Transportation board debates uniform parking times

Talk of a standard 90-minute or two-hour parking limit throughout the Village drew the La Jolla Traffic and Transportation Board’s attention last week, but members opted to table the issue until February so they can gather more information.

Deborah Marengo, Promote La Jolla’s outgoing president, said the merchant group favors standardizing Village parking time zones.

“Promote La Jolla’s board voted for a two-hour time limit for the Village,” she said.

The existing jumble of varying one- and two-hour time zones causes confusion and one-hour time limits don’t allow people to both eat and shop, she added. Community planner and landlord Bob Collins said universal time zones wouldnd’t please everyone.

Two sides of it

“It’s fair to say a 90-minute zone will be favored by merchants like Burns and Warwick’s and that restaurateurs will favor two-hour limits,” he said.

Darcy Ashley, La Jolla Town Council president, noted that a standardized 90-minute parking time zone has been instituted successfully in La Jolla Shores.

But she added that universal time zones might have negative consequences. “Two hours might make it easier for employees to park without getting a ticket,” she said. “Ninety minutes will probably push some of these people (employees) into the neighborhoods.”

One or the other?

“Is there consistency between Promote La Jolla and the Town Council on 90 minutes versus two hours?” queried Jim Heaton, La Jolla Shores Association chair. “Or are you here to ask us to cleave the baby and decide on two hours or 90 minutes?”

“If you have 90-minute zones you’re pushing employees further and further into residential areas, because they’re not going to want to go into the parking garages,” replied Marengo, who added that her company pays for parking for its employees and encourages them to park in area garages.

“Unfortunately, there’s no labor law that says you have to park where your employer tells you,” she said.

Some success stories

After the meeting Martin Mosier, who’s long been involved with parking management issues in La Jolla, noted uniform time zones make communities more user-friendly, and less confusing, to visitors.

“Tourists don’t see time zones changing from block to block,” he said. Uniform parking zones have been tried successfully in lots of other coastal communities, like Santa Barbara with 90 and 75 minutes and Del Mar with 90, he added.

Community planner Orrin Gabsch is preparing to do a comprehensive parking inventory soon to determine where varying time zones are in the Village. Once completed, his group of volunteers could return to the transportation board with recommendations on the desirable length, and location, of universal time zones.