Thursday, February 27, 2014

Alternative Mobility for Route-185 Old Laguna Canyon Road

Old Laguna Canyon Road, Rt-185 went through here
Old Laguna Canyon Road was a rural country road completed in 1910, and adopted into California's state highway system in 1933 as Route-185. In order to "mitigate auto congestion" CalTrans realigned the road into the divided highway SR-133 we use today (adopted 2006). To further "mitigate congestion" CalTrans considered a planned expansion to SIX lanes. And you thought LB traffic is terrible now?
The unwelcome entrance North end of LCR
CalTrans measures highway effectiveness by number of vehicles moved, not the number of people moved, in 2001 they show SR-133 moving 29,000 ADT (Annual Average Daily Traffic) vehicles with a service grade (A-F) of 'D'. By 2020 that number swells to 56,000 - surely this is an 'F'. By this measure the traffic volume has doubled in 20 years, 2020 is only 6 years away.
Looking back to Irvine SR-133 runs parallel on left


Does everyone see where this line of thinking has gone wrong, particularly for Laguna Beach? We have been led by arcane institutional planning long enough. Fortunately there are better alternatives from a balanced multi-modal perspective, once residents and visitors value the benefit and city government adopt them as city policy.
A branching trail under SR-133 leads to Nix Center



As you might have guessed this is a brief photo-tour of Old Laguna Canyon Road Route-185, both on the original abandoned roadway and on the County managed bike and pedestrian trail that runs parallel. Heading southbound the road begins near Lake Laguna and ends at the 73 Toll Road passing through the James Dilley Preserve. The improved trails are presently used by hikers and bikers to access hiking destinations like the Nix Center.

Direction signs for maintained trails
With foresight and planning old Laguna Canyon Road should also be revitalized to provide an alternative means of transport to Laguna Beach other than a CalTrans highway for moving cars. Build it and they will come! The good news is it's downhill all the way to the beach. -LS

Southern entrance at James Dilley Preserve

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