La Jolla merchants face June deadline to launch directional sign program

This utility box could be painted with directional material at the corner of Herschel Avenue and Silverado Street.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

With a deadline approaching this summer to use funds allocated for a directional sign program, the La Jolla Village Merchants Association is looking to make quick and steady progress in coming months.

The “wayfinding” program, which has been in development in various iterations for years, currently involves painting maps and other directional art on utility boxes throughout The Village to guide visitors to beaches and other area landmarks. Last year, LJVMA was awarded $20,000 from San Diego County to help with the program. The grant expires in June.

“There has been some re-engagement and conversations [about the program], and right now we are looking at four SDG&E boxes [on which to paint] some form of wayfinding signage to fulfill the grant we received,” LJVMA President Amber Anderson said at the board’s Jan. 11 meeting.

One of the first boxes identified for the plan is near the bus stop at Herschel Avenue and Silverado Street.

Anderson said the board has been working with a mural artist to come up with images and that the group needs to “dial in the design and what it is going to look like to get that ball moving.”

Design options will be presented for approval in coming weeks, Anderson said. Once they are approved, “the goal is to get it done by June,” though it could be started as soon as mid-February, she said.

“We just need to get the designs approved, because we have the funds and we have the painters. It’s just making sure all the people involved … give the stamp of approval.”

Previous concepts for the program included signs posted throughout The Village in various sizes, and wrapping utility boxes in vinyl. Both ideas ultimately fizzled.

Other LJVMA news

Wellness bingo: LJVMA is running a wellness bingo game this month with a bingo-style board of health-based activities for participants to complete.

Board member Maddie Wallace said businesses in La Jolla’s health and fitness fields came together to create the game.

“The goal is to get the community to try new practitioners, new fitness studios and new healthy restaurants and get out there and do what’s good for their well-being,” Wallace said. She added that many of the participating businesses have donated prizes for those who complete a row of activities.

The La Jolla Village Merchants Association's wellness bingo game is running through Jan. 31.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Some boxes on the board involve things people can do on their own, such as “take a 30-minute beach or outdoor walk” and “breathe.” Others involve getting a stamp from participating businesses, such as “get a healthy back assessment” and “take a yoga class.”

The back of the card lists the businesses and the squares for which they offer a stamp.

Wallace said new businesses are being added as the month progresses and that an updated list would be posted at

“It’s a really fun way to stay healthy during January,” she said.

The game ends Tuesday, Jan. 31.

Strategic plan: Following a brainstorming session last month, the board approved its strategic plan for 2023, which will serve as a blueprint and goals for the year.

Board member Karen Roque said the group will focus on “organizational excellence, merchant engagement and professional development, branding and advertising” and will pursue goals for each of those concepts.

“This is our wish list and plan for the year,” she said. “That doesn’t mean everything will be executed perfectly … but this is a living document that is a work in progress.”

The full plan will be posted at

Returning board member: One-time LJVMA board member Andy Fotsch was elected to fill a vacancy. The co-owner and principal designer at Will & Fotsch Architects was on the board last year but stepped down to tend to personal matters.

He also serves on other local planning boards, such as the La Jolla Planned District Ordinance Committee and La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee, and volunteers for the Village Visioning ad-hoc committee under the La Jolla Community Planning Association.

“Part of what I was working on when I was on the board, and would like to continue to do, is be a liaison between the board and all the other community groups [addressing] the built environment,” Fotsch said. He also was involved in the wayfinding design program.

Next meeting: The La Jolla Village Merchants Association next meets at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8, at the La Jolla/Riford Library, 7555 Draper Ave. Learn more at ◆