Guest Column: A Road Map for Improving Downtown Parking, Traffic

By Tom Williams

guest col williams don't leave picAs a business owner, there are two issues I hear about every day of my life. They are parking and praffic.

Constantly I hear that there “is no parking” or “traffic is a nightmare”. This in a mall where we provide at least (some) free parking.

I have been in My Laguna Office for eight years and I have seen little done to alleviate the situation. I cannot understand why the much ballyhooed village entrance has not been built. There is lots of space for a several layer parking structure, which could have hanging foliage to make it look attractive. There are no view issues.

I am convinced a private/public joint project could be financed. Put some stores on the ground floor, several layers of parking with penthouse townhouses on the top and I think developers would come running.

Several other things could be done, some simple, some not:

  1. Create a map of all free parking areas which could be put on the city’s website as well as printed and offered in all the stores.
  2. Require that all private, government and church lots that are not being used on weekends be required to offer parking, free or otherwise.
  3. Distribute a free walking map. Distribute in the stores.
  4. Finally create a decent bike plan. Install bike racks across the city and institute a bike swapping service.
  5. Consider buying properties like Goodyear or the Verizon building to be converted to parking structures.
  6. Put grids (like subway grids) over the spillway and offer this area for bicycle and motorcycle parking.
  7. Get local businesses to sponsor Porta Potties on all the beaches to take some of the pressure off main beach and move crowds to other beaches (and therefore other parking areas).
  8. License golf carts to circulate and give tourists rides. The shuttle tends to bypass business areas when on their way to the festivals.
  9. Have certain areas in downtown alleyways with free parking on Sundays. They are not needed by commercial vehicles on that day.
  10. Move the farmer’s market and the car show to the high school. Have shuttles there if necessary.
  11. Investigate making the bus service free…or create a low cost weekly pass. They have a free loop in downtown Portland and it is tremendously successful.
  12. Open up the City Hall staff parking lot on the weekend.
  13. Give tax breaks to hotels or other business locations that create new parking spaces for the public.


Local residents are always telling me that they don’t come downtown (especially in the summer because the traffic is so bad). Since we count on locals for business, this seriously affects business.

I have some suggestions here as well.

1. Put traffic cops at Broadway at Coast Highway and Cliff Drive on summer weekends and at rush hour. You only have to stand at these corners for five minutes to see the need for someone directing traffic. Cross traffic at both intersections blocks oncoming traffic, creating jams that go back several blocks. Why this has not been done totally mystifies me.  I have asked several elected officials and no one has given me an answer.

  1. Once more off street parking is created, ban rush hour parking Coast Highway and Broadway to Forest.
  2. Make Laguna Canyon Road into a three-lane road. Have two lanes for incoming traffic in the morning and two lanes for outgoing traffic in the afternoon. This is accomplished by having a series of red or green arrows over the middle lane. Several cities that can’t widen their roadways or bridges use this strategy.
    1. Get rid of the pedestrian crossing to the beach at Ocean and Coast Highway. There are crossings to the beach one block in either direction and the Ocean Avenue pedestrian crossing is a huge traffic blocker.
    2. Use the “alleyways” that run parallel to Coast Highway and Glenneyre as bicycle lanes. Give the cyclists a safe way to get around.

Tom Williams owns My Laguna Office.

About the Author

Leave a Reply