City officials recently announced the completion of Phase 1 of the Village Entrance—a project that aims to provide enhanced pedestrian safety, improved traffic flow and new public open space.
Groundbreaking at the project site—located along Laguna Canyon Road from Forest Avenue to Art-A-Fair—took place in September 2018. The project is slated to be completed by the summer of 2020.
Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen said in a statement that the “newly renovated area brings beauty and an environmentally friendly design to the Civic Arts District with parking, walkways, benches, bike racks and green space to be enjoyed by residents, downtown business patrons and visitors to our summer festivals.”
Two new parking lots, Lot 10 (adjacent to Art-A-Fair) and Lot 11 (at the corner of Forest Avenue and Broadway) were completed during Phase 1 of the project and are now open for public use. Additional Village Entrance Project elements completed during Phase 1 include wide multi-use trails along Laguna Canyon Road, decorative lighting, extensive landscaped planting areas, new vehicular and pedestrian bridges and water quality features such as basins and permeable pavers.
The project will now break for the summer of 2019 and resume in September, with an expected completion by next summer.
“When the Village Entrance project is complete in June 2020, it will provide a total of 370 vehicle parking spaces, along with eight motorcycle and 104 bicycle parking spaces,” said Shohreh Dupuis, assistant city manager and director of public works. “The Village Entrance Project’s new bridges, wider walking trails and paved access roads will improve pedestrian, bicyclist and driver safety at one of the busiest intersections in town and address a need to improve this area that has been debated for more than 30 years.”
Village Entrance Project Phase I highlights include:
- Wide multi-use trails made from decorative concrete and decomposed granite to create a pedestrian-friendly environment, including bicycle racks and rammed-earth seat wall benches
- Landscaping throughout the site, including the planting of 75 new trees, 3,250 shrubs and 50 flats of ground cover
- Upgraded decorative fencing along the drainage channel to replace the chain link fence
- New wider vehicle bridge and a new pedestrian bridge at Lot 10 aimed at improving vehicle access, parking circulation and better separate vehicles from pedestrians and cyclists
- Two electric vehicle charging stations in Lot 11
“The Laguna Beach Public Works Department has worked tirelessly on the first phase of this project and has ensured its completion on time and on budget,” said Laguna Beach City Manager John Pietig.
The Laguna Beach City Council voted in August 2018 to award an $8.4 million construction contract to C.S. Legacy Construction for the Village Entrance project, which has a total price tag of $11.1 million.