La Jollans sulked twenty years ago when Pacific Telephone altered their GLencourt 4 prefixes. To satisfy the Pac Tel computer’s appetite for numbers, GLencourt 4 — the symbol of residential affluence — became the sterile 454. But even without the letters, a neighborhood was still a neighborhood. Hillcrest was always 295, 296, and 297; Coronado 435 and 437; downtown 231 to 239 (except 237); Southeast 262 or 264. Prefixes have always been a simple gauge of how far you were from wherever you were calling.
No longer. Burgeoning neighborhoods have eaten up the traditional exchanges, and the new ones have no relation to their predecessors. The nonsequential jumble of 260, 574, and 692 are the new Hillcrest prefixes. When downtown businesses were starved for prefixes last year, Pac Tel reached out for 696; it was quickly depleted, and 699 has been added.
When the Hotel Del Coronado outgrew 435, it added 522, as did Coronado’s school district, city offices, and the Naval Air Station. The prefix 451, a logical addition to La Jolla, went instead to Rancho Bernardo, while University City encroached from the other end. taking 450. 457, and 458. Del Mar. always 755, broke sequence by taking on 481. Only exclusive Rancho Santa Fe has carried m rough unscathed. When it filled the 756 prefix, 757 was adopted.