I regret my vote for our Mayor Bob Whalen.
I live in North Laguna, just like him. On April 22, my neighborhood received notice that the city council wanted to remove all the stop signs on the half-mile stretch of Monterey between Linden and High Streets. The meeting was on April 23, 24 hours after we received notice.
Our neighborhood was surprised and angry. Monterey is our thoroughfare, where children play while waiting for the bus. Elderly walk their dogs and families push strollers down to Riddle Field. To put this proposal into similar context, imagine if stop signs were removed from Glenneyre, Bluebird Canyon, Nyes or Park? Removing stop signs would simply turn the road into a drag strip. Vehicles already go too fast and like most of Laguna we do not have sidewalks. Pedestrians share the road with both automobiles and cyclists.
Evidently, that is why Mr. Whalen wanted the stop signs removed. So that bicyclists could go faster and did not have to stop. I agree it sounds absurd. But citing the document written by [Public Works Director] Steve May: “…the ‘stop’ signs along Monterey Drive…unnecessarily impeded bicyclists.” Further down he recommends that the stop signs be removed because they do not follow state code.
This proposal was not only dangerous and reckless, but unscrupulous and dishonest. My neighbors looked up the code and realized that it did not apply to existing stop signs, just new installations. So not only was the proposal wildly biased, but spurious too.
About 60 of us showed up at the meeting to protest the action. The committee denied the proposal and admonished the subversive nature of it and the way it was created.
Mr. Whalen introduced the proposal at the very end of the council meeting last month and if you watch the video, never fully explained what he wanted.
I called [Council member] Steve Dicterow and he said that they had no clue about removing the stop signs and he did not realize the implications of his vote. I also called Bob Whalen, who did not return my call. I give credit to Toni Iseman for being the sole dissenting vote.
Shame on Mayor Bob Whalen. Shame on Steve May. Their actions were not just distasteful, but reckless, immoral and disgraceful. What if those stop signs were removed and a child was hit by a car?
Kyle Schroeder, Laguna Beach