In response to a discussion of parking and transportation issues ( “Laguna Protests More Irvine Homes,” Aug. 17 edition), I would like to make a few suggestions.
First, change Laguna from an old-fashioned, car-oriented, parking-meter town, into a modern, cutting-edge, beach-town with improved mass transportation, pedestrian-friendly zones, and an outside piazza/sidewalk atmosphere, such as one finds, for example, in the Mediterranean.
Severely restrict parking inside the entire town, and shuttle people into Laguna by bus, rail, or both. Build underground parking structures if possible out Canyon Road, or else coordinate with OC Transportation to run connections between Laguna and the surrounding areas, including possibly a hub at the rail/Amtrak station near Irvine Spectrum.
On the bus or train provide people with brochures, including detailed transportation maps for getting around, as well as coupons to the local shops and restaurants that help make Laguna wonderful.
While they are on the bus or train, make sure to play a video loop describing the history of Laguna, including its significance in the arts and surfing communities, while also attuning them to the beauty of the land and the fragility of the ecosystem.
Unload all the people near where 133 meets Forest Avenue. From there, have trolleys or buses or trains running around town funneling people in every direction, perhaps along Coast Highway and Cypress Drive going north, and Coast Highway and Glenneyre in the south, including, of course, bike and pedestrian lanes converging at this main terminal. Rent out bicycles here, have waiting pedi-cabs, and allow vendors to set up stands. The entire village area should be converted into a pedestrian shopping mall, with outdoor seating, decorative landscaping, and an area for artists, musicians, skateboarders and others to perform.
People should be funneled to Main Beach and back through this pedestrian mall, and there should be a crosswalk/bridge across Coast Highway that also serves as a transit stop.
Finally, do away with metered parking downtown, and create reserved parking for Laguna residents and workers, and don’t make them pay for it! In short, coming to and living in Laguna should be a more enriching aesthetic experience. This should be a pedestrian and bike-friendly town, with an emphasis on the arts, healthy living, supporting local businesses, and keeping the environment clean.
The only thing saving Laguna now is Crystal Cove and Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. Take those away, and it becomes part of the megalopolis. Let’s keep Laguna beautiful!
Chris Cones, Laguna Beach