When politicians dismantle a grassroots citizen advisory committee and substitute their insider, the result is amateur proposals and misguided leadership demonstrated by these proposals. Here are some comments with a historical context for Complete Streets advocacy in Laguna Beach.
Interventions for complete street infrastructure should be placed: where traffic data indicate they would be most effective; where alternative transport users have documented their preference; where city-wide planning specifies their usage, as in the Laguna Beach Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, Circulation Element, LB General Plan; and on the LB bicycle route shown by the Laguna Bike Tour Map.
Calling for capital improvement projects and expenditures for complete streets interventions prior to recording traffic data is amateur folly. Recording traffic data in locations where the proposed interventions are located is essential to justify the location is correct.
In 2010, the Complete Streets Task Force differentiated two groups of cyclists before City Council: sport riders using Coast Highway as a coastal route between beach cities and bike commuters, who use residential streets to get around town. The two groups are separate and distinct road users. To advise they are the same is not grounded in reality and it is not the mission of the city to detour cycle traffic on or off a highway.
Three advocate petitions signed by local sport riders argue for sharrows on Coast Highway, one more clue that sport riders are a distinct separate group from bicycle commuters in residential neighborhoods.
A bicycle and pedestrian master plan is essential to assure a homogeneous plan applies city-wide, and to qualify for state and federal funding to pay for infrastructure projects. Laguna Beach didn’t write one. The city should concentrate their resources and staff time on plan completion before building highly contentious and expensive infrastructure in places they are not needed.
The existing sharrows on Cypress Drive and the proposed plan for sharrows on Glenneyre do not appear on the Laguna Bike Tour Map. Both project locations were politically and commercially motivated, but do not contribute to nor begin construction of the bike route.
The Village Entrance was proposed since the mid ‘60s and, despite spending $680,000 on staff salaries, consultants and studies, nothing was ever built. The Glenneyre project on the scale of lane narrowing and roundabouts is another city boondoggle that will never see completion. I would caution residents do not empower the city to begin another study with no beginning, no end, and no benefit.
Michael Hoag and Les Miklosy, Laguna Beach