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La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking board moving forward with ‘Sunday Shuttle’ effort

Finding free parking in the Village of la Jolla can be difficult during peak hours.
Finding free parking in the Village of la Jolla can be difficult during peak hours.
(Ashley Mackin)

The La Jolla Coastal Access & Parking Board (CAPB) met to discuss the next steps for a potential Sunday Shuttle pilot-program for moving people around The Village during its July 18 meeting in the offices of Marengo Morton Architects, and reviewed the first draft of a Request for Proposal (RFP).

The Sunday Shuttle pilot-program would encourage users to park near the La Jolla Open Aire Market (given its popularity and available area parking) to be transported to the coastline and throughout The Village with golf carts or other small vehicles supplied by local vendors.

The start/end point would be near the Farmers Market, proceed along Girard Avenue to the Cove and Children’s Pool, and back up toward the Farmers Market. The exact route and number of stops would be confirmed when a contract is awarded.

Without taking a formal vote, the board’s plan going forward is to finalize the RFP, send it out, gather the responses, determine whether to move forward with the pilot-program and draft a budget.

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The board is comprised of representatives from the La Jolla Community Planning Association, La Jolla Village Merchants Association, La Jolla Town Council, citizens and parking authorities.

The La Jolla Coastal Access Parking Fund was established some 50 years ago through California Coastal Commission- (CCC) required contributions by office-space developers. The purpose was to implement: 1) a shuttle system to move people throughout The Village from a remote parking reservoir, and 2) other short-term or long-term parking solutions. These terms are outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding between the CCC and the City of San Diego.

There is approximately $240,000 for the shuttle and reservoir system and approximately $160,000 for short-term parking solutions, plus an additional $19,000 that was refunded to the board upon the recent discontinuation of the discount parking permit program for Village employees.

The Sunday Shuttle funding would come from the approximately $19,000 refund from the City. Because of their financial partnership, board member and La Jolla Village Merchants Association executive director Jodi Rudick said “nothing is done” without conversations with the City and the CCC.

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In addition to embracing the “park once, stay longer” model, in which those that are parked in The Village would move about and frequent more merchants and landmarks without their cars; the pilot-program would provide fact-based data for the board as it pursues effective ways to spend the total amount in the fund.

Rudick said there were two potential outcomes of the Sunday Shuttle: “One that this isn’t going to work at all, and we would have the data to show that a shuttle is not a valid effort,” she said. “Or that it works, and then we could move forward with some intelligence to see if a shuttle really would be a solution.”

The RFP, though still in draft form, would include the overview of the project, goals of the shuttle, scope of work for the vendors, submission information and more. The details were kept intentionally vague.

“I don’t think we need to be so prescriptive with the RFP,” Rudick explained. “The goal is to have people go from point A to point F with some stops in between. I have a feeling we are going to get proposals across the spectrum.”

However, the draft was not without its critiques. Board member Ray Weiss said, “I think whatever we do has to be self-sustaining. The pilot program, in order to seek (larger) amounts of money in a legitimate way, has to be self-sustaining. That is not in the proposal. The money could be gone fairly quickly if we keep spending this way... I think it would be better to leave the money sitting there until someone can do something really wise with it.”

In the course of debate and discussion, board member Dave Abrams countered, “There is a no harm/no foul situation here, we put the RFP out and if we don’t like the numbers, we do not proceed. That’s it.”

Rudick, who wrote the first draft, added, “It seems a little unusual that this pot of money is just sitting and not doing anything. It feels like there are opportunities to use that. We could float around a lot of ideas to solve a lot of problems, but we don’t have costs associated with any of them, so until we get those costs, we are just going to go in circles.”

All said, CAPB determined the RFP would be re-worded, reviewed by the board and sent out. Updates would be provided at a future meeting.

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Other projects in the works include technology to inform motorists of available parking in The Village, the specifics of which would also be determined at a future meeting.

Coastal Access and Parking is establishing a regular monthly meeting, the next of which is tentatively scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 28 at Marengo Morton Architects, 7724 Girard Ave.


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