La Jolla merchants group awards contract and chooses locations for directional signs

A rendering of directional signs presented to La Jolla boards last year
A rendering of directional signs presented to La Jolla boards last year was minimally altered (the text below the map was changed from orange to blue) before being approved by the La Jolla Village Merchants Association.

The signs are intended to encourage people who visit La Jolla’s beach areas to explore shops, galleries and restaurants in The Village.


The La Jolla Village Merchants Association took another fundamental step toward implementing its directional sign program when it approved a proposal from a vendor and awarded the contract at its April 12 meeting.

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

The board approved a design for the signs in February, and in the weeks that followed, LJVMA sent requests for proposals to 11 possible vendors. Of them, Integrated Signs provided the lowest-cost bid and met all the other stipulations of the request. The board thus voted unanimously to award the project to the company.

Last year, San Diego County awarded $20,000 to LJVMA to help with the program. The grant expires in June.

Fotsch said the Integrated Signs proposal allows for 21 signs to be fabricated and installed within the $20,000 budget. As part of the RFP, a list of locations also was created, focusing on the coast and Scripps Park areas. The signs will direct visitors to The Village.

“The theory behind that is to have the signs in one area and have that area work well and expand from there … rather than spread everything out,” Fotsch said. “With wayfinding, you need signs to point to other signs.”

From here, the plan will go to the city of San Diego for approval.

While the intent is to have the signs installed by summer, it may take longer, said LJVMA Executive Director Jodi Rudick. “You might not see the signs by summer, but you will see the signs,” she said.

Fotsch said there will be 12 maps of La Jolla to show “how much more there is going on” beyond the coast, plus four directional signs with text and arrows pointing to restaurants and the shopping district, three signs pointing to “hidden stairways” and two signs directing drivers to area parking lots. One map at the bus stop on Silverado Street near Herschel Avenue will direct people toward the ocean.

“The idea is to approve this and … keep applying for the county grant so we can create more signs so in a couple of years, we will have a very comprehensive wayfinding program,” Fotsch said.

Rudick said she has already applied for another grant from the county to continue the project next year.

The La Jolla Village Merchants Association meets April 12 at the La Jolla/Riford Library.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Other LJVMA news

“Welcome garden”: The board also voted unanimously to donate $1,000 from its discretionary funds to the “welcome garden” that would feature a sign reading “Welcome to La Jolla” in the same font as that used in LJVMA promotional material.

LJVMA member Bill Podway said the sign “is a great welcome for La Jolla and will bring great knowledge of our community.”

The sign, intended for the triangular median at the intersection of La Jolla Shores Drive and Torrey Pines Road, is being shepherded by local architect and urbanist Trace Wilson, a member of the La Jolla Community Planning Association’s Village Visioning Committee.

The concept for the welcome sign, which has gone through several iterations, includes the words “Welcome to La Jolla” on a green screen of vegetation. The sign would be fronted by bougainvillea plants, flanked by blooming trees and illuminated at night.

The Rotary Club of La Jolla is raising money for the sign and said last month that it was awarded a $25,000 grant from San Diego County to cover some of the cost. Rotarian Cindy Goodman said at the time that the club needed to raise about $20,000 more to complete the project, including permitting, installation and planting.

Board appointments: LJVMA made its annual appointments to other local planning groups in which the association has at least one seat.

Podway, Fotsch and Japhet Perez were reappointed to the La Jolla Planned District Ordinance Committee. Podway and Dusty Bowder were appointed to the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board, and Podway, Perez and Brandon Lindley were appointed to the La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking Board.

Half Marathon support: The LJVMA board voted unanimously to lend its support to the La Jolla Half Marathon, which is planned for Saturday, May 20.

Event organizer Bart Calame said the Half Marathon is the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla’s “major fundraiser” and that all proceeds will be given to charities, many of which support children’s causes.

Calame said he wanted to “involve the merchants a lot more” in the effort and said each of the expected 5,000 runners could get a “swag bag” stuffed with promotional items from area merchants who supply the materials.

The 13.1-mile course, unchanged from previous years, will begin at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and end at Scripps Park at La Jolla Cove. The final 3.1 miles will overlap with the concurrent La Jolla Shores 5K.

“Best of La Jolla”: LJVMA is continuing its testing of its “Best of La Jolla” walking tour every Thursday until it is “ready for prime time” Rudick said.

The tour includes at least 15 attractions that blend activity, scenery, photo opportunities, food, beverages, art, history and shopping. Highlights include the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, going backstage at the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, La Jolla Cove, the Children’s Pool, the La Valencia Hotel and the Murals of La Jolla public art program, among others.

To go on a test tour, email

Next meeting: The La Jolla Village Merchants Association next meets at 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 10, at the La Jolla/Riford Library, 7555 Draper Ave. Learn more at