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New company chosen for La Jolla directional sign program after FlashParking pulls out

A parking district intended to mitigate La Jolla's parking problems was dissolved in 2016 but could be revived.
(File)

Coastal Access and Parking Board member is exploring a revival of the La Jolla Community Parking District.

An ongoing project to get a directional sign program in La Jolla will need to do one of its steps again and proceed with a new vendor after the chosen company rescinded its proposal this month.

The wayfinding signage program, a multiyear effort of the La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking Board, includes two parts: static signs posted throughout The Village pointing pedestrians to area beaches, landmarks and other key destinations, and one electronic sign indicating how many parking spaces are in four area garages, where they are located and the cost at each one, plus signs fronting those garages showing how many spaces are available.

In January, CAPB selected FlashParking’s $61,000 proposal to fabricate and install the electronic sign, along with hardware, installation and software for its camera-based technology. It was noted at the time that Texas-based FlashParking was the newest company that applied for the job, and board member Jodi Rudick said she considered it a risk to bank on a firm with less experience.

This month, FlashParking rescinded its proposal (a specific reason was not given beyond “they did not think they were the right company,” Rudick said), and the board is moving forward with its second choice, EnSight, whose proposal came in at $96,000.

EnSight’s plan offers “incredible solutions with fantastic experience that offers the same technology that was a priority for this board,” Rudick said. It includes “cameras that can translate to off-street parking in garages and could expand to intelligence regarding on-street parking,” she said.

Money for the project comes from a fund accrued by California Coastal Commission-required contributions by office space developers. About $121,000 is available.

The proposal has gained conceptual approval from the La Jolla Village Merchants Association, Planned District Ordinance Committee, Traffic & Transportation Board and Community Planning Association (the latter on the consent agenda with no discussion).

“We feel strongly the California Coastal Commission is going to continue to support the project because the only thing that has changed is the vendor,” Rudick said.

The board will proceed with its budgeting process and city review with the new vendor, and Rudick said she still hopes to have the signs installed by the end of the year.

The board has not met since March, but at its last meeting, it debated the location and size of the signage. It did not come to a decision on either.

Parking district revival?

At the same time, but unrelated to the CAPB effort, Rudick said she is investigating and in talks with the city of San Diego about re-establishing the La Jolla Community Parking District.

The city’s Community Parking District program was established to generate revenue to help bring solutions to neighborhoods most adversely affected by parking problems. The existing parking districts include the communities of Downtown, Mid-City, Old Town, Pacific Beach and Uptown.

Many of the districts have implemented or discussed different income generators to pay for solutions, such as on-street paid parking in commercial areas, residential permit parking, parking validation programs and changes in parking requirements for new development.

La Jolla once had a parking district, but it was dissolved due to inactivity in 2016.

Citing no progress to speak of in terms of measures implemented to create income, then-City Council President Sherri Lightner introduced a request to dissolve the La Jolla Community Parking District on grounds that it had been inactive since it formed in 2005 and that Promote La Jolla, the board tasked with managing the district, was disbanded in 2011.

At the time, parking meters were proposed as a revenue-generating method and were roundly rejected by the community.

“Soon after the La Jolla Community Parking District was created, the community of La Jolla blocked the efforts … to install paid parking meters in La Jolla,” Lightner said at the time. “Without any parking meter revenues to support the Community Parking District … it was unable to properly function.”

Without noting any specific source of revenue that could be used to fund the revived La Jolla Community Parking District, Rudick said: “We are looking at how other communities have funded the projects that have been so beneficial to added vibrancy. In La Jolla, funding comes up as a barrier over and over. So we are looking at all funding sources, including parking districts.” ◆