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Calling for a Course Correction

Editor,

Doing something in the vicinity of Forest and Broadway to provide an entrance is long overdue. But isn’t $126 million a tad high to add a few parking spaces and strip of parkland next to City Hall?  Believe it or not, this is the potential cost of the council’s foolishness in charging ahead with the ill-conceived and poorly planned village entrance project.

Walker Consultant’s latest and updated Village Entrance estimate is $58 million. This translates into a $65 million bond issue allowing for fees and reserves in an issue. Now do the math: 30-year repayment at 5% interest amounts to $4.2 million annually or (voila) $126 million!

That amounts to five, $25 million projects the city could do to improve parking all around the city and add a strip park to boot at the corner of Forest and Broadway. Perhaps even to place a pedestrian crossing over Coast Highway. So, it appears to me that the city is at a fork in the road to either proceed blindly down a path of insanity or make a course correction.

Does it matter if the council blows off $125 million on a poorly designed project in a bad location? After all, Newport Beach just built a city hall with parking that will cost them $237 million over the next 30 years, but at least they got a new civic center and parking out of the deal.

Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” had some great reflections on acting goofy, which the council would do well to consider“Alice came to a fork in the road. ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked.  ‘Where do you want to go?’ responded the Cheshire Cat.  ‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered. ‘Then,’ said the Cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.”

This could be a great project, but not as conceived in the selected location. And not for the price tag encumbering the city’s residents and visitors to unconscionable debt for not much benefit to all of the city’s residents and business areas. Given the council’s general misdirection, would Lewis Carroll say “Off with their heads” or “We’re all mad here?”

 

Victor Opincar, 
Laguna Beach

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Comments (3)

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  1. A concrete parking garage has a lifespan of 35 years in the salt air of a coastal town. The corrosive affect of the salt rusts the internal rebar of the structure. That means that no sooner would the parking garage be paid for when it would have reached the end of its lifespan.

    A more sustainable and fiscally sound perspective would invest in creating safe infrastructure for bicyclists and pedestrians so people would not need to use their automobiles.

  2. Les Miklosy says:

    The June 11 agenda bill says the principal source of funds for the $42M ($58M) project is parking meter money and debt financing. Now it should be abundantly clear our city decision makers resolve to solve our parking and circulation problems by attracting more motorists to pay for the $22,650,000 parking structure and the bond! This project is proposed in a city with no Mobility Master Plan, no Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, and no adopted Complete Street Policy.

    The question the city should ask is not where do visitors paak-da-kaa, but rather how do we bring walk-in traffic to our retail businesses. That’s a job for Complete Streets Policy.

  3. It seems that we could do a lot for walking and biking with $58M. Maybe divide the sum into thirds so that all transportation modes are represented equally…$19M ea could make a huge, balanced impact for everyone.

    There needs to be a plan in place that says that this project is just one of many and here is where it fits into the whole…that’s what real VISION is.

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