High Avenue green zone extension approved


In its third appearance at a La Jolla Traffic & Transportation advisory group (LJT&T) meeting, a green zone extension on High Avenue near the corner of Torrey Pines Road was approved.

Requested by veterinarian John Morizi, who owns Pet Health Center of La Jolla at 1135 High St., the green zone extension would add two, 30-minute spaces to a segment of street that already has two, 30-minute spaces for customer parking. LJT&T’s recommendation goes to the La Jolla Community Planning Association for ratification.

In Morizi’s first two presentations, there was not enough input from neighbors for the board to confidently vote on the request, so Morizi petitioned neighbors and presented his findings at the Nov. 16 meeting at the Rec Center.

“I went through the neighborhood, including to the owner of my building, and to the four houses on High Avenue, around the corner to houses on Torrey Pines Road, and to some on Virginia Way,” he said. “I got approval from almost everyone I talked to; some were enthusiastic about it and others were OK with it because they knew it would help me a lot.”

Morizi previously told LJT&T that having additional limited-time parking spaces would “make or break” his business, because much of the surround parking is limitless and taken up by employees of other businesses throughout the day, leaving little for his customers who only need to drop off or pick up their pets. He added that the two existing 30-minute spaces are always in use and two more would help his clients, as well as the customers of other surrounding businesses.

“It’s hard to find a space anywhere in that area after 8:30 a.m., but I think the impact to residents will be minimal,” he said.

Disagreeing, nearby resident Terry Golden was in attendance. “We have a terrible impacted parking problem for lots of reasons and taking anything out of the parking pool is the wrong thing to do. Virginia Way is totally residential and if you park on the street and then take your car to run an errand, it’s impossible to find a space again when you get home,” he said. “We just did a remodel of our landscaping and added an off-street parking place for that reason. Most people don’t have that option.”

Golden and another resident said by 6:30 p.m., about 50 percent of the spaces are open, confirming the theory that much of the parking is used by area employees.

The layout along High Avenue from Torrey Pines Road is two, 30-minute spaces, two unlimited spaces and then an alley, which LJT&T member John Kassar said could serve a visual delineation between the retail and residential zone. There are no other green zones in the area, and some other businesses have specified parking for their customers, such as the nearby Starbucks coffee shop.

A motion to approve the conversion of the two parking spaces immediately adjacent the two existing 30-minute spaces passed, 5-1.

In other LJT&T news:

La Jolla Half Marathon gets green light: Having made route adjustments to accommodate construction in La Jolla Shores and The Village, La Jolla Half Marathon will return to its original route for the April 23, 2017 race.

“I’ve been in touch with the City about construction projects … and it’s our impression that we will be able to go back to our original route for the next race,” said applicant Leisha Lamp, who was on hand to request support for the street closures required for the event. The half marathon starts at the Del Mar Racetrack and ends at Scripps Park, and the 5K starts in La Jolla Shores and ends at Scripps Park.

“We try to work with the kayak companies in La Jolla Shores, so if there is a street we are impacting, they know to launch from another one,” Lamp said. To avoid current Shores construction, she said the route involves turning before the work on Avenida de la Playa. Businesses will be notified via door hangers, notices and phone calls.

A motion to support passed unanimously and the La Jolla Half Marathon was also discussed at the 4:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 28 meeting of La Jolla Parks & Beaches advisory group meeting at La Jolla Rec Center.

Herschel commercial spot: Following an unusual request from Avis Rental Cars, the board voted to deny a request for the conversion of a two-hour parking space into a commercial loading zone.

“It would help us out to have the commercial space so we can show customers how to use the car and for transitions, but there is an issue that has come up for us with a San Diego Police Department (SDPD) parking enforcement officer writing us tickets because he says it is a car for sale, which is not allowed,” said Avis manager Joseph Eid.

It is illegal to park and advertise a vehicle for sale on designated streets within the City of San Diego, and this parking enforcement officer reportedly has been issuing tickets for this violation. “The parking enforcement officer notices the Avis tag and considers it a car that could be for sale,” Eid said.

Avis can sell the used vehicles in their fleet in addition to renting them. “The problem would come up when a customer would check out the car and leave it in the available space and go shop in The Village. Then this one (enforcement officer) would come and write a ticket for having an advertised car for sale on the street.”

The commercial loading zone was recommended by SDPD as a resolution. After minor discussion, the issue was deemed something for SDPD to handle internally, and was not appropriate for LJT&T.

Chair Dave Abrams said, “Parking spaces in The Village are so dear, as you know, that we are reluctant to take one away for what seems to be an enforcement issue,” he said. Rather than approve the space conversion, Abrams agreed to brainstorm with Eid and come up with another idea.

A motion to deny the parking space conversion passed unanimously.

Kudos: TC Construction: During non-agenda public comment, attendee and Challenged Athletes Triathlon volunteer Bill Robbins gave a shout-out to TC Construction for its efforts to ease the impact of area construction during the event. “Every time we have a special event, TC Construction rises to the occasion. They put steel plates and welded them, so a person or bicyclist wouldn’t trip or have an accident. The City doesn’t pay for that,” he said. “Once in a while, people do nice things without getting paid.”

The T&T board will not meet in December, but reconvene 4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18 at La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.