La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking Board examines 12 proposals for directional sign program

This is an example of directional signage submitted to the La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking Board for consideration.
This is an example of directional signage submitted to the La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking Board for consideration. A decision on type of signage has not been made.

After opening the door to proposals to create a directional, or wayfinding, sign program in The Village, the La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking Board received 12 applications and will spend coming weeks combing through them for something to present to the California Coastal Commission for approval.

During the board’s Oct. 22 meeting online, Brad Elsass, vice president of strategic initiatives for Ace Parking and a consultant to the board, said the submissions “encompass all sorts of technologies, all sorts of approaches of how to solve this [parking] problem in The Village through a dynamic wayfinding signage program.”

The proposals came from Automated Parking Solutions, California Gate Systems, EnSight, Flash Vision, Frog Parking, Indect, OptiPark, ParkHelp, Parking Guidance Systems, Parking Logix, ParkSol and Verizon.

At the encouragement of the board, Elsass and Jodi Rudick, executive director of the La Jolla Village Merchants Association, are in the process of whittling down the proposals based on what the board’s budget allows.

The La Jolla Coastal Access Parking Fund was established about 50 years ago through Coastal Commission-required contributions by office-space developers. The purpose was to implement a shuttle system to move people throughout The Village from a remote parking area and to carry out other short- or long-term parking solutions. The terms are outlined in a memorandum of understanding between the commission and the city of San Diego. About $278,000 is available for the shuttle system and almost $121,000 for short-term parking solutions.

Any plan would have to meet the terms of the MOU to use some of the funds.

The directional signage plan has two parts. The first includes signs posted throughout The Village to direct pedestrians to area landmarks and beaches. The second includes electronic signs directing drivers to area parking garages and indicating how many spaces are available in each lot.

Following the advice of the California Coastal Commission, the La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking Board will start the process to determine costs and timelines for a two-part directional signage program.

After other ideas failed to get Coastal Commission approval, the board proposed the wayfinding signage. Commission program analyst Alex Llerandi said Phase 2 (the signs directing drivers to parking opportunities) had “more traction with staff” and recommended that the board submit a proposal with the two phases.

With the Coastal Commission’s encouragement, the board launched a request for proposals process in late September. Options that could be implemented with the funds in the short-term parking solutions account will be considered. Some proposals were eliminated due to cost.

In September, Elsass said such a project can cost $70,000 with an ongoing maintenance cost of $1,400 per month.

Elsass said there are a few “buckets” into which the vendors were bidding their products and services. “The first is the physical bucket, the hardware that goes into the ground; and then the software annual service fee bucket, and a two-year sustainable program combining the costs.”

Rudick said the tentative plan is to have the Coastal Access and Parking Board “pilot this for a couple of years and then hand it over to the property owners,” so they also would need to vet any maintenance plans.

With the proposals in hand, the board voted Oct. 22 to authorize Elsass and Rudick to submit a “representative proposal” to the Coastal Commission to explain what the board would like to do and make sure it meets the terms of the MOU. With approval, they can interview the companies and select a winner. From there, the board would draft a budget and present it to the city.

The hope is to have a plan ready to execute by the end of the year, Rudick said.

Though sign locations have not been determined, the board is tentatively looking at one large sign at Torrey Pines Road and Prospect Street pointing drivers to paid parking garages, and four signs for each of the garages enumerating the available spaces.

Ray Weiss, who has been on the board for two decades, said: “This is the best idea that has come along. I would like to use it to the maximum effect.”

Rudick said she “could not be more excited … we are actually going to go somewhere with this!”

The board’s next meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, online. Learn more at ◆