‘Positive move’: Shuttle may be lifted from requirements for use of La Jolla Coastal Access Parking Fund

The La Jolla Coastal Access Parking Fund includes money for short- or long-term parking projects.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

A “sticky point” in the La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking Board governing documents that calls for much of the board’s funds to be used on a shuttle service in The Village is proposed to be lifted. The stipulation has stymied many of the group’s efforts for years.

The board has been tasked for more than a decade with spending money set aside in the La Jolla Coastal Access Parking Fund, which was established about 50 years ago through California Coastal Commission-required contributions by office space developers. The funds were to be divided between a shuttle system intended to move people throughout The Village from a remote parking area and the costs of other short- or long-term parking solutions.

The terms are outlined in a memorandum of understanding between the board and the city of San Diego. Just over $278,000 is available for the shuttle system and about $121,000 for parking projects.

Over the years, the board determined that the shuttle idea was unsustainable and has sought alternative ways to spend the money that the Coastal Commission (which has veto power) would find to be in line with the MOU. So far, none of them have.

At the board’s April 28 meeting online, it learned that the language in the MOU requiring that half the funds be dedicated to the shuttle system was proposed to be removed.

The city is recommending the change, which board Chairman Dave Abrams said is “a very clean way to approach it. The funds [could] now be used for short-term and long-term parking and mobility improvements, which I would personally concur with.”

Abrams said it was “pretty exciting stuff” and that the shuttle requirement was “the sticky point that has thwarted us over the years.”

The La Jolla Village Merchants Association is the fiscal agent for the fund, and LJVMA Executive Director Jodi Rudick said that if the proposal is approved, the two “buckets” will become one fund.

She said the recommended change is being reviewed by the city attorney’s office and will be reviewed by the Coastal Commission.

Reading from the proposed revised MOU, Rudick said “the city shall allocate the funds for short-term or long-term and mobility … related programs or improvements.”

“Before, it was ‘traffic circulation,’ which was keeping us bound to that,” Rudick said. “The idea of mobility stretches into pedestrian and bicycle improvements.”

A board motion to support the change, provided the city attorney approves it, passed unanimously.

“It’s a positive move forward,” Rudick said.

Other CAPB news

Parking proposal: The board also was updated on a proposal to use technology and signage to track and communicate availability of on-street parking spaces.

Parking consultant Brad Elsass presented a conceptual proposal introducing the board to technology offered by Germany-based Cleverciti.

“The [technology] informs consumers of where there is parking available and, probably more importantly, where parking is not available so they can choose a different path and reduce overall congestion,” Elsass said. Coast Boulevard was being considered as a pilot street, he said.

Cameras mounted on a post, like a streetlight, would register whether there are cars on the street, and the information would be relayed to a dynamic sign nearby.

The cost of the equipment would be about $60,000, with additional costs of about $3,000 a year for maintenance of the database. Installation and signage costs are to be determined.

La Jolla would be one of the first communities in San Diego to implement this type of technology, Elsass said.

The board will discuss the idea with city representatives and the Coastal Commission. Rudick said the intent is to vote on a proposal during CAPB’s next meeting.

The La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking Board meets April 28 on Zoom.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Parking trends: As more people are returning to their normal routines coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, Elsass presented data collected on driving and parking trends. It suggests La Jolla “has been impacted more than any other place in the entire county,” he said.

“Parking in [garages in] The Village is at an all-time high,” Elsass said, even as on-street parking seems to be the preference of visitors.

Rudick said that during the April 22 kickoff of the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance car show — known as “Ferrari Friday,” when 75 models of the iconic brand lined Prospect Street and Herschel Avenue — those who registered in advance were offered free parking in area garages. She said there were 350 requests for the free parking voucher. Only 54 were used.

“Behaviorally — we’re not sure why — there is something off-putting about using the garage, even with free parking,” she said.

MTS campaign: San Diego Metropolitan Transit System marketing specialist Stacie Bishop told the board that MTS is implementing a campaign this summer to try to increase ridership of public transportation to key locations.

“We’re creating a landing page with an interactive map that has icons of top destinations around San Diego, La Jolla being one,” she said. “When someone clicks on [a location], a little description of the area and a link to a website and information as to how you get there by transit pops up.”

The campaign will launch with a kickoff event in June.

Next meeting: The La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking Board meets quarterly. The next meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday, July 28, with the format to be determined. Learn more at ◆