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La Jolla traffic board approves parking directional sign project and Christmas Parade street closures

The Coastal Access and Parking Board's parking directional sign project would direct traffic to four garages in The Village.
The La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking Board’s parking directional sign project would direct traffic to four garages in The Village.
(Courtesy)

A parking directional sign pilot project spearheaded by the La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking Board won unanimous approval of the local Traffic & Transportation Board during its Feb. 17 meeting.

The project aims to guide motorists to parking spots at garages in The Village and help ease traffic congestion in the area.

The plan was approved in concept the week before by both the La Jolla Village Merchants Association and La Jolla Planned District Ordinance Committee.

The directional, or wayfinding, program would make use of money for 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 paid parking garages and indicating the available spaces. 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 signs fronting those garages showing how many spaces are available.

The garages are at 1298 Prospect St., 1200 Prospect, 888 Prospect and Wall Street at Herschel Avenue and contain nearly 900 parking spaces.

“Free parking is a problem in La Jolla,” said Jodi Rudick, Village Merchants Association executive director and a CAPB member, “but in actuality, we have thousands of parking spaces in our Village; much more than other coastal communities.”

As one-third of visitors to La Jolla are here for the first time, they are unaware of where to find parking garages with ample spaces, Rudick said. “Our goal is to create communication tools so first-timers here know where they can park and welcome them.”

The program could free up street parking for those “wanting to be in The Village for a short time,” Rudick said.

“If we can get the long-term parkers off the street and stop moving their cars every two hours, we will really change the way people are using our Village on-street parking,” Rudick said.

Creating parking awareness also will address traffic backups into La Jolla, Rudick added. “People are looking for spots and waiting, and that might back somebody up all the way back to ‘The Throat,’” she said, referring to the intersection of La Jolla Parkway, Torrey Pines Road and Hidden Valley Road.

CAPB last month selected Texas-based FlashParking as its top choice to fabricate the signs and install the hardware and software. No contracts have been awarded yet.

The FlashParking proposal will cost about $60,000 for the first two years, Rudick said.

Traffic & Transportation Board member Brian Earley asked about the long-term maintenance costs. Marc Miller from FlashParking said there will be warranty programs offered beyond the initial two years that “run at 10 percent of the cost of the signs.”

Board member Natalie Aguirre said she hopes the program also will be marketed to restaurant and gym employees who use street parking. “It’s not just the tourists, it’s the local element that we need to look at.”

Rudick said she will next present the project at the La Jolla Community Planning Association meeting Thursday, March 4.

Other T&T news

Christmas Parade: The T&T Board unanimously approved a request for temporary street closures for the 64th annual La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival, set for Sunday, Dec. 5.

Organizer Ann Kerr Bache said the event, themed “The Spirit of La Jolla” and honoring health care workers, firefighters and police officers, will begin at 11:30 a.m. with the Holiday Festival. The parade will start at 1:30 p.m.

The parade is scheduled to travel down Girard Avenue, turn left on Prospect Street and finish outside the La Jolla Recreation Center, as it did for years before the 2020 iteration, which was a “reverse parade” due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with spectators driving past stationary floats on Herschel Avenue.

Kerr Bache said she hopes the parade can return to its normal format, but she is planning for either scenario, depending on COVID conditions.

The Holiday Festival will be held along Wall Street outside the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, where participants can visit with Santa Claus or take in holiday entertainment on a stage, Kerr Bache said.

Plans for the Dec. 5 La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival will require street closures as indicated by the red B's.
(Courtesy)

Barricades closing portions of many streets in The Village will be placed in preparation for the parade. Kerr Bache needs the T&T Board’s approval as part of the permit application to San Diego’s Special Events & Filming Department.

Next meeting: The La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board next meets at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 17. To learn more, email manana@san.rr.com.