Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Laguna Prominade

According to archives at the Independent and the Coastline Pilot the first articles on pedestrian traffic and promenades appear far back as August 2002, "Monolithic structures become monumental failures", by Roger Butow. Laguna residents have been contributing ideas and articles on the promenade topic for a long time. I suggest we resist the temptation to oversimplify this topic since all cities are unique and require unique solutions for implementing promenades. Closing a downtown street for a day to invite a 'Bier Fest Happening' will most certainly give different results in Laguna Beach as it will in Budapest and Santa Monica. Promenades in all world class cities are common, but that is the extent of their similarity. Their differences lay in the design and implementation of the promenade for the surrounding infrastructure and usage. The solution for Bogota (the Ciclovia) is different than the one for Santa Monica or Laguna. What contributes to the differences in the implementation? Among them are culture, values, attitude, topography, mobility, transportation, enforcement, capacity, saturation, and not least seasonal traffic. Our City Council recognizes the complexity of downtown issues and has appointed a task force to research, survey, and make recommendations for the implementation of infrastructure such as pedestrian walkways and bikeways, a component of complete streets. The Complete Streets Task Force has been meeting since September of 2009 to make those recommendations. In the following weeks I will contribute articles to illustrate what complete streets are and how Laguna Beach would benefit from adopting them. Complete Streets takes a holistic view of the mobility issue in Laguna, the downtown Promenade may resolve itself as a natural result of the complete streets effort.

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