Angled parking spaces hope to bring relief for Rancho Santa Fe Village merchants

Soon there should be more open spaces in the Rancho Santa Fe village to allow people to park and do such things as grab a latte at Caffe Positano, a muffin from Thyme in the Ranch, a birthday gift at Country Squire Gifts and Linens or an anniversary bouquet from Rancho Santa Fe Flowers & Gifts.

The Rancho Santa Fe Association board approved plans for 22 new parking spaces in the village on El Tordo and La Gracia at its Dec. 1 meeting. Of the 22 new parking spaces in the village,12 are new angled parking spaces and 10 are new marked parallel spaces. With these additions in the village there are now a total of 30 angled parking spaces and 20 parallel spaces.

The new angled spaces will be in coordination with the expansion of two-hour parking zones in the village, a total of 42 timed spaces.

With the approval from the board, the Association now aims to present its angled parking plan to the county’s transportation advisory committee on Dec. 9 and hopes to be on the agenda for approval at the San Diego County Board of Supervisors’ December or January 2017 meeting.

The goal is for the work to be complete by the end of January, according to Interim Building Commissioner Tom Farrar.

The Association has been working on the plan for over two and a half years with the Village Revitalization Task Force, chaired by LaDonna Monsees. Farrar said the main impetus for the project is the retail tenants, who have struggled with a lack of convenient parking for customers. Many spaces in the village are used by employees of village offices, who park all day long.

To free up room for customers, there will be 42 new two-hour, timed spaces: 19 spaces on Avenida de Acacias, 15 spaces on La Granada and eight on the stretch of La Granada near Rancho Santa Fe Flowers & Gifts.

Farrar said while the timed spaces will help for customers, they still needed a solution for employee parking to avoid pushing the problem into another area. In May, the Association approved a six-month pilot parking program for village business employees to use parking space at the First Church of Christ Scientist on La Flecha, but the Association ended up not moving forward leasing the lot as a survey showed only five of the 41 village businesses said they would consider using the spaces.

The angled spaces provide a possible solution, Farrar said.

“Once we add angled parking to the area, it really will increase the spaces for the all-day parkers and it also just allows for more parking overall in the village itself,” Farrar said.

The angled parking solution, which also involves changing short portions of El Tordo and La Gracia from two to one way, is considered “Phase One” of the parking project. (The portion of El Tordo by the park with angled parking will be one way. A small portion of La Gracia by The Inn will be one way.) Farrar said they wanted to gain as many spaces as they could without cost to the community — it will involve just restriping and signage.

Phase two, he said, would involve more long-term solutions, which might include options such as off-site parking.

Monsees said she has been in land development for 30 years and it doesn’t surprise her but always “confounds” her the amount of time it takes with the regulatory process to get projects like this done. She thanked Marion Dodson from the Village Business and Merchants Association and Farrar for all their work.

“I’m hopeful that it will help the merchants. The merchants have been asking, pleading for 15-20 years for this. The board has spent a lot of money, time and research on the issue. I’m just thankful that it is now going to move forward,” Monsees said. “I’m hopeful that the additional striping will give the merchants some relief and also that it may give some incentive to any potential merchants coming in.”