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‘Not a good fit’: Initial design proposal for La Jolla parking sign program gets cool reception from board

A design rendering submitted by FlashParking for consideration by the La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking Board.
A design rendering submitted by FlashParking for consideration by the La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking Board for its parking directional sign program. The board did not adopt a design Feb. 25, and some members were concerned that it would be too futuristic or imposing.
(Courtesy)

Coastal Access and Parking Board plans to work with Vision La Jolla on the appearance of a directional sign planned for Prospect Street near Coast Boulevard.

As the La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking Board’s directional sign program makes the rounds to local planning groups, a question that has come up is, what are the signs going to look like? A design has not been chosen, and conceptual renderings presented at the board’s Feb. 25 meeting drew concern from some members that they were too “futuristic” or “imposing.”

CAPB is proposing one directional sign — likely on Prospect Street near Coast Boulevard — indicating how many parking spaces are in four area garages, where they are located and the costs at each one, plus signs fronting those garages showing how many spaces are available.

The proposal has gained conceptual approval from the La Jolla Village Merchants Association, Planned District Ordinance Committee and Traffic & Transportation Board.

In presenting to the groups, CAPB member Jodi Rudick, executive director of the Village Merchants Association, said the No. 1 question is about the directional sign’s appearance.

“All the information in the world doesn’t matter if there isn’t a way for the public to see it,” she said.

The La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking Board proposes a sign at Prospect Street and Coast Boulevard.
The La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking Board proposes a sign — likely on Prospect Street at Coast Boulevard — indicating how many parking spaces are in four area garages.
(Bing Maps / La Jolla Light)

Brad Elsass, vice president of strategic initiatives for Ace Parking and a consultant to the board, and Marc Miller, San Diego regional sales manager for Texas-based FlashParking — the board’s top choice to fabricate the signs and install the hardware and software — presented conceptual renderings and information on how the sign would rotate its messaging in timed intervals.

Miller noted that the design was not final, and the board did not adopt any draft renderings.

“The sign’s LED futuristic display is what we propose … and the signs can have multiple messages running at the same time. The sign can show spaces available, then a page with the rates at these garages and then a third [page] can advertise something going on in The Village,” Miller said.

The proposed sign could be 8 to 11 feet tall, but Miller said the size can be adjusted based on community needs.

“As a sign, it’s attractive but I’m concerned it’s not a good fit for The Village,” CPAB member Nancy Warwick said. “You said futuristic. I wonder if the framing of the sign could be more coastal and like a village. It would be one thing if this was in front of a mall, but this isn’t something that, to me, fits in The Village.”

Trustee Ray Weiss added: “I think the biggest criticism we are going to get is from residents who don’t want it to be too imposing. We live here, this isn’t just for tourists. The sign might have to be toned down … there are likely to be objections if it is too prominent.”

Miller said “we don’t want it to be overbearing, but we don’t want it to be so small that you can only see it from a couple of feet away. For it to be effective, we have to give drivers in their cars [a chance] to see it with enough reaction time to make a decision.”

Questions arose about how drivers would access the information and make a decision safely.

Weiss said there’s a concern about creating a traffic hazard and added that “the first person that gets rear-ended by someone who was writing down information as it flashed across a screen is going to sue whoever owns the sign, so we have to be careful about that.”

“A lot of the people coming in aren’t expecting to see a parking sign,” Warwick said. “So a tourist might come in, not know where to park, make that turn, touch on the brake [and] look up the addresses,” not knowing where they are.

CAPB Chairman Brett Murphy — who also is on the Village Merchants Association and Planned District Ordinance committees — wondered if the board could reach out to other groups with design expertise for insight and possibly renderings.

Rudick said she is working with Vision La Jolla and Enhance La Jolla, which administers the Maintenance Assessment District in The Village, “about the overall longer-term aesthetics of La Jolla” and said they would like to be involved in the look of the sign.

Vision La Jolla is an ad-hoc committee of the La Jolla Community Planning Association. It is composed of architects Andy Fotsch, Brian Will and Trace Wilson, Realtors Patrick Ahern and John Shannon and engineer and historian Matt Mangano. Its mission is to work with groups looking to update regulations that apply to Village development or major Village improvement projects.

“Vision La Jolla has volunteered to look at this to make sure it is going to fit into the overall idea they have … because that is the missing piece,” Rudick said. “We need to get this approved, so we need to go with the signage that is going to be the most amiable to the public we are serving.”

The board agreed to work with Vision La Jolla for design suggestions for the sign and possibly sketches to discuss at the board’s next meeting at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 25, online. Learn more at lajollabythesea.com. ◆