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The Last Pancake

By JJ Gaspaarotti
By JJ Gaspaarotti

The summer of 2018 is just one pancake breakfast short of being in the record books. It’s even starting to feel like summer is over. Students going back to school early really lightened the load on our beaches and streets.

This fall we’ll have both politics and football to occupy our attention. They’ve got lots in common. Both can cause brain damage.

The best way to celebrate the Fourth of July is to vote on Nov. 6. The local races are as important as the national and state elections. City Council, the school board, and local ballot tax measures all greatly affect our daily lives. It’s also easier to find out who these local candidates or propositions really are.

A recent poll suggested that one of the biggest issues for Laguna Beach residents is traffic and parking. All the Council Candidates are against our traffic and parking problems. They’re probably also all firmly for motherhood and apple pie.

So how about traffic and parking? The problem is too many people in too many cars looking for too few parking places. There are about six million day visitors to Laguna a year. Fixing traffic and parking means the number coming by car needs to be reduced. Reducing traffic by just 15 percent requires a million people be discouraged from coming here by car. How do we do that?

Should we build a big parking structure out the canyon and trolley folks in? Does anybody really believe that a family visiting from the hot inlands with all their beach stuff is really going to abandon their SUV and take a trolley that’s also stuck in traffic? Not while they can park two blocks from the beach in Laguna for free. Even if you put those million folks 20 to a trolley, that’s still 100,000 trolley trips, coming and going

Should we make public parking everywhere near the beach really expensive? We’d have resident permits. That would discourage some folks from driving here and could get us sued by the Coastal Commission. Is that a reason not to try?

The real issue is how do we manage the burgeoning population of day visitors to Laguna? It’s only getting worse. At some point, things will get so gridlocked that more and more people won’t want to come here, and we’ll have reached a sad equilibrium. That can’t be good for the town or our property values.

We don’t need to attract visitors. Our problem now is the hoards that just keep coming.

If they’ve got any, let’s hear real specific proposals from our City Council candidates about how they would reduce the traffic in Laguna and manage this inundation of day visitors.

I’d like to meet the readers of this column. Please join me for a cup of coffee at Andre’s Patisserie at 1456 S. Coast Highway on Thursday, Sept. 6, around 9 a.m., Dutch treat.

 

J.J. Gasparotti moved to Laguna Beach with his family when he was 11 years old. He has loved it ever since.

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