Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Citizen Survey - Below the Fold

Recently the city of Laguna Beach spent $10,000 for a polling firm in Washington DC to compile a citizen survey from a representative sample of residents about community quality of life, service delivery, civic participation and unique issues of local interest. 

Above-the-fold the executive summary notes 97% of respondents regarded Laguna as a wonderful place to live. So far so good. Below the fold the transportation section notes how respondents rated our ease of mobility: travel by walking: 78%; bus: 53%; bike: 32%;  ease of travel by car 22%. 

Now try to square those results with the safety rankings from the California Office of Transportation Safety (OTS) who show in 98 cities of similar size, Laguna ranks the most dangerous for cyclists, pedestrians, and those killed due to abusive drivers ( like DUI's, see graphic, click to enlarge ). 

This chart shows the relative safety of mobility in Laguna compared to 98 other cities, sadly Laguna ranks near the bottom.  (See similar graphics posted on this Blog )

Did you know it costs city government $10,000 to qualify and install a single parking space for an automobile? (That does not include the expense of parking enforcement). It would make far better sense for the city to spend our resources on expanding the other three modes of travel;  walking, biking and busing. We benefit in five ways: 1) improve resident and visitor safety; 2) move more people with less traffic; 3) embellish  transport modes citizens find effective; 4) satisfy state mandates for Complete Streets Policy; 5) saves money on Capital Improvements otherwise spent for cars.

Will city leaders invest in complete streets to improve our mobility, or will they stubbornly invest in car infrastructure and deny both the survey and our safety?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Visioning is what they do Best

(Newspapers did not publish this so it goes here instead. Stu and Rich published!)
Last week I attended "Mobility Planning Meeting and Visioning", an open workshop organized by the Laguna Beach Planning Commission to familiarize attendees with the the Land Use and Circulation Elements and a new visioning for Complete Streets Policy. Deja vu—where had I experienced this planning process before? Then I remembered meetings I attended previously. Each of these were workshops attended by Laguna residents and by members of city council to set goals and list actions. Each workshop produced a strategy document to guide execution of goals therein:

2001: The LB Vision Steering Committee: "The 2030 Vision Plan" (Identifying a Shared Vision and 7 themes for Action)
2008: The Climate Change Working group: "The Climate Protection Action Plan" (Visioning and 6 categories for action including transportation)
2009: Transition Laguna Beach: "Transition Guidelines" (Vision plan Mission Statement and the Mobility Group)
2009: Complete Streets Task Force: "Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan" (Vision Plan, Mission Statement for non-motorized transport)
2012: The New Complete Streets Task Force: 5 Hour Potluck meeting, "A Visioning Process"
7 May 2012: LB Planning Commission: Mobility Planning Meeting and Visioning (Land Use Element, Circulation Element, CS Policy )

The meeting began with a 20-minute slideshow of traffic-calming art. Other than a slide or two of Forest Avenue, the presentation was of generic origin. Despite 5 years of informal discussions on traffic relief and 3 years of meetings with 86 Laguna Beach residents, PC and city council in task force meetings, the Planning Commission was starting-over from scratch.

Last month the OCTA sponsored a day-long seminar on non-motorized transport for urban planners, designers and engineers to learn how cities integrate non-motorized transportation into their transport plans. The seminar was so packed by attendees from other Orange County planning districts that OCTA moved us to their largest conference room. Not surprising, nobody from Laguna Beach city staff attended.

This is why despite 25 years of city planning, consultants and paid staff salaries, the city of Laguna Beach has not yet placed a flower pot at Forest and Broadway to begin construction of the Village Entrance. Remember that when you vote.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Three-foot passing bill heads to full Senate vote

May 14 starts Bike-to-Work Week and comes very timely to build momentum for bike safety. Senate Bill 1464, our three-foot passing bill, faces a vote by the full Senate next week, possibly on Thursday, May 24. We need your help today to tell Senators why this bill will save lives and help make our roads safer for everyone.

With help from our allies at TransForm, you can send a personalized email (even if you’re not sure which Senator is yours) by clicking on this link. Entering your zip code will generate an email addressed to your Senator. You can add a personalized message.Contact the California Bike Coalition for more information.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Charlie Gandy and Belmont Shores

It’s taken some time, but May 7 the Newport Beach Bike Safety Committee voted in favor of Sharrows on Coast Hwy through Corona del Mar. Of course it was the City of Long Beach that was first to experiment with Sharrows. Belmont Shore’s 2nd Street proved to be an ideal installation for this safety feature. Charlie Gandy was the advocate for Sharrows in Long Beach What are Sharrows? They are bicycle markings painted on the right lane of a 4-lane road that also has parallel parking.  Sharrows convey to motorists that the cyclist has the right to position herself in the center of the lane compelling motorists to change lanes to pass. Sharrows don’t convey any new privileges to a cyclist; it’s strictly an education issue. Full coverage at bike Newport Beach.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Suzi-Q supports CARFREE

Laguna Beach Seniors are discovering new freedom by going CARFREE in Laguna Beach, read what they say about going car-free at the Laguna Beach Senior Center:

  • Let's reach out to friends and neighbors who have stopped driving to make sure they don't become isolated- the enemy of aging gracefully.
  • Let's use our cars less. There are all kinds of great ideas out there from carpooling to car holidays, walking, biking, and public transportation.
  • Let's put our heads together to improve our hometown transportation system so that it works more efficiently for everyone. 
Our whole-hearted gratitude goes to Director Nadia Babayi at the Susi-Q for her persistence to see this program succeed, and to the city of Laguna Beach for their cooperation and funding ($3,500 for brochures).  Check with Susi-Q for more details.

Monday, May 7, 2012

In 98 cities of similar size Laguna ranks most dangerous for cyclists pedestrians and those killed due to abusive drivers

The Office of Transportation Safety (OTS) compiles traffic collision data on all cities in California. This chart shows the number killed and injured in collisions with automobiles. Click the photo to enlarge.

(OTS) then ranks Laguna with similar sized cities in California. Here Laguna is ranked with cities per average population. Best score is 100%, worst 0%.

Here Laguna is ranked per vehicle mile traveled.

Here Laguna is ranked for abusive drivers per vehicle miles traveled.

By any measure Laguna ranks at the bottom of measured road safety. 

Compare the safety record for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers in Laguna, Newport, and San Clemente at this slideshow from Photobucket.

Laguna ranks second most dangerous to cross Hwy 1

A composite view of bicycle and pedestrian collision data from Dana Point to Huntington Beach from TIMS. The contribution from each city shown below.

This is a collection of vehicle accident data from the Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS) showing collision data for Laguna and beach cities. It shows Laguna and Newport Beach lead in bike and pedestrian accidents along Pacific Coast Highway 1.

 Close-up view of bicycle and pedestrian collisions in same period.

The Cost of Revenue from Vehicle Fines

The cost to manage vehicle citations and parking fees should be considered when relying on vehicle fees as city revenue. These are figures from the 2010-2011 Budget documents for three cities. This table shows the number of residents served by vehicle enforcement staff and the cost per resident for doing so. In 2011 the total revenue from all vehicle fines and parking fees was $9,927,000, planning city revenue from these fines and fees is at best a break-even proposition.

Dana Point Newport Laguna
Population 37,000 87,000 25,000
Vehicle Enforcement Staff 3 Depts. 32 198 65
Enforcement Expense 



Residents served per Officer 


Cost Per Resident



Saturday, May 5, 2012

City Policy: it's in the MONEY

This sequence of charts show the operating revenue from three neighboring beach cities, Dana Point, Laguna Beach and Newport Beach. The chart for Laguna shows the city draws more revenue from parking and vehicle fines than from general sales and occupancy tax (bed tax). A city budget that relies on vehicle taxes and parking fees as revenue means the city has no incentive to remove automobiles and traffic . Adopting Complete Street Policy to reduce the mode share of automobiles would threaten this revenue, thus new policy remains a fantasy in Laguna Beach. Until Laguna beach city government abandons its oppressive revenue model based on vehicle fines and fees in favour of a pro-business model to generate legitimate revenue, traffic congestion will not improve. Despite more vehicle fines to make ends meet, we will likely see more business closures. There are better ways to generate city revenue in Laguna Beach. (28 April 2011 presentation CSTF)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Laguna Beach Operating Revenue

This chart shows Laguna Beach draws more city revenue from parking and vehicle fines than from general sales and occupancy tax (bed tax). Remember it costs money to maintain  parking meters and enforce vehicle fines, the total expense for police and parking services exceed $14M for this period. (from 2010-2011 Budget Laguna Beach)

Newport Beach Operating Revenue

This chart shows Newport
Beach draws it's dominant operating revenues from sales and occupancy tax, a reasonable amount from parking and vehicle fines and negligible amount from transit, bikes and pedestrians sources. When looking for vehicle related revenues in Newport Beach one must be ambitious. (2010-2011 Budget Newport Beach)

Dana Point Operating Revenue

This chart shows Dana Point draws the most of it's operating revenue from sales and occupancy tax (bed tax), little from vehicle fines and parking. The contribution from Transit and Bikes & Pedestrians is negligible. (2010-2011 Budget Dana Point).
This chart shows vehicle related revenue per enforcement officer. Laguna Beach draws the largest of three beach cities compared. (2008-2011 Budgets)
This chart shows vehicle related revenue per resident. Laguna Beach draws the largest amount of revenue for three beach cities compared. (2008-2011 Budgets)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Vancouver BC to Rio de Janeiro Brazil, Ride2Rio

In January 2012 Naomi Devine left the Lions Gate Bridge in North Vancouver, British Colombia Canada and began her quest to reach Earth Summit 2012 in Rio de Janeiro Brazil on 20 June 2012. Her principal mode of transportation so far is the Brodie touring bicycle you see here. Her main stopping points along the way are cafe's where she raises awareness for a sustainable future. Follow her journey on her Facebook or Twitter page or her website at ride2rio.ca.  Read about Naomi's conviction to build a sustainable world from an incredible capable woman. Earth Summit 2012, Vision, Cooperation, Transformation. Time is up, get involved. Independent story here.