Good luck to those who plan to attend the next transportation workshop next week. I will not be among them.
I attended last time, along with several others who hoped that ideas from all residents would be welcome. But those of us who wanted to focus on resident concerns were by and large ignored and in some cases derided for wanting to address concerns like PCH congestion for commuters or those who simply want to go grocery shopping (something particularly hard to do by bicycle unless you buy one bean sprout at a time).
Issues like sidewalks for areas of town that have been without for decades were patently ignored, as were pleas from hilltop residents for eased congestion in order to even GET to downtown.
We felt as though the outcome of the entire workshop had already been pre-determined and the ‘workshop’ aspect was window dressing, not a true desire to include all facets of life in this city.
City governments exist first and foremost to serve residents—and that means those who dare to conduct normal day-to-day business as well as those pursuing leisure.
I only drove 5,500 miles in all of 2013, but I do expect my city to provide a way for residents to navigate through town without it taking 45 minutes to simply get to the 405—or 30 minutes to get from Wesley Dr. to Boat Canyon at 10 a.m. on a weekday.
This isn’t just an issue of bikes vs. cars or locals vs. tourists. It’s also a safety issue. Those who would hijack the entire city for the interests of a few may well be sorry on the next day we are asked to evacuate all or part of Laguna Beach. We are not a flatland city with multiple exit routes. We have two ways in and out: Coast Highway and Laguna Canyon. Let’s make certain those roads can easily serve multiple purposes—including evacuation in an emergency. It may not be sexy or trendy, but I guarantee you it’s important. Ask those who sat for hours on PCH during the fires of 1993.
If you do attend the workshop and want resident concerns addressed, I hope this time someone listens. But whether or not that happens next week, please do pay attention to which city council candidates express the most concern for residents of Laguna Beach in the upcoming elections.
Sandi Cain, Laguna Beach