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Village Merchants Association lends its support to Village Visioning streetscape plan

Architect Trace Wilson presents a possible view of Pearl Street to the La Jolla Village Merchants Association.
Village Visioning Committee member Trace Wilson presents a possible view of Pearl Street to the La Jolla Village Merchants Association.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

The La Jolla Village Merchants Association was the first community group to lend its support to the Village Visioning Committee streetscape plan during the association’s March 9 meeting.

The proposal is intended to provide a comprehensive master plan for the public right of way, street trees, traffic mitigation and more in The Village and surrounding areas.

Architect and La Jolla resident Trace Wilson, a member of the Village Visioning Committee, told the board that the committee has been working on the plan for the past year and a half and that the project “adds a lot of specificity to the Planned District Ordinance [blueprint for development] and gives folks a better guide as to how we can develop the public right of way in the future. With a plan, we will be able to find mechanisms to implement it.”

The Village Visioning Committee is a La Jolla Community Planning Association ad-hoc group of Realtors, architects, engineers and others.

Its plan is a “macro view of La Jolla,” Wilson said, “from property line to property line, from Turquoise Street to UCSD and the 5 freeway to the coast.” It addresses what he sees as neglect of public spaces, he said.

To create the plan, Wilson modeled all of La Jolla for a digital makeup of its streets.

Reflecting the evolution of La Jolla’s street trees over the years, Wilson said, “The first thing we set out to do is ... create an identity for each street,” looking at what might be appropriate for each one. For example, the larger, more pedestrian-oriented streets could have larger, more shade-oriented trees.

He said the plan also looks for potential changes to zoning regulations and where some taller buildings might be appropriate.

“La Jolla is really underdeveloped,” Wilson said. “We have a lot of one-story buildings and parking lots, and one of the things we are missing is a better mix of housing to keep people in La Jolla so they are dining and shopping and not driving ‘The Throat’ [where La Jolla Parkway becomes Torrey Pines Road] every day.”

Street updates would include changing parking spaces from parallel to diagonal to allow for more parking and to slow traffic. The plan also lists areas where roundabouts, bulb-outs and increased landscaping could be used.

“If we invest in our infrastructure, the private developers are going to come in a big way and make for a much better La Jolla,” Wilson said.

LJVMA President Amber Anderson said the plan would be “a positive thing for La Jolla. … I appreciate all of your research and investment into this.”

LJVMA Vice President Morgan Barnes agreed: “I can’t imagine who would not want this to happen. … This looks amazing to me.”

The board voted unanimously to support the plan. The Village Visioning Committee has met with local politicians to try to garner support and explore funding options.

Wilson said the committee likely will present a large public workshop to gather more input after community groups have weighed in.

“La Jolla is really underdeveloped. We have a lot of one-story buildings and parking lots.”

— Trace Wilson

A portion of the plan — to rework what is referred to as the La Jolla Cultural District — was presented at the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board’s Jan. 19 meeting.

The plan is different from the Enhance La Jolla streetscape plan that focuses on certain blocks of Girard Avenue and Prospect Street.

Other LJVMA news

Getting grants: LJVMA Executive Director Jodi Rudick said the group had received a grant from San Diego Gas & Electric and was pursuing more.

SDG&E granted LJVMA $2,000 in exchange for the association’s promotional assistance, such as allowing a table at events when appropriate, posting articles on LJVMA’s blog and allowing access to post on its Facebook group.

Rudick said she also will apply for a grant to pay for static directional signs throughout The Village that would point La Jolla visitors to landmarks such as the beach and shopping district. At least one sign would be posted at a local bus stop.

“Jazz on Prospect” feedback: A “Jazz on Prospect” concert that debuted during the March 4 First Friday Art Walk drew a mixed response, according to LJVMA member Katey Longo, who is shepherding the Art Walk.

“I love that people are coming to the table with so many good ideas, but it was not received well that there was another planned event at the same time as the Art Walk,” Longo said. “The galleries are putting a lot of time and energy into making this event wonderful and there are just three short hours [4-7 p.m.] … so we have to be mindful of what is being done during those hours.”

She suggested that any future concert be planned for after the First Friday Art Walk or on another day.

“Jazz on Prospect,” produced by and featuring singer turned luxury home sales agent Anna Danes, is intended as a free monthly concert series that would usually correspond with the First Friday event, though next month’s performance is scheduled for Thursday, April 21, the evening before the beginning of the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance car show.

Next meeting: The La Jolla Village Merchants Association next meets at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 13. The plan is to meet in person. Learn more at lajollabythesea.com. ◆