By Ashley MackinOld Town Trolley will add a tour of La Jolla to its lineup late this summer, transporting visitors from Old Town to Mount Soledad to somewhere to be determined in La Jolla, then on to Belmont Park and back to Old Town, ideally every hour.
Participants could get on the orange and green trolley, stay at any of the spots for as long as they like, and pick up another trolley to move on.
David Thornton of the trolley company presented the plan to the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation advisory board on May 23, seeking its recommendations for where in town the trolley could drop off and pick up riders.
The difficulty, he said, has been finding a place near the Children’s Pool or the Cove that would be safe to drop people off without causing traffic congestion.
The board suggested finding a city bus stop in La Jolla Village, so visitors would walk past local merchants on their way to the beach.
Thornton said it would help to have the community’s support when the trolley company goes to MTS to apply for a permit to use a city bus stop.
Responding to concerns that residents might be against the trolley, Thornton said, “One way to look at it is, one vehicle holds 30-35 people, so those are people who not taking cars and not taking up parking spaces.”
■ Curb changes: The board also discussed the possibility of re-designating four spaces in front of Scripps Park from white three-minute passenger loading zones to green limited-time loading zones.
“When you are in a three- minute loading zone, you are not allowed to leave your vehicle. If you leave your vehicle, you will get a ticket,” said T&T chair Todd Lesser. “So what’s happening is all these tourists come to the park, they get out to unload their cars, and the city is just writing tickets.”
District 1 city councilmember Sherri Lightner’s office confirmed that tickets are often written in that area, and Lightner did not object to painting the curbs a different color. By painting the curb green, but keeping it a loading zone, drivers can unload their cars without the fear of a ticket.
It was unknown at the time whether the board could request designating that area as a five- or 10-minute green zone, or if the shortest amount of time allowed would be 15 minutes. As a result, the board collected questions for discussion next month.
■ Handicapped parking: Board member Michelle Fulks represented Bird Rock Elementary in its request for two handicapped parking spaces in the area where busses currently load and unload. She said there are families with children with disabilities who need to be able to park their cars and take their children in and out of school.
The south end of La Jolla Hermosa Boulevard, where the school is requesting the two spaces, is now solely used for busses, so adding the two spaces would not take away any public spaces, and there would still be enough space for the busses to operate.
The board voted to approve these spaces, 7-0-1, and will pass its recommendation on the La Jolla Community Planning Association.
■ Shores Market loading zone: The board discussed removing the yellow commercial loading zone behind, and green zone in front of, the space where La Jolla Shores Market used to be.
It decided not to take action on the plan at the meeting because the property owner hopes to lease the space for a new grocery store in the future, and would consider it a barrier to have the yellow zone removed. Additionally, nearby businesses use the loading zone.
— The T&T board meets at 4 p.m. on fourth Thursdays at the La Jolla Recreation Center, 615 Prospect St.