More parking options proposed for La Jolla Shores dining program

road closure sign blocks street for La Jolla shores dining on Avenida de la playa

Two months after a set of contentious meetings, The La Jolla Shores Business Association is making progress towards satisfying a statewide parking requirement for its outdoor dining program with alternatives to last year’s initial proposal.

In November, the association’s original plan to replace parking spots repurposed in La Jolla Shores for restaurant use faced steep opposition at the Nov 15 meetings of the La Jolla Planned District Advisory Board and La Jolla Shores Association.

The dining program, originally a 2020 response to pandemic-related restrictions, has kept one block of Avenida de la Playa closed to vehicles so that restaurants can place outdoor seating on the street. 

The program has continued through a city of San Diego Special Events permit, but needs to find a replacement for the 24 parking stalls it has taken over per a recent California Coastal Commission requirement that parking must be preserved to protect access to the beach.

The initial proposal – take city property along a frontage road just east of and parallel to La Jolla Shores Drive from Avenida de la Playa to just south of Paseo Dorado, currently largely unused and hidden behind hedges but not marked as official parking – met with arguments from nearby residents and others about the lack of safety and community input and concern with private enterprise using public property for financial gain.

Both November meetings ended in the board members requesting further information before voting; LJSA set up a committee to explore other options. 

La Jolla Shores Business Association representative Phil Wise presented two more plans at the LJSA online meeting Jan 10.

The possibilities are concepts only, Wise emphasized; both have been submitted to the city of San Diego and are awaiting review and feedback. 

The city of San Diego has approved a permit to continue the dining program through 2024, Wise said, as the business association has shown it’s working to resolve the parking issue. 

In the meantime, the dining program will take advantage of California Assembly Bill 1217, which extends the deadline to meet the Coastal Commission’s parking requirement to July 2026.

That’s only a “medium-term solution,” Wise said. 

New ideas

Both alternatives Wise presented make use of space adjacent to Kellogg Park: the first proposal would create the needed parking stalls along the sand burn that currently exists between Camino del Oro and Kellogg Park, at the eastern edge of the park’s parking lot.

The 19 parallel spots that exist along that stretch now would be converted into diagonal stalls, Wise said, to create the new parking spots. 

“The positive thing about this … [it] creates more parking stalls for the people going to the beach,” he added. “It’s kind of logical to put additional stalls … by the beach instead of on the other side of La Jolla Shores Drive.”

The second proposal is to remove a green strip of land along Camino del Oro on the south end of Kellogg Park between the lot entrance and Vallecitos and put 24 spaces in its place. 

“There’s some problems with this,” Wise said, noting the street is “a foot too narrow to do this,” though the city may allow the business association to proceed.

LJSA President Emerson said another option is to combine parts of each plan. “We’re working on ideas … with the city. It’s moving forward and so we’re excited about the fact that we’re getting some solutions here.”

Picture of Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto has been reporting on and writing about La Jolla since 2019. With dozens of local and state journalism awards to her name, Elisabeth knows the industry as well as she knows her community. When she’s not covering all things 92037, you’ll find her with coffee in hand staring at the sea.
Picture of Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto has been reporting on and writing about La Jolla since 2019. With dozens of local and state journalism awards to her name, Elisabeth knows the industry as well as she knows her community. When she’s not covering all things 92037, you’ll find her with coffee in hand staring at the sea.

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