Vision Bird Rock survey shows community interest in ethnic restaurants, farmers market, ice cream shop, more

A screen capture shows some of the Vision Bird Rock survey results.

More ethnic restaurants, a farmers market and an ice cream shop were some of the most common responses to a survey of what Bird Rock might need to thrive in the future.

The online survey by Vision Bird Rock— a collaborative designed to address what the neighborhood could look like in coming years, including gathering spaces, walkability and the commercial district — ran from Oct. 26 to Jan. 15 and collected 116 responses.

Vision Bird Rock member Tiffany Chow said during the Bird Rock Community Council’s Feb. 2 online meeting that a detailed report would be posted on the VBR Facebook page and in an upcoming BRCC newsletter.

“Overall, people seem to want more eating places,” she said. “They also mentioned a farmers market, which we think counts as an eatery. We have done some preliminary research into what it would take to get a farmers market into Bird Rock. It’s a bit daunting to me, but so many people want it that Vision Bird Rock will commit to looking into it.”

In addition to the farmers market, ethnic restaurants and ice cream shop, top responses for enterprises to bring to Bird Rock included a boutique grocery store, bookstore and health care clinic.

Others were more “concept-oriented,” such as how to fill vacant storefronts. Chow said some comments expressed interest in improved lighting and cleaning of the neighborhood.

Respondents also called for creating parklets and mini-playgrounds for casual gatherings, installing murals or other public art, adding better and decorative street lighting and establishing more community events.

The group’s mission, according to member Sharon Wampler, is to “create and drive implementation of a plan for our community’s future by working together with residents, merchants, building owners and schools to build a vibrant and welcoming street scene and neighborhood. We are going to work on engaging [business and property] owners, developers, merchants and all community stakeholders in reimagining the La Jolla Boulevard shopping district as a beautiful and lively hub for communal and business activities.”

La Jolla Boulevard in Bird Rock
Working with Vision Bird Rock, the Bird Rock Merchants Group is looking to add “Welcome to Bird Rock” signs, murals at vacant storefronts and more lighting on La Jolla Boulevard.

Working with VBR, the Bird Rock Merchants Group is looking to add “Welcome to Bird Rock” signs, murals at vacant storefronts and more lighting, member Ron Fineman said. “It will make [La Jolla] Boulevard safer and add more character. We believe we have come up with some less-expensive ways to [add lighting and signage], such as wrapping lights around trees and poles, and moderate signs.”

Details will be announced as they are confirmed.

Other BRCC news

Councilman checks in: San Diego City Councilman Joe LaCava, a Bird Rock resident whose District 1 includes La Jolla, updated the Community Council on his time at City Hall so far.

“We got off to a roaring start in early December and have been spending our time really cleaning up loose ends from last year” and adapting to the state’s ever-changing pandemic-related restrictions, he said.

LaCava added that while the council members are still getting to know one another and new Mayor Todd Gloria, he said the current administration has been more “open and transparent” than the previous one.

“The council has much more access to the individual departments … which means, as I had hoped, that we should have an easier time responding to your issues. There will be some that continue to perplex us, but we remain undaunted,” he said.

Trash concerns: As part of a citywide increase in trash at parks and overlooks — believed to be from diners taking food to go, eating in parks and leaving their trash behind when trash cans fill up — Bird Rock Maintenance Assessment District Manager Barbara Dunbar said the MAD is “looking into new trash receptacles … to replace existing ones. We think that will make everything look better, will maybe hold a bit more trash.”

At the same time, representatives of the BRCC’s Coastal Overlooks Committee said they are “very concerned” about the lookout areas that need trash pickup, because the city doesn’t do it. “It’s a health and safety issue and environmental issue and it is going to get worse as the summer comes,” said committee member Don Schmidt.

He said the city used to empty the cans but stopped in 2009. Steve Hadley, representing LaCava, agreed to discuss the issue further.

Car break-ins: BRCC President John Newsam said vehicle break-ins and thefts have been reported in the area and that he would ask a representative of the San Diego Police Department’s Northern Division to speak at a future meeting.

Resident Leslie Weber said her car was stolen on New Year’s Eve but it had a tracking device and she got it back.

She suggested residents get home security cameras. “I can tell you … they [thieves] are out there every night, typically between 2 and 4 a.m. You see people with hooded sweatshirts and backpacks walking around.”

She said recent footage showed a man walking up and down the street looking into houses.

“It is horrifying … there is so much going on that we need to pay attention,” she said.

Next meeting: The Bird Rock Community Council next meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 2, online. Learn more at ◆