Turning Forest Avenue into a Plaza is But Half the Equation

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Editor,

Responding to Les Miklosy’s letter to the editor dated Jan. 8 titled “A Better Use of Forest Avenue?” To me what Les is saying is when Forest Avenue is opened as a plaza hundreds of extra potential shoppers show up.

People in our town have been talking about converting Forest Avenue into a plaza for five generations. From my point of view it is overly simplistic to say yes or no to changing Forest Avenue into a plaza. Who are the current players? What is their history?

In 1935, M.F. K. Fisher had her first paid story published in Westways Magazine, called Pacific Village. She wrote the town’s people “are lined up grim and hateful on either side of a wall of bitter prejudice.” This text appears in her book called, “As They Were,” a compilation of her life’s work.

Here is an oversimplification of who is against changing Forest Avenue. A few shop owners and preservationists.

Seems to me rather than focus on yes or no, let us focus on some over arching issues, such as, how can our city promote more customers and foot traffic as in more customers in the winter time. How to have less bumper to bumper in the summer time. How to have our downtown become safer, and more charming and more magnetic.

My dream for our downtown is no more road kill (a prominent local teacher was killed by a car driver at Glenneyre and Forest) and better air quality. Way less road noise, less urban runoff, less auto congestion in the summer, way more foot traffic in the winter-time. I want our downtown to be much more village-ish and way less like a corporate suburban mall buried in asphalt. Here are the qualities we can be working for: charm, beauty, prosperity, safety, active life styles, tranquility, a sense of community, a place where local parents, grand parents with their babies, kids, teens, elders, shoppers, beach goers and international tourist will cherish again and again. To restate, a more humanistic place with way less negative auto impact.

I’m saying there may be changes that preservationist and business types would love.

 

Michael L. Hoag, Laguna Beach

 

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