I am a Realtor at Coldwell Banker South Laguna, at the corner of South Coast Highway and Eagle Rock Way. This is the most dangerous crosswalk in Laguna. I have seen pedestrians die in the arms of our mortgage broker in our office. Multiple crashes, multiple injuries. Far more close calls from drivers racing into Laguna at 50 mph than any other crosswalk in town! Not stopping, not seeing, not caring. The crosswalk at Aster Street and Coast Highway is second worst. I have landed on the hood of a car while the pedestrian light was in full bloom.
Around 10 years ago, I coordinated with now retired Sergeant Faust to enact a “crosswalk sting ” at my office. We had nine motorcycle cops from Laguna and Irvine stationed at various locations on both sides of Coast Highway. An officer in a Glaring Elvis costume would, at his risk, walk back and forth on the crosswalk with the pedestrian light flashing “OK”. He had a radio, and also pointed to the multiple violators. The officers took it from there.
The number of violations was stunning! In just over three hours, Laguna officers wrote over 50 (expensive) violations. And that’s with a cop in the crosswalk. Revenue for LBPD was well up that afternoon. I’m guessing close to $30,000. And the officer in his Elvis costume only barely survived.
I say this because it’s well past due for more ‘stings’ at our very dangerous crosswalks. I cross Coast Highway twice a day. I see constant violations. A sting will easily compensate the extra labor time for our officers. And then some! We cannot ignore the dangers of our very risky crosswalks. If you haven’t done it, take a few trips across the street during busy times. And wear a good luck charm, or flashing lights.
On that note, we also deal with an aggravatingly loud parade of multi-million dollar sports cars and motorcycles going to, or coming from Cars and Coffee in San Clemente on Saturday mornings. And our weekends are filled with a parade of horribly loud vehicles that can be heard up on Top of the World. What would it take for an Officer to stand at Aster and Coast Highway with a Decibel meter and maybe three motorcycle officers positioned at strategic locations? Again, the revenue would more than compensate the labor big time! And slowly build a reputation that our sleepy village will not tolerate the abuses of too many enormous egos with too much money.
An officer in a car has to be in the right place at the right time. An officer somewhat hidden, standing at a crosswalk, with two or three backup motorcycles, will score violators at an average of five or 10 per hour. I’ve seen it done. And we could use the extra revenue.
Public safety is their primary objective, right? This is low cost, high return.
Tom Berndt, Laguna Beach