You’ve come a long way, Bird Rock! From shabby to chic. You are pedestrian friendly because of well defined crossings with flashing lights. Traffic is calmed due to new tree and plant-filled medians and roundabouts. And with only a couple of national stores such as CVS and Starbucks, your shops and eateries are unique.
On a recent walk on La Jolla Boulevard, two women who had never been to the Bird Rock section of La Jolla expressed their opinions. “I love it,” each said. “The ambiance is lovely, we had a good lunch at a café, it’s very pedestrian friendly, and it’s only a couple of blocks to the beach.”
Still, more could be done. La Jolla Patch asked nine La Jolla Boulevard business owners what they think could improve the area. Here’s what they had to say:
- Elizabeth Allen, who owns an eclectic shop called Elizabeth Allen Atelier, believes that parking is a big problem. She looked longingly across the street at an empty lot that she wishes could become a parking area. “Aside from parking, another issue is that Bird Rock is not as well known as La Jolla Village,” she said. “Maybe people don’t realize that this area is not run down any more.”
- Naomi Kim, owner of the 1-year-old , a nail salon, said "What would help Bird Rock businesses the most, I think, is more parking. Many of my clients cannot find convenient spaces nearby."
- Tony Pace has owned Bird Rock Realty for 38 years. "What Bird Rock needs most is street lights,” he says, noting lights were part of the community plan years ago. “If you park a block away from where you’re going in the evening, you have to walk through an unlit area. Though the restaurants on La Jolla Boulevard draw evening diners, there are no street lights, and shops close early, so there is no reason for diners to stick around and explore the stores,” he said. “Healthy business draws more business.”
- Louis Zalesjak’s restaurant has been in business for 38 years. Zalesjak says most of his customers come from several miles away, some as many as 40 miles. He agrees the area should be well lighted at night but thinks business owners on La Jolla Boulevard should themselves invest in attractive, amusing lighting outside their stores. That, he says, would improve business and give the area a more festive look.
- Ben Murphy, owner of , loves the business district and thinks a “Welcome to Bird Rock” banner would be a big plus. “There should be something to let people know this is a business district, and a sign would invite people to enjoy our shops and restaurants, much like such signs do in places like Encinitas.”
- owners Michelle London Price and her husband, Bill Price, have been in business for 35 years, 30 of them in La Jolla village. They lost their lease five years ago and moved to Bird Rock. “We have seen a slowdown in business here,” Michelle says. “We need cars to stop driving too fast, and we need more people traffic. An overhead sign announcing La Jolla Bird Rock like they have in Hillcrest would be a big help. So would more restaurants being open for lunch.”
- Krissy Heinz, owner with Lisa Ovadia of , in business for four years, said more restaurants open for lunch would help draw traffic. “I’d especially like to see little cafes around,” Heinz says. “More specialty shops would increase the draw of customers here, too.”
- David Heine, who owns and runs restaurant, agrees with others that the area needs more parking. But he also wishes that those who own the business buildings would invest in their buildings to improve appearances and make them more up-to-date. “I’d like to see coordinated promotions of the Bird Rock business district, too, and events to draw people here,” Heine says.
- Nimisha Amin, who has owned The UPS Store store on the Boulevard for 12 years, says business would draw more people if Bird Rock had a large well-known store to attract people to the small shops. The village, for example, has Vons.