To the chagrin of many we began construction of underground utilities on Laguna Canyon road this past Monday. As the LB Indy put it: “Just when you thought it might be safe to venture out in your vehicle again, another major road project in Laguna Canyon begins next week…” And Mayor Steve Dicterow’s comment, “What we’ve gone through with the Third Street hill is just a disaster, and this is going to be worse.”
The underground construction phase will inconvenience commuter traffic so watch for the NIMBY convention in your neighborhood. As for me, I thank City Council members led by former Mayor Bob Whalen for foresight and initiative to make our improvements happen. For those sharing Dicterow’s sentiments, I recommend don’t dwell on the inconvenience construction traffic brings, rather relish the benefit this improvement brings to Laguna.
Reflect from a world perspective how we earn a living in Paradise so convenient and instantaneous: water, power, sewer, transportation, telephone, digital communications, wireless – like Hogwarts magic — all granted like an entitlement. Undergrounding utilities will widen the roadway allowing possibilities for interventions from Complete Street policy, provided we don’t cave-in to mobility thinking from 1945, or a Voldemort spell.
The construction phase is also an opportunity for roadway users to re-think their use of the roadway and for motorists to practice trip alternatives. Consider that nationally 50% of motorist trips are less than three miles. End to end, Laguna is only seven by two miles.
As Dicterow put it: “Here’s my standard, if you can walk from one end of town to the other faster than driving, that’s not good.”
As a dedicated contrarian I beat traffic regularly by bicycle. Kudos to Steve who discovered the walker alternative to parking-lot motoring.
Now is the opportunity to take the mobility challenge. Ask Temple Hills residents who walk to town, they love it!
Les Miklosy, Laguna Beach
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