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Bringing Laguna Up to Bike Speed

Editor,

In support of “Give Bikes a Route” by Justin Gresh, the new policy for mobility from our Federal Department of Transportation gives equal consideration to pedestrians, bicycles, buses, and private automobiles. Adopting this policy into Laguna Beach’s general plan would be the first step to bringing bike lanes to Laguna. If adopted, approved and implemented by the city, the new policy would construct a mixed mode transportation system in Laguna Beach and relieve the traffic congestion we experience in our automobile saturated town.

For every commuter you accommodate safely by walking, biking, and busing, you eliminate one car and free a parking space. Optimally, imagine if 75 percent of the commuting traffic in Laguna began walking, biking or busing across town, auto congestion and demand for more parking would vanish. For the remaining commuters and contractors who must drive, the relief from traffic congestion would be refreshing.

Our Department of Transportation secretary Ray Lahood took a progressive stand in May of this year. He said, “People across America who value bicycling should have a voice when it comes to transportation planning. This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized. We are integrating the needs of bicyclists in federally-funded road projects. We are discouraging transportation investments that negatively affect cyclists and pedestrians. And we are encouraging investments that go beyond the minimum requirements and provide facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.”

At the state level, effective Jan. 1, AB-1358 is legislation that mandates that equal consideration be given to four modes of mobility for cities and towns in California.

At the local level, Long Beach appointed a committee to advise their city council on urban planning issues. On Dec. 1, 2010, the Sustainable City Commission for Long Beach voted unanimously to support Class I separated bicycle, pedestrian and ADA (American Disabilities Act) access on the new Gerald Desmond Bridge. In Dana Point, the city has adopted traffic calming as city policy. Evidence of their work can be seen in the bike lanes in town, in the harbor, and on PCH, stopping at the Laguna boundary.

In Laguna, the Task Force for Complete Streets advises our city council about balanced mobility, the same mobility infrastructure Long Beach and our neighboring cities have already built. Compared to Dana Point and Corona del Mar, Laguna is years behind on implementation.

For Corona del Mar and Newport Beach, the city council takes advice from a Bike Safety Committee formed by local residents. At cdmcyclist.com their motto is “a new vision of urban life where people matter more than motor vehicles.” Last week, the city of Newport Beach declared their intention to become the most bike-friendly city in all of Orange County. Mr. Gresh already knows how Laguna Beach ranks on that score.

Les Miklosy, chair of the Task Force for Complete Streets, Laguna Beach

 

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