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Village Merchants Association approves directional sign concept for La Jolla

Examples of FlashParking's display options as outlined in the proposal it submitted to the Coastal Access and Parking Board.
Examples of FlashParking’s display options as outlined in the proposal it submitted to the La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking Board.
(Courtesy)

The La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking Board’s directional sign proposal went two for two this week in gaining conceptual approval from local groups as the La Jolla Village Merchants Association gave unanimous support to the project during its Feb. 10 meeting.

Two days earlier, the La Jolla Planned District Ordinance Committee said it also supports the concept, but asked to see the proposal again when formal designs are ready.

The directional, or wayfinding, program would be funded under short-term parking solutions as part of the La Jolla Coastal Access Parking Fund, which was established about 50 years ago through California Coastal Commission-required contributions by office space developers. About $121,000 is available for 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. The matter of pedestrian signs will be revisited once there is a contract for the parking signs.

CAPB is proposing one directional sign — likely on Prospect Street near Coast Boulevard — indicating how many parking spaces are in four area garages, plus signage fronting those garages showing how many spaces are available.

The board last month selected FlashParking as its top choice to fabricate the signs and install the hardware and software. No contracts have been awarded yet, said Jodi Rudick, LJVMA executive director and a CAPB member. “We are in the community support phase and will be working out specifics with the CCC [Coastal Commission],” she said.

“We really want to change the impression that there is not parking in La Jolla; there are thousands of spaces in consumer garages,” Rudick said. “A third of the people that come to La Jolla are first-time visitors … and they are not coming into The Village to run an errand, they are coming here to spend the day. They are coming here to go shopping, go to The Cove, look at the marine life; they are here for hours at a time.”

However, when they arrive, “traffic is an issue because people are circling The Village because they don’t know where to park,” she said. “The garages are not clearly signed for public use. We want to make sure parking is really welcoming.”

Rudick said she will continue to present the proposal to all applicable community planning groups, though the Coastal Commission “has the final say.”

Other LJVMA news

La Jolla Small Business Foundation: Rudick said she was “smiling big” because LJVMA had received a 501(c)(3) nonprofit ID number to create an offshoot group to be known as the La Jolla Small Business Foundation.

“We are filing our paperwork with the appropriate federal and state agencies and I am excited we are now in a position where we can fundraise using a 501(c)(3) status,” she said.

Rudick said she would share what the organization will focus on as details are confirmed. But, she said, “it will truly be the kind of place where businesses can request funds and where donors can give to help support us in a way that will help their tax deductions.”

Pick up the poop: Ed Witt, president of Enhance La Jolla — the nonprofit that administers the La Jolla Maintenance Assessment District — issued what he said was a “call to action,” encouraging La Jollans to do their part to curb an increase in dog waste on Village streets.

“We have a noticeable increase in dog waste left on the street,” he said. “We are patrolling the sidewalks … and it’s really sad. We find waste every day. It’s a big problem. We are doing our best to use our resources to make La Jolla a better place. As merchants, I encourage you to say something when you see someone not pick up after their dogs.”

The MAD partnered with La Jolla Veterinary Hospital in May to install dog waste stations for public use in The Village: in front of Muttropolis, the La Valencia Hotel and the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library; midblock on Girard Avenue between Silverado and Wall streets; on Silverado near the bus stop at Girard; and near Häagen-Dazs on Prospect Street. The stands include dog waste bags and a compartment to dispose of them.

Board seat: To fill a vacated board seat, J. McLaughlin store manager Natalie Aguirre nominated herself and was approved unanimously. She will be sworn in at the next meeting.

“My background is in branding, I’ve launched brands over the last 30 years here in San Diego and I have a background in luxury service,” she said. “My goal to help La Jolla in terms of brick-and-mortar stores would be to help improve the retail side of The Village besides restaurants and gyms and to help make La Jolla more attractive so we can bring more retailers into The Village. I think it’s really important and I’m passionate about those things.”

Next meeting: The La Jolla Village Merchants Association next meets at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 10, online. Learn more at lajollabythesea.com.