La Jollans want quick implementation of slowing speeds

The La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board voted unanimously to urge the city of San Diego to implement a state assembly bill designed to allow for the lowering of local speed limits.

Speed is a problem throughout La Jolla, as many have raised concerns about the issue from various neighborhoods. 

“It’s out of control,” resident Karen Marshall said, citing the many drivers who use her street, East Roseland Drive, to circumvent traffic on Torrey Pines Road to get to La Jolla Parkway or Hidden Valley Road to Via Capri.

The drivers speed recklessly, making walking her dog a dangerous activity, she said. “We need to do something.”

California Assembly Bill 43, passed in 2021, would give local jurisdictions the authority to reduce speed limits set by Caltrans by five miles per hour on streets for “vulnerable pedestrian groups,” such as near schools, senior-serving facilities, safety corridors and more. 

“We’re no stranger, here in San Diego, to traffic violence,” said Anar Salayev, executive director of nonprofit BikeSD at the May 21 T&T meeting. 

One of the ways BikeSD endeavors to make San Diego more bikeable and liveable is its support of “legislation that saves lives,” he said, such as AB43.

Citing incidents such as the 2022 death of a pedestrian crossing Torrey Pines Road, Salayev said the law, which has been implemented in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland and other regions but has yet to be employed in San Diego, is critical to reducing fatalities.

A person hit by a car traveling at 20 miles per hour has a 90 percent survival rate, Salayev said, whereas a person hit by a vehicle going 40 miles per hour has only a 20 percent chance of survival.

The seemingly minor difference in speeds is “exponential in the potential consequences and outcomes of what happens when there’s a collision,” he said.

Bird Rock

There is support for AB43 among San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and the City Council members, Salayev said, but its implementation is hindered by indecision on “the details [of] execution.”

The City Council’s Active Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will take up the matter at a June meeting, Salayev said, though the details of the discussion are not yet clear. The full council will later vote to adopt the committee’s recommendations.

Salayev asked T&T to write a letter to Gloria’s office and City Council President Pro Tem Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, urging officials to implement AB 43 as soon as possible. 

The letter should also outline specific corridors in La Jolla that would benefit from a reduction in speed limit, Salayev said.

The cost to the city to change out speed limit signs and implement AB43 would be minimal, he said, as the work can be bundled into repaving or other work projects often undertaken in these corridors.

T&T board members took up the discussion, noting that a reduction in speed is warranted across certain La Jolla streets but will not be effective without enforcement.

“We know that traffic slowing is a real concern for the community,” said T&T board member John Bauer, suggesting that the board promote the use of speed cameras or other technology to assist in enforcement.

Citing numerous complaints about speeding drivers on La Jolla Boulevard in Bird Rock and narrow streets west of La Jolla Shores Drive in The Shores, T&T Chair Brian Earley called implementing AB43 “a good first step.”

“We’re just hopeful that there’s more control over the speed of our streets and the safety of our pedestrians and our cyclists,” Earley said.

The motion to support the implementation of AB43 will now move to the La Jolla Community Planning Association for ratification.

Picture of Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto has been reporting on and writing about La Jolla since 2019. With dozens of local and state journalism awards to her name, Elisabeth knows the industry as well as she knows her community. When she’s not covering all things 92037, you’ll find her with coffee in hand staring at the sea.
Picture of Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto has been reporting on and writing about La Jolla since 2019. With dozens of local and state journalism awards to her name, Elisabeth knows the industry as well as she knows her community. When she’s not covering all things 92037, you’ll find her with coffee in hand staring at the sea.

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