Recently the city of Laguna Beach spent $10,000 for a polling firm in Washington DC to compile a citizen survey from a representative sample of residents about community quality of life, service delivery, civic participation and unique issues of local interest. Above-the-fold the executive summary notes 97% of respondents regarded Laguna as a wonderful place to live. So far so good. Below the fold the transportation section notes how respondents rated our ease of mobility: travel by walking: 78%; bus: 53%; bike: 32%; ease of travel by car 22%.
Now try to square those results with the safety rankings from the California Office of Transportation Safety (OTS) who show in 98 cities of similar size, Laguna ranks the most dangerous for cyclists, pedestrians, and those killed due to abusive drivers, such as DUIs.
(See charts at LagunaStreets.blogspot.com.)
Did you know it costs city government $10,000 to qualify and install a single parking space for an automobile? (That does not include the expense of parking enforcement). It would make far better sense for the city to spend our resources on expanding the other three modes of travel; walking, biking and busing. We benefit in four ways: 1) improve resident and visitor safety; 2) move more people with less traffic; 3) embellish transport modes citizens find effective; 4) satisfy state mandates for complete streets policy; 4) saves money on capital improvements otherwise spent for cars.
Will city leaders invest in complete streets to improve our mobility, or will they stubbornly invest in car infrastructure and deny both the survey and our safety?
Les Miklosy, Laguna Beach