Why Emulate European Towns?

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I walked over to the new addition to our downtown and was mystified; there were three shade providing trees and two eucalyptus which typically don’t, and some potted plants around trash bins. The tables and chairs were metal (better than plastic). The ground was still blacktop and uneven. Would not have wanted to have had a cup of coffee in my hand much less anything with higher octane.

Somehow it still looked like an alley to me.  Standing, I could barely see the ocean horizon so sitting down would have been worse and then the noxious fumes from cars idling.  Soon five people showed up and I asked what they thought.  They had just returned from a walk from Main Beach where they said people were laughing at the parklet.  “Why would anyone sit here when you can cross the street and see the ocean and sand up close,” said one person. They nodded in in agreement.  “One drunk driver and it would be a tragedy if they missed the turn onto to Forest” was another point of agreement.

Why is Laguna struggling to become a European walking village is beyond most of us. If you can’t park, you can’t walk in the lower part of our town.  Where are you going to walk to before you encounter streets going uphill?  What is there to see once you go up hill: houses, cars. Coming downhill you might see some ocean, but mostly peek-a-boo views.  We have little of historic value past certain areas.  Walking from downtown to see our historical homes, well there is a debate about this, especially by those who didn’t know they had historical homes.

Confusion abounds as to why and how these expensive trials happen. We were considered a charming town, but now it seems we are shooting in the dark to become something that perhaps we don’t have to be especially as shops, hotels, etc. close and leave us behind with tax dollars ill spent and have nothing to show for it.

Ganka Brown, Laguna Beach


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