Letter: Traffic Schmaffic

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No one wants to talk about traffic, because few really understand the problem. Traffic seems so complicated, that our hope remains that the city or another party will fix it somehow. I don’t know traffic, but I do know people.

This winter, I have seen the impact of traffic myself through all participants’ eyes, and it became clear that just the failure of coordinating it can quickly affect everyone. When a lot of festival parking was unavailable due to the new village entrance, it affected the Winter Fantasy and all its artists and concessions as never before. In short, what could have been adjusted by a city crew within one hour, ended up almost voiding three of the five weekend’s income. Politicians, city management and public works communication breakdown created situations where visitors were not able to park and just left. As soon as traffic direction and signage were corrected, the last two weekends were business as usual, even though the change machines for the meters were still out of service.

A 2019 updated public transportation could be the instant cure. Cute looking trolleys with an accompanying app keep the voters at peace and City Hall busy, but do little to resolve the underlying problem. The experts that set up our trolley system are not the ones that need to drive it through the narrowest of roads, or the riders that have to wait 45 minutes to get to North Laguna. Citizens use public transportation where it is reliable and user-friendly. Trolleys are filled in the summertime because it is convenient to just hop on, not because of schedules or an app. If we don’t increase convenience, people adjust and keep using their cars by getting used to its abuse. Better the devil you know. Case in point, Uber and Lyft work and succeed as alternative transportation, because they are more user friendly and convenient than your car or taxi.

Thoughts: Use Trolleys only on the Coast Highway and the Canyon Road  due to their size. Have them clearly identified with color-coded magnetic roof cones. All other routes could be covered by Uber, Lyft and Sally’s fund, because having trolleys navigating with one person can’t be cheaper than a $6 ride. City, what are you waiting for? Summer arrives, with more cars, less parking, and no pedestrian zones, threatening Laguna’s lukewarm commerce to further weaken.

Michaell Magrutsche, Laguna Beach

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