Peninsula stop-sign issue to come to head for planners
by Tony De Garate
May 01, 2013 | 2728 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Are the stop signs along a one-block section of Jennings Street in Wooded Area excessive or just right? It’s become the hottest issue in the neighborhood, and may well draw a full house when the Peninsula Community Planning Board hosts a discussion May 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the Point Loma/Hervey Branch Library, 3701 Voltaire St.

But if Pete Nystrom has his way, it’s going to be a discussion that’s short and to the point. He’s served notice to all involved: come with an agreement, or don’t bother at all.

Nystrom chairs the board’s Traffic and Transportation Committee, which can help a neighborhood get stop signs, speed bumps and the like — even if the city says such a measure isn’t warranted by engineering studies.

But Nystrom has made it clear to the opposing factions: the board is in no position to choose among alternatives. It’ll only put its weight behind a unified proposal of what the neighborhood wants.

“There’s no reason the board should sit there for half an hour while the neighbors argue. If they come in and say, ‘We’ve talked about it and here’s what we want,’ I think the board will vote in favor of it and it’ll go to the city,” Nystrom said.

However, “If those folks cannot come to an agreement, they’re all in warring camps and want to call each other names, all we do is turn it over to the city and say there isn’t any consensus,” he said.

At issue are five stop signs on Jennings Street between Albion Street and Silvergate Avenue, a short stretch that has provoked concerns about hazardous curves and dangerous speeds. Until recently, there were two yield signs and two stop signs. This is where story turns into a bit of a spy novel.

Someone — under cover of night, presumably — unbolted the two yield signs and replaced them with stop signs. It’s apparently easier than one might think— a Beacon reporter found very realistic-looking signs with impressive descriptions on eBay for $25.

No one ever took credit for the covert actions, confirmed Gary Pence, city senior traffic engineer.

After the fact in January, in response to a request from a citizen who had gathered petitions, the planners voted to support the conversion of the yield signs and update the surrounding signage to accommodate the change, according to minutes of the meeting.

Once a planning board makes a request for nonstandard signage, it goes to that board’s City Council representative, who may then give the request a stamp of approval by sending a memo to the mayor, Pence said.

But the city implemented the request by adding the fifth stop sign on Jennings, and a group of neighbors formed to oppose the changes.

“We have not been able to accomplish anything since,” Nystrom said.

If the neighbors don’t agree, Nystrom said he expects the city to remove the changes and restore standard configuration.

In other planning group news

Board members elected the following officers for the next year: Julia Quinn, chairwoman; Mike Ryan, vice chairman; Patricia Clark, treasurer; and Nicole Burgess, secretary.

May 7 is the last day to comment on a draft environmental document for the replacement of a pier and wharf at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography’s Nimitz Marine Facility near the tip of Point Loma, said city planner Tony Kempton. A copy of the plan is available at physicalplanning.ucsd.edu/environmental/MarFac/MarFac_EA_04.03.13.pdf or the Point Loma/Hervey Branch Library.
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