During its Oct. 23 meeting, the La Jolla Traffic and Transportation (T&T) advisory board heard a proposal initiated by Warwick’s Bookstore owner Nancy Warwick to change parking limitations on the 7700-7900 blocks of Girard Avenue (between Wall and Kline streets) from 60 to 90 minutes.
With the goal of giving shoppers more time to patronize Village businesses, but still have a flow of traffic from people exiting parking spaces, T&T unanimously approved the proposal. Their recommendation now goes to the La Jolla Community Planning Association for ratification before being forwarded to the city.
Warwick, whose store is at 7812 Girard Ave., petitioned neighboring businesses to sign onto the plan. Darcy Ashley presented the idea and the petition results at the meeting, as Warwick could not attend. “Nancy and other merchants are trying to foster this ‘shop local’ mentality ... within the 60-minute parking time limit, it is really difficult to eat at a restaurant, much less to eat at a restaurant and then go to other shops,” she said.
“At the same time, there is the concern about maintaining a reasonable turnover of parking places, so that’s why there is resistance to two-hour parking,” Ashley said.
She said business owners expressed frustration with customers getting parking tickets, and that Girard Avenue is one of the most frequently ticketed streets in San Diego. According to a June 2008 report by U-T San Diego: “Downtown La Jolla is among the most ticketed. Cars are cited constantly on the main thoroughfare of the upscale shopping district, typically for overstaying a 60-minute limit at the curb.”
“The hope is the 90 minutes will put people in a situation where they are not getting so many parking tickets because they have enough time to do what they came to the Village to do,” Ashley said. She explained that 54 signatures were collected, representing the majority of businesses on the affected blocks. Of the non-signers, Ashley said, one was a gallery owner, another operated a business with rapid turnaround, and a third said Village employees park on the street, and with more available time, this issue would be harder to regulate.
Ashley said businesses with parking lots, such as banks and Mary, Star of the Sea Church, were not contacted for the petition. She also noted the upcoming La Plaza La Jolla shopping complex (occupying the former Jack’s La Jolla space) set to open in early 2015, would have shops and a restaurant, and patrons might benefit from the additional time.
“Nancy wants people to shop at multiple places instead of just one,” she said. “We recognize this is somewhat uncharted territory, but we’re hoping it will resolve some of the issues related to tickets and give people more time to spend in the Village.”
T&T Chair Todd Lesser reminded the board that the parking signs could always be changed if the longer time proved disadvantageous, and the board voted unanimously to recommend the change.
In other T&T news:
■ Bird Rock block to limit parking time: In a situation similar to Girard Avenue, a proposal came before the board to change the limitations on parking along a block of La Jolla Boulevard in Bird Rock, between Camino de la Costa and Bird Rock Avenue. Supported by a petition, Pablo Lanatti, owner of Adrenalina Skate Shop, spoke to the board.
He said the west side of the street has no limitations on parking, encouraging residents and area employees to park their all day, or in some cases, days on end. So a petition seeking to convert the block into a two-hour parking zone was circulated and signed by all but one business owner, and tenants of the block, he said.
Lanatti added that for consistency sake, the guidelines for the west side of the street would match the east, limiting parking to two hours, ending at 6 p.m., except federal holidays and Sundays.
After some joking that the city could borrow some two-hour parking signs from Girard Avenue, a motion to approve the request passed unanimously.
■ Conversion denied: Management at Dick’s Liquor on Pearl Street at Eads Avenue requested, though were not present at the meeting, that one of the two-hour parking spaces on Eads Avenue be converted to a 15-minute parking space.
There are currently two 15-minute parking spaces on the corner immediately in front of the business.
Looking up a street view of the location, T&T member Patrick Ryan observed that when the photo of the area was taken, both 15-minute spaces were empty and the two- hours spaces occupied. Member John Kassar added there is a parking lot behind the building. A motion to deny the additional space was approved.
■ Concours d’Elegance: The requested street closures for the annual Concours d’Elegance car show — April 10-12, 2015 at La Jolla Cove — were approved unanimously, with the assurance that organizers would work with the community, particularly Cove enthusiast Bill Robbins, to alleviate concerns brought up last year. Concerns included trucks loading and unloading equipment and blocking crosswalks and parking spaces.