Caltrans holds the record on road re-alignments for Laguna Canyon Road, each time to “mitigate congestion and improve safety and facility operations.”
In 1993, 10 alternative routes were considered between the 405 and 73 toll road; one was chosen for SR-133, the two-lane divided highway we use now. As Caltrans put it, that alternative did not preclude the “opportunity” to expand the highway to six-lanes later on. The present SR-133 Improvement Project is another Caltrans road re-alignment to mitigate congestion for the remainder of LCR, from the 73 to El Toro and the city limits.
How’s that worked out for us since LCR was a two-lane rural country road in 1910? In the project before us, Caltrans says adding 2,100 feet of additional lane will not add extra roadway capacity for traffic, it merely adds another queue for merging traffic, like another ticket queue for entry to Disneyland.
Does anyone see preparation for a four-lane highway? Caltran’s mission is moving lots of cars fast as safely as possible, like from Los Angeles to Las Vegas with the shortest possible trip delay. They are good at it. The trouble is the same roadway design for Las Vegas is used for Laguna Beach and inappropriate for a state route ending in the Pacific Ocean. The good news is Caltrans is beholding to a state Transportation Department mandate, one that moves transit passengers not just their cars.
If Caltrans were to revisit the SR-133 Improvement Project and honor their mandate, the new design could satisfy the Laguna Beach Greenbelt, the Laguna Canyon Conservancy, CANDO, STOP, and actually reduce vehicle congestion, too. Caltrans would meet their roadway safety objectives and underground Edison utilities without expansion to four lanes. Worth $39.3 million, that would be a gift to Laguna Beach.
Let’s encourage Caltans to re-visit their plans before construction begins February 2021.
Les Miklosy, Laguna Beach