La Jolla transportation panel wants unified effort on valet parking plans

By Dave Schwab

Staff Writer

La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board members rejected a request last week from the Crabcatcher restaurant for three valet spaces on Prospect Street, saying it will no longer grant such requests piecemeal.

“If every business along this boulevard applied for their right to valet park there would be no more parking - zero,” said Joe Dicks, representing the La Jolla Shores Association on the board comprised of community advisory groups and merchants. “Unless there’s a unified plan among all the operations I’m voting against valet parking.”

Crabcatcher had asked for valet parking across the street from the restaurant evenings between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m. The vote was 6-0-1 against them, with Patrick Ryan not voting.

Peter Wagener, owner of Hotel Parisi and several other properties, said valet parking on Prospect is direly needed during the peak summertime when he said “it sometimes takes 10 minutes” to get from one end of Prospect Street to the other.

Kelman, a committee member and art gallery owner, pointed out that valet space is needed by different businesses at different times.

“We should look for valet space to commit to a certain time limit so that when they’re not needed in those areas they may be open to public parking,” he said.

Dicks made a motion that all requests for valet parking be denied until a unified plan is presented.

After the meeting on Sept. 23, La Jollan Keith Jones representing Ace Parking, which as advocating on behalf of Crabcatcher’s request, said he’s willing to work with the community to come to terms.

“We want to partner with La Jolla Town Council and the community to come up with the best solution that makes our residents and visitors feel successful,” he said. “My hope is that we can partner to come up with a long-term (valet) solution for the community that will be in place before the end of the year.”

Chairman Todd Lesser said valet parking is “a finite resource and it shouldn’t be wasted ... We want a global plan in downtown La Jolla on Prospect and Girard. Instead of having one huge valet parking area, we need to have more little valet parking spots. That would work better.”

The group’s next meeting is Oct. 28.