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.

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