Thursday, August 12, 2010

More on Complete Streets for Laguna Beach

Last week I introduced Complete Streets interventions to improve overall mobility when applied to our city streets. Balancing mobility reduces automobile traffic and the demand on parking while maintaining safety. Adopting these interventions will begin to restore balance among four modes of mobility; walking, biking, busing, and driving. Every person walking, cycling or busing in Laguna means one less person driving a car. There are locations around Laguna where street access is restricted, in most cases access could be provided at minimal cost by removing a fence, painting a route, posting a sign.

Sidewalks: Sidewalks in South Laguna are incomplete along Pacific Coast Highway from 11th Street to the Montage. Pedestrians at these locations are forced to walk in the emergency parking lane shared by parked SUV's and moving traffic. Meanwhile there are a mix of residential homes and apartment buildings (23) on Ramona Street. Residents there can see Ralphs supermarket located at the south end, but can't walk there due to a fenced barricade. To get walking access to the supermarket, fast food or the Community Church, residents on this street must pass through the tenant entrance of the last apartment building or drive a car to go one block.

Crosswalks: Wayward pedestrians at Beach or PCH and Broadway ignore traffic lights and wander into traffic. Anxious motorists proceed without waiting for pedestrians, perhaps the posted speed is too high. The pedestrian bridge at Aliso Creek is blocked by a private gate and disallows pedestrian access. Pedestrians at Three Arch Bay need a trail link between Stonington Drive and Virginia Way to complete the route north.

Bikeways: Within Laguna Beach 70% of all bicycle accidents (29) and 50% of all pedestrian accidents (51) occurred on Pacifc Coast Highway and the Canyon in a 20 month period. For the bicycle component of mobility, establish a safe bicycle route between Central and South Laguna and another through Central Laguna. A utilitarian bike route along Virginia Street and Monterey would serve South Laguna and remove bike traffic from PCH.

Parking: Revenue from metered parking should benefit the immediate community where meters are placed. Pool meter fees collected at these locations into a provisional fund. The revenue should be re-invested into the local community to re-vitalize the business district.

School Routes
Young students from Arch Beach Heights can see TOW Elementary School from Moulton Meadows but can not walk there because a fence across a private road bars their access. Consequently they are driven by parents to and from TOW Elementary contributing to unnecessary traffic jams at 8:00am and 3:00pm daily. The intervention here would allow walking routes for students to their school with painted bikeways and signage complying with federal standards for Safe Routes to School. Complete a bike/pedestrian way from Moulton Meadows to Old TOW for school children, bikers and hikers.

These are case studies where Complete Streets are incorporated and business districts revitalized:

USA: West Palm Beach, Pittsburgh, NYC, San Francisco, Boulder, Washington DC, Chicago, Dallas, Portland, Davis
Europe: Copenhagen, Brugge, Muenster, Freiburg, London, Paris

For further information see