Plans for ‘Walk on Wall’ street fair are ‘discontinued,’ La Jolla merchants exec says

La Jolla's Wall Street was being considered for a weekly street fair.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

After a tumultuous few months, the La Jolla Village Merchants Association’s plan for a “Walk on Wall” street fair is no longer being pursued, according to the group’s executive director.

The plan, announced in June, was for a public market/street fair on Wall Street between Girard and Herschel avenues on Thursday afternoons. It would involve closing the street to vehicles.

“We have discontinued plans for a weekly street fair on Wall Street,” LJVMA Executive Director Jodi Rudick said in a statement. “We will instead focus on bringing visitors into our galleries, stores and restaurants with events such as the First Friday Art Walk, which will relaunch Dec. 3 throughout The Village.”

Despite reports of positive feedback from Village merchants, the proposal has drawn questions and opposition.

A month after the event was announced, Rudick said a market manager had been chosen to facilitate it.

In the plan’s first local review Aug. 9, the La Jolla Planned District Ordinance Committee had a series of questions about how vendors would be chosen, whether they would compete with existing La Jolla merchants and how the event would avoid conflicting with the weekly Sunday La Jolla Open Aire Market. It was announced at the time that a first draft of the permit application to close the street to vehicles and host an event had been submitted to the San Diego Special Events & Filming Department.

Though Rudick said at the time that she had contacted management of the Open Aire Market to engage it in the conversation and “haven’t heard back,” market manager Julie MacDonald told the La Jolla Light, “I have never been contacted from anyone affiliated with the planned Wall Street activation event.” Market founder Sherry Ahern said she also had not been contacted.

Further questions arose about the extent to which businesses in the area supported the proposed event.

Rudick said she conducted a survey of merchants about the public market concept and received 73 responses, or about 20 percent of merchants. Among other questions, the survey asked whether an event like a street fair would be beneficial for merchants and whether they supported a public market concept. The large majority of responses were positive, Rudick said. She added that she had reached out to businesses along the affected block of Wall Street for support.

However, an argument broke out briefly during LJVMA’s Oct. 13 online meeting about the support from businesses. Rudick said “we have letters of support from every business on Wall Street … between Girard and Herschel” but said she would not discuss it further because the matter was not on the meeting agenda.

During public comments, La Jolla resident Stephanie Jernigan questioned whether Rudick was being honest about the level of business support.

Jernigan said she had spoken to three businesses owners in the area who opposed the idea and that she was “very opposed to this whole idea because it is going to take money away from my son’s education” by competing with the Sunday market, which raises money for La Jolla Elementary School. “And shutting down Wall Street once a week is a horrible idea … the parking loss is going to affect the businesses in the area.”

The meeting was held on Zoom and Jernigan was soon muted.

Speaking later with the Light, Rudick clarified that “three of the five [businesses on that block of Wall Street] had already signed letters of endorsement supporting the event. The other two letters were not pursued once the plans were curbed.” She confirmed that the street fair plan has been halted.

The announcement was not made at the LJVMA meeting. ◆