That was the good news delivered by First District councilwoman and president pro-tem Sherri Lightner and city engineers to La Jollans at the Traffic & Transportation Committee’s July 24 meeting.
The Torrey Pines Road Preliminary Project Plan will provide a series of innovative traffic-calming concepts, including a pedestrian-controlled, midblock crossing signal known as a HAWK beacon, in an effort to improve pedestrian access and streamline traffic flow while providing bicycle facilities and accessibility to enhance public safety.
The project study area consists of the area of Torrey Pines Road between Prospect Place in the Village and La Jolla Shores Drive.
The long-term, phased improvement project is broken down into four distinct segments. Segment 1 is located at Torrey Pines Road between Prospect Place to Coast Walk; Segment 2 runs from Torrey Pines Road between Coast Walk to Hillside Drive; Segment 3 is located at Torrey Pines Road between Hillside Drive to Little Street; and Segment 4 runs from Torrey Pines Road between Little Street to La Jolla Shores Drive.
Lightner said the project’s first phase is completely designed and scheduled to go out to bid in August, with construction to begin most likely early next year. “This is the project to make the entire sidewalk on the north, ocean side of the road more pedestrian-friendly and to build a new sidewalk on the south side,” she said.
The councilwoman said a separate project to stabilize slopes on the south side of Torrey Pines is scheduled to being construction next spring.
Lightner said another goal of the first phase will be to “trim vegetation in the public right-of-way on the north side of the road as well as lowering some of the fencing to improve ocean views.” She added that “it could take years to secure” the estimated $25 to $30 million cost of the long-term improvement project.
City engineer David Lee said Torrey Pines Phase 1 improvements will include construction of curb ramps and replacement of existing, damaged sidewalks.
“It will take three or four months to put the project out to bid and award it,” Lee said, adding that construction is estimated to take 85 working days. He noted that the summer and holiday work moratoriums will be observed.
La Jollan Melinda Merryweather implored officials to “remove all the plastic all the way down” on fencing along Torrey Pines Road that is obscuring the public’s view of the ocean. She added the city also ought to look into creating a neighborhood pocket park on a vacant lot on the south side of Torrey Pines Road.
Sherry Nooravi, who lives off Torrey Pines Road and was an early proponent of roadway improvements, thanked the city for its initial work on the project. It’s “a great first step,” she noted.
Engineer Steven Bliss detailed conceptual plans for Phase 2 of Torrey Pines Roadway improvements, not yet funded, which is to include pedestrian and bicycling enhancements and installation of the cutting-edge HAWK beacon.
“Phase 2 will address both Amalfi and Hillside neighborhood pedestrian circulation,” Bliss said, noting the HAWK (High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk) traffic signal beacon will allow pedestrians to cross Torrey Pines Road more safely.
“It’s a very efficient way to handle both pedestrians and vehicles,” said Bliss, noting the beacon would be located midblock between Amalfi and Princess streets.
Bliss said other traffic-calming devices, like buffered bike lanes and stamped, painted asphalt pavement, will be utilized to help slow traffic down and alert vehiclists that they share the road with other users.
Lightner said she was optimistic about the potential for receiving future San Diego Association of Governments grants for Torrey Pines improvements because elements of it promote “active transportation,” enhanced pedestrian and bicycling uses, which she noted are “very popular right now.”
“We’re going to get it done,” said Lightner of the long-term transportation improvement project, though she noted it won’t be completed by the end of her term and will have to be carried on by her successor.