Complete Streets Mandates Ignored in Laguna



The Complete Streets Act requires that cities plan (and provide) for a balanced, multi-modal transportation network that meets the needs of all (street users) for safe and convenient travel. The users of these streets include bicyclists, children, seniors, persons with disabilities, motorists, movers of commercial goods, pedestrians, and users of public transportation. Mandates in the Complete Streets Act were effective Jan. 1, 2011.

Laguna Beach anticipates capital improvements around the city in a 10-year capital improvement plan available from the city website. (2009-2010 Plan here)  In 2011-2012, Section V cites

15 projects for total funding of $6.4 million. Four of those projects have implications under Complete Streets mandates and total $1.7 million. The projects now completed do not offer routine accommodation of all roadway users and show Complete Streets mandates were disregarded by city officials.

Caltrans holds jurisdiction over Laguna Canyon Road and is held to a separate but equivalent complete streets mandate by directive 64 from the California Department of Transportation. This directive specifies that routine accommodation of all road users should be met, and to maximize bicycle, pedestrian, and transit safety and mobility through each project’s life cycle. Further, the directive plainly states, “the department and local agencies have the duty to provide for the safety and mobility needs of all who have legal access to the transportation system.”

Roadway users on Laguna Canyon Road and Coast Highway routinely include hundreds of cyclists, pedestrians, non-motorized vehicles, buses, Laguna’s trolley and private automobiles. Routine accommodation means providing reasonably safe and convenient travel through planning, design, construction, reconstruction and operation of roads for this diverse mix of road users.

For Caltrans, Complete Streets compliance is an integral part of enabling people to safely and conveniently navigate the transportation system. They set high standards for our infrastructure.

What are Laguna’s standards? No one seems to know. Maybe they just don’t care. Laguna’s Public Works department was contacted for comment to this article but made no reply.


Les Miklosy, Laguna Beach

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