Coastal Access and Parking Board picks company for La Jolla parking directional signs

Examples of sign options submitted by Texas-based FlashParking to the La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking Board.
Examples of sign options outlined in a proposal submitted by Texas-based FlashParking to the La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking Board.

Bit by bit, the La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking Board is making headway toward implementing its directional sign program.

During its Jan. 28 meeting, the board selected a favored proposal from the 12 it received to install signage that would direct motorists to area parking garages and indicate how many spaces are available in each one.

The La Jolla Coastal Access Parking Fund was established about 50 years ago through California 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. Just over $278,000 is available for the shuttle system and about $121,000 for short-term parking solutions.

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

After other proposals failed to get Coastal Commission approval, the La Jolla board suggested the directional, or wayfinding, program, to be funded under short-term parking solutions.

The plan includes two parts: signs posted throughout The Village directing pedestrians to area landmarks and beaches, and electronic signs directing drivers to parking garages and indicating the available spaces. Four lots would participate in a trial run.

“It was determined one of the ways we might provide people greater access and convenience and a welcoming experience into The Village and the coastline is better communication,” board member Jodi Rudick said at the Jan. 28 online meeting. “We want to rebrand that there is tons of parking — it may not feel like if you are only looking for free parking — if you know where the spots are.”

An early proposal was to have a sign on Torrey Pines Road at Prospect Street, but the board faced pushback. Though there is still a reference to the Torrey Pines sign in the proposal, Rudick said: “We are not married to, nor are we guaranteed to get, a sign on Torrey Pines Road at Prospect Street. I think our community would not allow us to have a sign there because of the ownership our community has there. We are going to propose other places, such as ‘The Throat’ [where La Jolla Parkway becomes Torrey Pines Road] and the La Jolla commercial district.”

Using a scoring matrix, she narrowed the proposals from 12 to three, weighing the pros and cons of each.

The proposal from the top contender, Texas-based FlashParking, came in priced at $61,000 for two years and includes hardware, installation and software for its camera-based technology.

The intent is to have the parking garages continue to pay for the software after two years.

Further, the board was given the guarantee that it would not be charged for the month if the counts were inaccurate, Rudick said.

However, FlashParking is the newest company that applied, and Rudick said she considers it a risk to bank on a firm with less experience.

EnSight, which has an office in the San Diego area, came in with a bid of $96,000.

“That is super sexy right now to do business with a local company, but I think a 50 percent cost increase to do business with a local company is just too much,” Rudick said. “Are we willing to take a little bit of risk and go with the lowest-price company … or are we more interested in going with a local, more expensive company?”

The board determined it was worth the risk. A motion to select FlashParking as the first choice, with EnSight as second choice, passed unanimously.

Rudick said she still has to take the proposal to community groups for a letter of support, then will present to the Coastal Commission and the city.

The matter of pedestrian signs will be revisited once there is a contract for the parking signs.

Other CAPB news

Hoping to use the shuttle money that has languished for decades, the board discussed whether it could fund signage for a proposed new bus route connecting The Village to the Mid-Coast Trolley, which is expected to begin service late this year.

The La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board gave the green light Jan. 20 to a new city bus route in La Jolla that would replace a previously planned addition and modify a current route.

Jan. 24, 2021

The Metropolitan Transit System’s proposed Route 140 would connect La Jolla and the Balboa Avenue trolley station (under construction on Balboa between Interstate 5 and Morena Boulevard) and run concurrently with Route 30, which has run between Pacific Beach and UC San Diego through La Jolla for eight years.

“We thought it would be helpful for tourists to have some electronic signage at that terminus on Silverado Street with directional help,” said CAPB member and La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board Chairman Dave Abrams. “There was the suggestion that this committee assist with the funding of that signage because that money was not included in the budget for the feeder line.”

Rudick said she would reach out to the Coastal Commission and make sure it would meet the terms of the MOU to use the shuttle money that way.

“If the new MTS line will serve the purpose of having a connector or feeder shuttle from the trolley, we might be able to redraft our MOU so the funds for the shuttle money could be used,” Rudick said. She added that she would report back at a future CAPB meeting.

CAPB next meets at 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, online. Learn more at