Implement Policy that Lowers Peril to Pedestrians



My sincere condolences go to the Fitzpatrick family over their terrible loss. Despite concern expressed by many individuals writing about roadway-safety, we witnessed another preventable pedestrian fatality April 3.  Let’s correct the misuse of our roadways before another pedestrian is sacrificed to motorist traffic.

In “Slow Down, Mindful of Life’s Preciousness” Mark Garry wrote that this accident was avoidable but inevitable: “The pathetic truth of this matter is quite simple; the loss of life at this location was an expected outcome.”

When is the last time you drove through a school-zone posted 45 m.p.h. or through a crosswalk placed across a freeway? Laguna Beach is home to both at LCAD. I blame Laguna Beach policy makers and their roadway tool Caltrans for misuse of a roadway.

In November 2011 Pamila Burrus organized Safer Passages to bring attention to dangerous crosswalks. In September 2011 Laguna Streets warned the danger of flashing-strips in “Put Lipstick on a Pig it’s Still a Pig” .

“We are here to serve,” says Caltran’s David Richardson. Instead of a traffic calming device, Caltrans has served us a yellow chicken-strip activated by a panic button. Mr. Richardson claims the statutory posted speed limit represents 85% of motorists and not easily changed. That measure and attitude is misplaced at LCAD. Let’s measure the speed of walking students and set motorists speed-limits accordingly.

Caltrans’ mission is to move vehicles in the most convenient manner possible and completely misplaced in a small tourist town like Laguna Beach.

Caltrans proposes to place a traffic-light at LCAD. Now peer into the future of Laguna Canyon Road, a patchwork of traffic lights from LCAD to Lake Forest, like Harbor Boulevard: brief spurts of traffic frenzy between dead-stops at traffic lights.

Caltrans fails again to exercise their own federal directive by favoring conventional car-centric planning at the peril of pedestrians. Caltrans will try to improve our place at the expense of losing it. There is a better way.

Comply with a mandate to implement complete street policy on Laguna Canyon Road.

Les Miklosy, Laguna Beach

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