Board charged with starting Village shuttle service left scratching its head after meeting with city

La Jolla Coastal Access & Parking Board (LJCAPB) continues to grapple with an easier-said-than-done dilemma: How to use $275,000 earmarked for a Village shuttle service to alleviate traffic congestion. The problem is trustees don’t see the idea as sustainable and the off-site parking lot in Bird Rock required to supplement the shuttle has since been developed.

After a “disappointing” meeting with City of San Diego and California Coastal Commission representatives in September, the LJCAPB is back at square one. Members are trying to figure out how to bring a shuttle into La Jolla, per the terms of the La Jolla Parking and Transportation Fund, which was collected from developer fees in the 1970s and ‘80s and set aside for the project.

The board had hoped other alternatives would meet the intention of the governing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) without having to implement an “unsustainable” shuttle program. It submitted a list of alternatives of what to do with the money to La Jolla Coastal Parking & Transportation Fund overseer Meredith Dibden-Brown and Commission coastal program analyst Alex Llerandi. However, it was determined these ideas would not meet the terms of the MOU.

LJCAPB member Sheila Fortune said, “(They) kind of laughed in our face.”

She added, “We could go put a shuttle (in place) and bus people in from outside the Village into the Village and just run it until the money runs out. The city would be happy, but we would not be happy.”

LJCAPB chair Deborah Marengo said she was disappointed with the September meeting and concerned that the city was not willing to work with the board to find a solution amenable to all parties.

One idea proposed at the October meeting by member Tom Brady was to implement a service similar to La Jolla Community Center’s “Senior Express” program. This new service transports seniors around La Jolla through a livery system paid for through a grant left by benefactor Florence Riford (click here to read the La Jolla Light story). To evaluate the feasibility, LJCAPB announced it would ask someone familiar with the program to speak at its next meeting, 5 p.m. Nov. 11 at a location to be determined.