Monday, July 23, 2012

LB City Ignores Complete Streets Mandates

The Complete Streets Act requires that cities plan (and provide) for a balanced, multi-modal transportation network that meets the needs of all (street users) for safe and convenient travel. The users of these streets include bicyclists, children, seniors, persons with disabilities, motorists, movers of commercial goods, pedestrians, and users of public transportation. Mandates in the Complete Streets Act were effective 1 January 2011.
Laguna Beach anticipates capital improvements around the city in a Ten Year Capital Improvement Plan available from the city website. (2009-2010 Plan here)  In the first year plan for 2011-2012 Section V cites 
15 projects for total funding of $6,390,000. Four of those projects have implications under Complete Streets mandates and total $1,740,000. The projects now completed do not offer routine accommodation of all roadway users and show Complete Streets mandates were disregarded by City officials.

Cal Trans holds jurisdiction over both Laguna Canyon Road and PCH and is held to a separate but equivalent complete streets mandate via Deputy Directive 64 from the California Department of Transportation. This directive specifies that routine accommodation of road users should be met, it means full consideration and accommodation of all road users. This Directive mandates that all Cal Trans employees are to "[m]aximize bicycle, pedestrian, and transit safety and mobility through each project’s life cycle." Furthermore, Deputy Directive 64 plainly states, "the Department and local agencies have the duty to provide for the safety and mobility needs of all who have legal access to the transportation system."

Roadway users on Laguna Canyon Road and Pacific Coast Highway routinely include hundreds of cyclists, pedestrians, non-motorized vehicles, buses, the LB Trolley and private automobiles. Routine accommodation means providing reasonably safe and convenient travel through city planning, design, construction, reconstruction and operation of roads for this diverse mix of road users.

For Cal Trans, Complete Streets compliance is an integral part of enabling people to safely and conveniently navigate the transportation system. They set high standards for our infrastructure. What are Laguna's standards? No one seems to know. Maybe they just don't care: LB Public Works was contacted for comment to this article but made no reply. -LS


  1. Is there any chance of getting a bigger national bicycling/pedestrian organization to fund and sue Laguna beach for non compliance?

  2. Not likely, they are too busy lobbying for money in DC. However locally you can make a difference. If you don't like the job local LB politicians are doing about gridlock, merchant business or urban planning, stop voting for the incumbents!