The unpaved alley
More than a few who live in Point Loma are fed up with the nonsensical way some streets and alleys in the wooded area paved while others remain ignored.
One example is the Chatsworth alley between Poe Street and Wawona Drive
“I could use some suggestions on how to get the city to fix our unpaved alley. Our garage is off of this alley, my car is getting destroyed trying to access the garage, and my husband’s car cannot even attempt the journey,” said the Point Loma local. “Every ‘Get it Done’ ticket we submit is closed within hours without help… we’ve lived here almost eight years, and the city usually fills this in and works on it every 18-24 months. The city trash truck is upset with us telling us their truck will hit our retaining wall if we don’t have it fixed. The drop from our driveway is now 1.5-2 ft.”
After another Get it Done request, repairs were made mid-January 2020, but the repairs washed out after the first rain.
While driving down Charles Street, in the alley between Catalina Boulevard and Silvergate Avenue, I find John who has lived in the area for 40 years. Noticing that the first half of the alley was paved, and the other half gravel, I asked if he knew anything about it.
Chatsworth alley. "The drop from our driveway is now 1.5-2 ft.”
“I would say this was paved approximately a year ago, but yeah, we were hoping they’d pave the whole alley but for some reason they chose to stop there,” John explains. “I think this half of the alley was unpaved before so maybe they just re-did that? And the other reason we thought they might pave the whole alley is because trash trucks go down these alleys too; we thought they’d want a better surface.”
A woman who lives on Warner Street wondered why her street remained unpaved, while Dudley Street, one block over, was recently paved.
"The ditches make it so people can't park in certain spots."
“It just doesn’t make any sense how they chose which ones to repair, it’s such a mash-up, I don’t know, its frustrating for sure.”
‘Sue’ walks the streets daily and has been sending emails to the City since 2017.
“If you walk down Dupont between Gage and Silvergate you'll see a lot of new ditches. I have a baby stroller and it's impossible to walk without driving through all these ditches. You definitely need a heavy-duty stroller in this neighborhood. There is a huge ditch in front of my neighbor’s house that could take out the front end of a car. It's right where people need to park. And parking away from the ditch blocks the city street. Parking in the ditch now puts you up on their lawn. I've been emailing the city streets division, and reporting via the Get it Done app since 2017. I had one conversation with the street division which was circuitous, and eventually just ended despite me following up a few times.
"When I had my baby (March 2019) I tried one more time to get the neighbor's ditch filled and report the rest of the streets, but again it went nowhere, so I had to give up. If the ditches were filled it would be safer, and there would be more parking. Charles Street parking (at the Catalina end) is terrible. And the ditches make it so people can't park in certain spots, so they end up parking in front of neighbors’ houses and then neighbors can't park. These are all multi-million dollar houses on this street, but we've got 2-4-feet ditches in front of some? The residents on this street are paying the same taxes as the residents one street over, yet those residents get a safe neighborhood street to drive on?”
Earlier this month, in response to her emails, Joshua Coyne, policy advisor for Councilmember Jennifer Campbell told her that there’s a long history of unimproved streets within the city, including Council Policy 200-03.
“Come to find out my street is considered an ‘unimproved street,’ the asphalt went down in 1950 and will never be touched again and therefore will never ever be paved or patched – ever – unless neighbors want to pay to upgrade the street with curbs, lights, sidewalks – then the street could be repaired.”
Jordan Beane, director of communications for Campbell, told me:
“For almost 3 years a water and sewer line replacement project has been on-going on a select number of streets in the La Playa/Wooded Area Point Loma neighborhoods. Our office recently learned that underground work has been completed and road resurfacing would commence.
"We have been working closely with the mayor’s office and city staff to communicate with residents the impacts on street parking and resurfacing timeline. It is our understanding that all roads impacted by this project will be resurfaced in February 2020.
"Towards the end of 2019, our office learned that a number of the streets impacted by this project were on what the city considers an 'unimproved street' according to council policy.
"Roads that are 'unimproved' require modifications (curb cuts, street lights, etc.) to be in compliance with the municipal code before they qualify for street improvement funding. We are working to schedule a meeting with the Department of Transportation and Stormwater to discuss ‘unimproved streets’ in District 2. We expect to follow up with the community after that meeting occurs.“