Letter: Resident Petition Ignored by City

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In 2020, the Village Entrance reported cost was $11.3 million or $37,000 per parking space, that option forgoes the Sewage Digester make-over at $16.6 million and $43,000 per space. That’s $1,200 per square feet of paving stones supporting your vehicle. The irony is the project funding comes from our Capital Improvement projects and the coveted city parking fund—the City’s slush-bucket for budget red ink.

The new Village Entrance offers a multi-use pathway extending roughly 750-feet from the Pageant to the Art-a-Fair. Trouble is the pathway was built with no provisions to serve Canyon residents. It serves the motorists who park on those snazzy new paving stones. It would make sense to extend the pathway to Canyon Acres and complete the original intent of the Village Entrance architects.

A proposal to extend the pathway was sent to Mayor Pro Tem Bob Whalen on March 8 and Public Works on March 10. A resident petition was circulated among Laguna residents to petition our city for the pathway and submitted to the City Council and City Clerk with 56 signatures on March 15.

To date, the Petition failed to appear in any city staff report, record of public communications, or agenda bill.

Follow-ups occurred with Public Works, City Clerk in April with no response from Public Works. A NextDoor poll shows 81% of respondents favored the multi-use pathway. The City Clerk made note of this in a city staff report April 21.

A reminder was sent to the City Manager, City Council, and Public Works in May with no reply from anybody. On May 10, in a council meeting I reminded the Council the Petition failed to be recorded. By the May 24 meeting there is no record of the Petition in public communications nor any staff reporting. There is also no record of the petition with the Parking, Traffic, and Circulation Committee.

The City argument heard most frequently in opposition is a painted pathway on an existing sidewalk costs too much. A project cost estimate from Caltrans is $222 per foot, an estimate from volunteers is $3.50 per foot. A line item in our city 2010 wish-list allocates $40 million in future expenditures for the Village Entrance above and beyond the 10-year Capital Investment forecast.

State (CTG, Measure M) and Federal (Tiger II, CMAQ) funding agencies offer free money for improvements like pathways, bike lanes, and traffic calming measures. Should Laguna Beach decide to qualify for the grants, I have are some funding examples at lagunastreets.blogspot.com,

In the time that passed since the Petition was submitted to Council, this city proposed the most absurd parking supply solutions ever: to bury a parking structure under the Public Library, to hide one in a church parking lot, and to paint white “edgelines” on Temple Hills Drive to control motorists. The church parking estimate is $400,000 per space. Doesn’t that cost too much?

Les Miklosy, Laguna Beach

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  1. Unfortunately as this episode clearly demonstrates, the Council majority place a priority on addressing developers’ & Chamber of Commerce members’ wants over those tax-paying residents. Time and again they make this clear. It will never change until we are able to garner a pro-resident council majority.

    In the meantime, tax-payer monies will always be prioritized for the wish-list of developers, business landlords and businesses; and these wish-list items will always be spun as “wins” for residents. Our City has become expert as this slight of hand.

    (BTW – I always include the cost of the Xmas Tree lot ($5mill) in the total cost of the Village entrance, because only with the extra space provided by the Xmas Tree lot, did the parking count approach that which the Village Entrance lot alone, provided before the make-over. So, by my maths. the total VE project cost tax-payers $11.3 + $5 = $16.3+million). In this context, the additional cost for an extended, resident-serving pathway becomes even more trivial.

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