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Bird Rock merchants’ S.O.S.: Save our shops

The point was made by the city of San Diego to Bird Rock merchants at a pre-construction meeting last week, that the community will be elated with the benefits provided by construction of a new sewer line and three more roundabouts over the next seven or eight months.

One merchant in attendance, however, spoke for all in replying: “What we’re worried about is, we may not be here.”

It was also revealed at the pre-construction meeting by the city’s general contractor on the Bird Rock traffic project, that the initial traffic control plan “did not allow for any parking at all on La Jolla Boulevard from Forward to Midway streets.” What was the city (not) thinking?

Granted, you’ve got to break an egg to make an omelet. But the eggs being broken here are the businesses, the livelihoods, of these merchants. This isn’t hypothetical. Small-business people in Bird Rock, many of them dependent on walk-in traffic and some of them already struggling to make ends meet, will not be around eight months from now if something isn’t done now to improve the parking situation along La Jolla Boulevard during construction.

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During the last round of sewer/roundabout construction a couple of years ago, some businesses went under. Galoka restaurant comes immediately to mind. Nearly all were hurt.

The Light calls upon the city of San Diego to do absolutely everything conceivable to help Bird Rock’s mostly boutique-oriented, small-business people find the parking they need to get through these next several months.

There are vacant lots in town. There are parking spots, here and there, in alleys and out-of-the-way places. A space inventory has already been done indicating where parking is - and could be - throughout the community.

Contact every landlord. Canvass every neighborhood. Find every conceivable vacant lot that could possibly be used for parking, like the lot at the corner of Bird Rock Avenue and La Jolla Boulevard. Find every parking space and make the whereabouts of those spaces known to the public. Provide shuttles for shoppers if temporary parking can be found anywhere nearby, like La Jolla United Methodist Church at 6063 La Jolla Blvd.

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Do whatever it takes to help Bird Rock’s merchants out.

It will be nice, next summer, when the sewer and roundabouts are in, and Bird Rock’s traffic-calming is a reality.

But, let’s hope, when we look in our rear-view mirrors then, that we won’t have to see a lot of debris leftover from the failed businesses and shattered dreams of merchants who had faith in a system that let them down in their hour of need.