The installation of a new red light at the pedestrian crossing at LCAD has created unbelievably bad traffic congestion in the canyon, not only at peak hours but also at non-peak hours, effectively rendering the canyon impractical as a route to get in and out of Laguna Beach. Caltrans still has signs up indicating they’re doing construction along the canyon, but anyone paying attention will notice that it is the new pedestrian crossing, and not the limited amount of construction still underway (I’ve only noticed work going on there once in the past two weeks) that has—in one shot—drastically altered, if not ruined, the daily commutes of those Laguna Beach residents and workers who regularly rely on the canyon.
The new crossing with its attendant red light signal was installed as a result of a death and other accidents that occurred when pedestrians from LCAD were attempting to cross there. An overhead pedestrian bridge was considered but shot down as a possibility due to the prohibitively high cost of installing handicap-friendly elevators on both sides of such a bridge.
The need for such a crossing at all came about when LCAD took over a building across the road from its campus. But why should the all of those who live and work in Laguna Beach have to pay the price—and it’s a big one—for the specific needs of a private school?
Are the citizens of Laguna Beach really going to accept this untenable delay in getting in and out of their city? Lately, because of this new red light on the pedestrian crossing, I’ve been forced to drive far out of the way—either south to Crown Valley, or north to Newport Coast, just to get to Irvine from Laguna Beach. It’s ridiculous.
Something needs to be done. As it was, the canyon’s traffic congestion was already at the brink; now, by bringing traffic to a total halt for significant durations, on-and-off, throughout the day (and night), this new red light on the pedestrian crossing at LCAD has pushed the problem well over the brink.
Andrew Winer, Laguna Beach
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