A citizen's group opposing paid, on-street parking held a rally in La Jolla Feb. 29 to solicit donations for their cause and unveil a multiple-point counterproposal for parking management in the Jewel, while revealing that a survey its members did of Village businesses indicated most do not support paid on-street parking.
Promote La Jolla, La Jolla's Business Improvement District (BID), is advocating instituting paid, on-street parking during a year-long pilot program in the core area of the downtown Village. Paid parking would be of the newer, high-tech variety, not the old-style, grey-metal, single-head parking meters.
The La Jolla Community Parking District Board (LJCPDB), a representive group of nine members drawn from a cross-section of La Jolla groups, including three members from Promote La Jolla, has been working for months to draft a parking management plan for La Jolla that includes paid on-street parking.
Reacting to the paid-parking proposal, a large group of local residents are adamantly seeking to block the measure, believing it would negatively effect the hometown, boutique character of La Jolla's downtown shopping district. A Web site, NoPaidParking.org., has been created to inform, and lobby, residents about paid-parking related issues.
The Feb. 29 social get together was held at K. Nathan gallery at 7723 Fay Ave. Keith Kelman, gallery proprietor, said the groundswell of sentiment opposing the on-street paid-parking proposal is growing. He said his group begs to differ with Promote La Jolla's contention that the majority of Village businesses favor paid on-street parking.
"Promote La Jolla never asked its own constituency, 'What do you want?,' " said Kelman. "Over 90 percent of La Jollans don't think there's a parking problem. Even if there's a perceived parking problem, we believe employees parking on the street is a big part of that problem."
La Jolla Town Councilman Ed Ward has been stridently opposing paid parking in the Jewel. "There's a group of us, private citizens, who are very concerned who have writted a no-paid-parking plan that we've delivered to Scott Peters (District 1 Councilman), and that we are going to promote in the community," said Ward. "We'll manage parking - not tax it."
The no-paid-parking counterproposal calls for:
- No paid on-street parking
- Effective enforcement of parking regulations
- Improve existing parking regulations
- Re-evaluate time zones and curb markings
- Increase diagonal parking spaces where appropriate
- Identification and enforcement of existing permit conditions relating to parking
- Enforcement of shared parking agreements and ordinances
- Determine and receive fair market value for valet parking spaces
- Equitable share of increased parking enforcement revenues between the City and the community of La Jolla
- Analyze probable financial impacts before adopting material changes
-. Maintain free and open access to the parks and beaches
-. Improved public transportation and shuttle services
- Re-apportioned representation on the La Jolla Parking Board
- Consider other solutions, which may yet be identified
A group of about a dozen no-paid parking volunteers have been canvassing the merchants of La Jolla, soliciting their views, via a survey designed to be impartial, on paid on-street parking and whether it's necessary.
Ward noted only 1 of 45 merchants he personally contacted recently expressed approval for paid on-street parking in La Jolla.
"The overwhelming response is that they (businesses) are opposed to paid on-street parking," added Kelman.
La Jolla community planner Darcy Ashley addressed the assemblage on Feb. 29, thanking them for their support. "This has been a longer journey than any of us expected given the opposition," Ashley said, "and it's kind of shocking to most of us that there can be this absolute opposition, and yet they're (paid parking proponents) still at it as much as ever."
An attendee at the rally asked why political candidates vying for Scott Peters' First District Council seat haven't spoken out on the paid-parking issue. Ashley noted two candidates for that position, Sherri Lightner of La Jolla and Marshall Merrifield of Carmel Valley, were present.
"It's very clear to me as an outsider listening to this debate, that we have a taxation without representation problem," said Merrifield. "It's remarkable to me that elected officials wouldn't respect what the community wants."
"I've been very active in no paid parking since before 2002," said Lightner. "I fought, along with (attorney) Karl ZoBell and Orrin Gabsch, the establishment of the La Jolla Parking District. As you can tell (with me) no paid parking is a passion."
The next meeting of the LJCPDB is Wednesday, March 19 at 4 p.m. at La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.