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2023. Once SDG&E resurfaces the parts it unearthed during its project, the city resurfaces everything else.

Event Closures

Members of the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board and others meet July 20 online.

(Elisabeth Frausto)

The Traffic & Transportation Board continued a discussion on possible standards for street closures for private events in La Jolla Village, progressing to a document intended to streamline the approval process for such events.

The issue was originally listed as an action item on the agenda for T&T’s July 20 meeting, but Earley said he needed more information and that with several board members directors unable to attend the meeting, the matter would only be a discussion.

The conversation was part of a series of such discussions following two road closures approved for private events, one on Memorial Day, May 30, and the other on June 25, a Saturday.

Each was a baraat, a procession in an Indian wedding in which the groom rides a horse or elephant in the ceremony, accompanied by his family members.

Since the two baraats took place on days when tourists normally flock to La Jolla, the road closures raised concerns among T&T board members about the effects on traffic and parking.

“Any weekend in La Jolla between Memorial Day and Labor Day is a busy time,” Earley said.

He said he watched the June 25 baraat and “it went really well. It was a very exciting event to watch from the outside.

Earley shared a working document with guidelines for approving similar special events in the future, noting that the document is not final. After T&T’s approval, it will be transferred to the La Jolla Community Planning Association and the San Diego Department of Special Events and Filming for comment. The latter issues permits for such events.

The guidelines would only apply to special processions for private events within the village, Earley said, and are intended to minimize “time and disruption to traffic, parking and businesses while celebrating the ceremony and the cultural benefits of these events”.

Earley reiterated previous remarks that big events like this bring in thousands of dollars in hotel and other tourism revenue.

The guidelines include previously determined city blackout dates when events will not be approved due to the engagement of public safety resources such as traffic control and police officers elsewhere in San Diego.

This list for 2022 includes Independence Day (July 4), Halloween (October 31), and New Year’s Eve (December 31), as well as some big event dates, such as Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego. Marathon (held June 5) and La Jolla Concours d’Elegance (April 22-24).

T&T board member Nancy Warwick suggested adding Memorial Day and Labor Day to a La Jolla-specific list.

Board member Bill Podway said blocking Memorial, Independence and Labor days would be overkill, noting that Indian weddings are often planned at culturally designated auspicious dates and times.

Removing money-making opportunities from hotels and other village traders is also undesirable, Podway said.

The guidelines currently include the idea for T&T to work with popular wedding venues in the Village, such as La Jolla Cove Hotel & Suites and La Valencia Hotel, “to ensure the event starts at a certain time. [and] ends at some point,” Earley said.

The guidelines could also state that closed parts of a street would be reopened after the motorcade passed, without waiting for the event to end, Earley said.

The guidelines could also impose a two-hour limit on street closures.

Podway suggested adding a maximum of two or three blocks. ◆

About Jean R. Manzer

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