La Jolla Village merchants group approves design for directional signs

This design for directional signs was minimally altered before being approved by the La Jolla Village Merchants Association.
This is a rendering of directional signs presented to La Jolla boards last year that was minimally altered before being approved by the La Jolla Village Merchants Association. The text below the map has been changed from orange to blue.

After years of planning and discussions, the La Jolla Village Merchants Association approved a design and vendor Feb. 8 for directional signs to be created as part of its “wayfinding” program.

The signs are intended to encourage people who visit La Jolla’s beach areas to explore The Village, according to LJVMA member Andy Fotsch, co-owner and principal designer at Will & Fotsch Architects in La Jolla.

“You get a bunch of people that come to The Cove, see the seals and sea lions and they leave without knowing the rest of The Village exists,” he said. “We saw a fundamental starting point as being one that directs people from the ocean to [The Village], where they can get breakfast or lunch.”

Last year, San Diego County awarded $20,000 to LJVMA to help with the program. The grant expires in June. Thus, the board is budgeting about $2,000 per sign, allowing for 10 directional signs.

“This is in no way a complete wayfinding program for The Village. This is just a start … then we can build on this,” Fotsch said. “Going forward, we see this grant as something we and other groups can apply for, potentially on an annual basis, allowing the program to grow pretty quickly.”

Over the past few years, the design has been shown to local planning groups and received feedback and approval. Recently, LJVMA met with other local leaders working on larger, more long-term plans for The Village and got their feedback.

Fotsch said the chosen design gives an “ocean feel, La Jolla feel, while still feeling fresh and new.”

The locations to be listed on the signs are landmarks and other attractions, including the shopping district, hotels, museums and others as recommended by the San Diego Tourism Authority.

One type of sign would list three to five locations with arrows pointing in their general direction. A map sign would have a “You are here” dot in relation to a larger map showing the whole Village.

Potential locations for the signs include a trailhead at Coast Walk; the bus stop at Herschel Avenue and Silverado Street; Herschel Avenue and Prospect Street; and Girard Avenue and Wall Street. All would have QR codes to direct viewers to more information online. The signs would be posted high enough to keep vandalism to a minimum.

A motion passed unanimously to approve the sign design and locations while allowing for modifications based on requirements from the city of San Diego, architects or sign fabricators.

Integrated Signs of El Cajon is the selected vendor.

With the approval, “we will move forward with permits and we will be installing signs,” Fotsch said.

LJVMA next will meet with Integrated Signs to get a final quote and submit the plan to the San Diego Development Services Department to get permits approved. Should all go well, the signs could be up by the summer tourist season.

The signs will be updated or replaced as needed.

The wayfinding plan has had various iterations in its years of development. LJVMA abandoned a recent idea to paint SDG&E utility boxes with directional art.

“But it seems like everything is coming together so [the approved signs] will replace that,” association President Amber Anderson said.

“Returning to the original concept of developing wayfinding signage feels like the best, most efficient way to launch a program that will help visitors navigate The Village and easily locate attractions,” said LJVMA Executive Director Jodi Rudick.

The La Jolla Village Merchants Association meets Feb. 8 at the La Jolla/Riford Library.
The La Jolla Village Merchants Association meets Feb. 8 at the La Jolla/Riford Library.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Other LJVMA news

Business Breakfasts: LJVMA voted to bring back its “Business Breakfast” program for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The meetings will be once a quarter, except in December, starting in June. During the months when it is held, the Business Breakfast will replace the monthly marketing happy hour.

LJVMA member Summer Shoemaker said the marketing happy hours have been successful “but there was also a request that … we have the Business Breakfasts because they were really valuable” to those who can’t step away from work in the late afternoon.

Topics could include small-business trends and forecasts, staffing issues, tourism and more.

The board voted to have Business Breakfasts in June, September and March, though it deferred discussion of dates and venues to the marketing committee.

Ambassador program: LJVMA is partnering with the La Jolla Rotary Club’s Interact Club to launch a pilot program involving local youths serving as ambassadors for tourists.

LJVMA member Brandon Lindley said students from La Jolla High School who “want to get involved and promote La Jolla” would be stationed at Scripps Park for two hours on a weekend afternoon with shirts, maps and cornhole games.

“We’re going to have information about … where the shops are, where ... restaurants are and what they like to do,” Lindley said.

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


3:05 p.m. Feb. 13, 2023: This article was updated with a comment from LJVMA Executive Director Jodi Rudick.