We are writing to express our concern about the grave situation with respect to pedestrian and bicyclist safety in Laguna Beach. Nearly all of our trips around town in Laguna are by bike. We do this in order to ease the traffic situation by not adding another vehicle to already crowded roadways as well as to stay healthy.
We have observed the following:
Drivers have little respect for cyclists, rarely slowing or acknowledging them.
There are virtually no designated bike lanes with the exception of parts of Cypress, Hillcrest and Glenneyre streets. And the lanes on Glenneyre are dangerous and not well protected. The situation along Coast Highway is especially dangerous since there are no designated or protected bike lanes. If one attempts to ride from Laguna Beach to South Laguna, one is forced to take the highway and ride with traffic that is moving at 40-50 mph. What is needed is a designated bike route from South Laguna to North Laguna. The designated route along Coast Highway needs a barrier to protect cyclists. Even the plastic stands that are common in other cities would be helpful.
The traffic north of the Pavilion’s stoplight and the stretch that goes past the Montage often exceeds 45 mph. We desperately need traffic calming throughout Laguna. Trying to cross Coast Highway requires speed and a prayer. The lights at Beverly and Viejo allow a bare 15 seconds to cross, not enough time to cross with a child and heaven help the elderly.
We ask that the city do the following immediately:
Reduce the speed limits to 25 m.p.h. on all streets and enforce traffic speed limits on Coast Highway.
Install traffic calming bumps and plastic barriers to protect cyclists along Coast Highway.
Provide dedicated bike lanes from Crystal Cove to South Laguna.
Install radar speed signs along Coast Highway and Laguna Canyon Road.
Initiate bicyclist, pedestrian and driver safety education with the schools.
Studies in Portland and other cities have proven that more walking and bicycling in a community yields benefits.
Laguna beach needs a plan to remove itself from the top of the lists of cities with excessive rates of injury and fatality for pedestrians and cyclists. Laguna Beach cannot afford to lose another five of its citizens to traffic accidents in the next four months. We owe it to ourselves and our children and grandchildren.
Robert Girling, Sherry Keith