Since problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them, let’s be straight for once about Laguna’s traffic. We are not reinventing the wheel here, but we have become one of the last crowded cities in the civilized word that does not have usable public transportation.
Public transportation works. This has been proven all over the world, and that is why it is continuously expanded, improved to better serve, to get people faster and more conveniently to their destination.
What ultimately makes or breaks public transportation is convenience. If it is as hassle-free, or better, than driving a car, people will use it. This should be an easy task in Laguna Beach, with its lack of parking and traffic jams.
We must be honest and ask ourselves; are we able to offer a service that works? The answer is yes, because its execution is pretty simple. Start with only two main lines, one on South Coast Highway and one on Laguna Canyon Road. The rest can be served by Uber, Lyft, or Sally’s Fund for Neighborhoods. Perhaps we can make it even more efficient.
If the city decides it can not deliver such a service, it needs to ultimately choose not having public transportation at all. Because, as we have been shown, half-solutions in public transportation only lead to more frustration, cost and failure.
Getting from one place to another is increasingly expected and seen as a utility that offers a lot of advantages: less traffic, more parking, better quality of life, etc. There are so many secondary gains to public transportation, that cities keep usage as cheap as possible or offer commuting for no charge, like in Luxembourg.
Why can’t Laguna choose to be exemplary? This city should not be a playground for learning through trial and error how to solve problems professionally. It seems, there has been a lot of unnecessary effort to justify the cost of transportation.
The choice for public transportation can not be primarily a financial one. It is a commitment for generations, reconditioning of our civic behavior that the world has shown us works and is necessary for a brighter future. I know we can make this work.
Michaell Magrutsche, Laguna Beach