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La Jolla Village Merchants Association discusses digital kiosks and introduces parking website

The La Jolla Village Merchants Association is given a presentation via Zoom about IKE digital kiosks.
The La Jolla Village Merchants Association is given a presentation via Zoom about IKE digital kiosks that may be coming to San Diego.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Although implementation is still away off, the La Jolla Village Merchants Association was briefed during its May 12 meeting on a proposal to bring digital kiosks to San Diego, and possibly The Village.

LJVMA Executive Director Jodi Rudick said the board was asked to explore the idea of installing some digital signage as part of the November opening of the Mid-Coast Trolley, which will extend trolley service between San Diego’s Old Town and the UC San Diego and University City areas, and a possible shuttle to bring visitors into The Village from the trolley stop.

During her research, Rudick found that the Downtown San Diego Partnership was well into the process and had already selected a vendor for kiosks downtown.

Rudick invited Marshall Anderson, vice president of government affairs for the Downtown San Diego Partnership, to update the LJVMA board on its progress. He said the work started three years ago and that the Downtown Partnership had selected kiosk brand IKE as its vendor.

“They are already deployed in larger metropolitan areas throughout the United States; they are readying for deployment in Berkeley, San Jose, Oakland and Los Angeles,” he said.

IKE is an interactive kiosk that provides directional information and city communications in different languages and with different applications.

Anderson said the Downtown Partnership is still “working through legal questions with the city attorney” and has other tasks to complete before the kiosks can be considered for downtown.

“We wanted these in the ground earlier this year, but we are at a standstill, to be honest,” he said.

As for whether the kiosks eventually could come to La Jolla, Rudick told the La Jolla Light that LJVMA will “continue to explore options, especially those that use the latest technology and communication tools,” and that “we are learning from other communities similar to La Jolla.”

In the meantime, the board will consider signing a letter of support for the proposal at its next meeting.

“I thought it was important for the city and the Downtown Partnership to know we certainly are supportive,” she said. “But signage is tricky in this city.”

Other LJVMA news

Park La Jolla: As part of its quest to increase awareness of La Jolla’s parking options, LJVMA purchased the domain for parklajolla.com, Rudick said. Through the site, visitors can buy a $4.95 all-day parking pass, a monthly parking pass and other options.

“Visitors to the website can hover over a map — let’s say they want to go to the Athenaeum — and find the closest public parking,” Rudick said. “The goal is, as merchants, you can embed it to your website so people know the closest parking to your store. We don’t want parking to be at the forefront of every conversation; we want people to know we have free parking, cheap parking and monthly parking.”

Seal safety: Since LJVMA plans to “leverage the seals” as part of its 2021 strategic plan — meaning try to draw visitors into The Village for shopping and dining when they come to view the sea lions at La Jolla Cove and the harbor seals at the Children’s Pool — the Sierra Club Seal Society stated its interest in partnering with the board to facilitate “safe and environmentally responsible” ways to “improve the visitor experience” when viewing the pinnipeds in La Jolla.

People move in close to view and photograph sea lions and their pups at Boomer Beach next to Point La Jolla in August.
(Eduardo Contreras / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

The board could not act at its May 12 meeting because the discussion was raised during public comments and was not noticed as an action item. Rudick suggested the Seal Society write a formal request for the board to discuss further and present it to the La Jolla Parks & Beaches board as another possible partner.

Board replacements: LJVMA will seat two new board members at its next meeting to fill vacancies left by the resignations of La Jolla Golf Carts owner Robert Mackey, who moved from La Jolla, and chiropractor Nevin Ramona, who sold her practice.

On May 12, Lauren Turton and Kelli Metcalf submitted candidate statements, which were accepted. They will be sworn in at the next meeting.

Turton, a co-owner of Ciao Ciao Piadina restaurant, said: “What I can bring to the table here is bringing ideation to creation and coming up with some activations and installations in La Jolla that would attract the 30- and 40-year-old professional and entrepreneurial crowd. I want to get involved because I own a restaurant in this area, so it is important to me that not only my restaurant thrives but other businesses that I am neighbors with and co-creating with thrive as well.”

Metcalf, a licensed Realtor in the escrow industry who was on the board a few years ago, returned because she has a new office that opened recently in The Village.

“I have been on many boards in my lifetime … I always feel the need to serve and stay connected to the community,” she said. “We’re always out and about, connecting people with other people, and I think Realtors need to know what’s going on in our Village and have a say in what happens in The Village. I think it’s a good fit for me to complete that circle [on the board].”

Next meeting: Assuming COVID-19-related regulations continue to ease, LJVMA is looking to have its next meeting in person at 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 9. Board President Cody Decker said the meeting — which will have an online component for those uncomfortable attending in-person events — will be in the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center courtyard at 7600 Fay Ave. Learn more at lajollabythesea.com. ◆