Letter: A Walkable Myth

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The California State Office of Traffic Safety shows in 103 similar cities, Laguna ranks fourth most dangerous to pedestrians, for seniors over 65 years old Laguna ranks as the third most dangerous city. Visit Laguna defends Laguna as a “walkable city”, but “walkable myth” is more like it. Just like the “parking abundance myth” where city leaders promote taxpayer-funded parking structures when city consultants say parking is ample in Laguna Beach. (Downtown Parking Myths Versus Reality, Mike Morris Aug. 19, 2022.) Building and maintaining parking facilities is very expensive to everyone but the motorist.

Laguna’s mobility plan is dangerous to city inhabitants and visitors, it serves automobiles and despite wearing them like exoskeletons, not the people inside. Our automobile worship defines the priority and planning given to our entire urban landscape. City planners still pursue 1950 mobility planning in 2022, you guys remain committed to parking six million tourists in 3,100 parking spaces if we just tweak the parking requirements from 1.2 to 1.0.

For proof of a bad mobility plan, look at the Trojan Horse hitched to Laguna Canyon Road. Eight years of squabbling reviews, layers upon layers of regulations, escalating costs due to inaction and lawsuits. Then an approval by Coastal Commission and City Council by conditional use permit and still this Horse defies conditions in the Canyon Specific Plan. A a 36-foot structure with a 10-foot setback. Twenty-eight unaffordable units but parking for 45 automobiles, generously reduced from 47 to reduce vehicle trips and building intensity.

There is a much better way.┬áThe solution is adopting a mobility plan that shifts the cost burden of parking structures away from residents and developers to a transit or rail fee for visitors. Those fees pay for city services like water sewer and lifeguards.┬áStop romancing the automobile like a non-negotiable in the mobility plan, and street safety will also improve for all Laguna’s pedestrians. The cost benefit will serve both developers and residents alike. (Letter: Joe Hanauer Project Deficient in Parking So Would Trigger a Vote, Gene Felder, Aug. 19, 2022)

Les Miklosy, Laguna Beach

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