“An 80-year-old woman, due to a medical condition, sped up while making a left on Ivanhoe and crashed into my house going about 45 to 50 mph,” said Hills, about the incident at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, July 10, which took out a section of her home collapsing her chimney. “Luckily, the woman didn't kill anyone. I don't want to have to fix my fence again, and my chimney, and my living room floor, etc. It's a ridiculous situation. I want something done.”
Next-door neighbor Catharine Douglass concurred that something needs to be done soon to mitigate this “toxic” intersection.
“One of the problems with this intersection is that the entire intersection is not at a 90-degree angle, so cars are able to get up a lot of speed as they come through the intersection and make the left-turn,” said Douglass, adding, “which means they are headed right into Gretchen Hills' house. People are constantly running the red light to get through at the end. And pedestrians standing there are totally in harm's way.”
Hills said she's even gone so far as to ask her insurance agent while reconstructing her home, if she “could put boulders or poles or something up” to protect her property. She said their reply was that she can only use “what was already there.”
So what's to be done about the problematic Torrey Pines intersection?
“I have personally called on San Diego's Traffic and Transportation Department asking for a traffic study on this intersection,” Douglass said.
Hills has lived at the La Jolla intersection of Torrey Pines and East Ivanhoe since 1966. She said the intersection has always been dangerous — but not as bad as now.
“I've seen many, many accidents in this intersection,” she said. “I've seen a pedestrian hit. There are so many crashes.”
“You almost expect it now, the crashes in this intersection,” agreed Douglass who pointed out most of Torrey Pines Road, the gateway in and out of La Jolla, is mostly not pedestrian friendly.
“There are only two places you can (safely) cross Torrey Pines between the Shell Station (in the Throat) and the Vons on Girard," Douglass said noting, “We definitely need traffic calming, and we need to get the San Diego Police Department to put a traffic control officer on that corner for extended periods to assess the situation.”
That might be a tall order, admitted Douglass, given SDPD's existing staff shortages.
So instead, Douglass suggested other traffic “tools” might be substituted.
“The city could put bollards (a sturdy, short vertical post) on the corner of the intersection to protect the pedestrians,” she said.
“It's a very difficult question to try and figure out what to do,” concluded Hills. “But I know people need to slow down — not speed up — at this intersection.”
Concerning her request to get a city traffic study done on the Torrey Pines-E. Ivanhoe intersection, Douglass said, “I was told I'd be hearing from a city engineer within 30 days.”