Saturday, May 28, 2016

Laguna Town Hall Meeting on Traffic and Congestion

Spawned by the traffic back-up caused by the Third Street Wastewater Project, a Town Hall meeting was held 17 May 2016 to explain how the City mitigated automobile traffic due to construction. Hosting City Manager John Pietig "takes over the show" in an hour monologue followed by Q&A explaining future plans for traffic congestion management in Laguna Beach (recorded video here.)

From the Town Hall these are traffic mitigation measures in our future plans:
  • Traffic Rent-a-Cops for every downtown intersection
  • Trolley service for South (North) Laguna re-applied
  • Hire a Traffic Control Utility Company
  • Re-schedule all road construction work from day-shift to night-shift 
  • Allow natural congestion (back-up) as default plan
  • We residents (roadway users) are the (city) customers
New technologies applied to manage traffic congestion are these:
  • Modified traffic signaling during LCR canyon backups
  • Traffic Text Alerts on mobile devices
  • KX Laguna Radio Alerts
  • Valet Parking
This is the best we can do folks, right out of the playbill for US Department of Transportation traffic management circa 1929.

(No slides or documents are available)


Saturday, May 21, 2016

How to Solve Traffic Congestion

Among proposals to ease Laguna Beach traffic congestion is elevating the South Coast Highway through downtown creating a double-decker highway. The first video is an elevated highway built in Taiwan where city becomes functionally efficient but the cultural experience is lost.

The Chinese followed early construction mandates with the same results. Today our federal and state highway departments recognize building more auto infrastructure to relieve ever denser auto congestion is no longer effective. The Federal Highway Administration has changed policy to accommodate other roadway users, and DOT Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx (begun by Ray LaHood) leads the way.  Finally the California DOT Caltrans makes their confession here, adding highway infrastructure doesn't solve traffic congestion. 

Finally, motorist traffic is a complex social interaction, providing new automobile infrastructure simply invites more driving. Rather than building infrastructure, use the power of nudging social behavior to modify a complex social interaction like driving. The results are surprising as researchers in Stockhom Sweden discovered. Watch "How to Solve Traffic Jams" by Jonas Eliasson.

To reduce traffic congestion create incentives to change driving behavior, develop alternatives to driving autos, impose congestion fees, impose flexible demand scheduling, adopt flexible parking requirements.
  • People will plan how to adapt
  • People will adapt quickly
  • People will embrace the change

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

May is Bike to Work Month

San Francisco started early but here are some local events to Laguna for Bike to Work Month.

What's Bike to Work?
Riding to work for the first time? Starter Kit by Sky/Ride here.

OCTA Bike Month Events May 10,11,12,16

OCTA Bike Rally May 12 7:30am
where: OCTA HQ
Metrolink info

Los Angeles CicLAvia is Sunday May 15 9:00am
where: Los Angeles Southeast

Laguna Beach Bike Rodeo May 15 11:30am
where: Pagent Parking Lot (Forest #11)
City website
LBPD flyer

Caltrans Bike to Work Day is Tuesday 17 May 8:30am
where: Tustin Metrolink Station
event calendar

Metro Bike to Work Month
CO2 calculator

Los Angeles Bike Events


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Take the Road Scholars Poll

Answers to the Road Scholar Poll, these transportation modes clear the intersection first:
  1. Transit (bus)
  2. Light Rail (tie w. bus)
  3. Pedestrians
  4. Bikes
  5. Automobiles
How did you score? Like everybody else? Not intuitive is it? Maybe your answer comes from the cultural bias in our car-centric mobility system.

This graphic from NATCO design guide (National Association of City Transportation Officials) shows the amount of through-traffic a single lane can carry.  

Road Scholars Video

It's Friday June 21 2030 and opening night of the Laguna Beach Sawdust Festival. 1000 people are stopped at the El Toro red-light waiting for the green. There are 200 people in each of 5 lanes for walkers, cyclists, lightrail, bus, and automobiles. The light turns green and Festival goers leave the intersection at the same time. Which group will be the first to clear the intersection? Test your knowledge in the poll above right, then check your answer in the animation below.

This realistic demo shows we sacrifice transport efficiency over personal convenience. In a town plagued by automobile congestion we prefer the slowest means of moving people.  The animation accounts for vehicle occupancy, speed, time space and traffic flow but not delays from red-green intersection cycle and auto congestion.  (Update: Poll extended for better participation)     -LS

Monday, May 2, 2016

They're Baaaaaack: The Latest "Village Entrance"

These are the latest proposals for a Village Entrance to the city of Laguna Beach, originally proposed early as 1960 (click to enlarge). A substantial improvement over the $65 Million parking garage, the VE extends from City Hall through the city maintenance yard, the Farmers Market, the Digester and the Christmas Tree Lot to the North. In a public workshop held April 13 2016 attendees reviewed the design concepts, however public input was not published in the summary document (Review and Input pg. 56) here:

the Downtown Link
the Sendero

From these documents: The intent of the Village Entrance Project is to enhance the site aesthetics and overall image while maintaining parking and space for public facilities.

The proposals feature these amenities:
  • 397 parking spaces
  • 1 parking structure (110 sp)
  • 1 motorist bridge
  • 0 bike racks
  • 1 Trolley stop northbound
  • 1 multi-use ped/bike pathway
  • 0 transit stops
  • X public seating
  • Pedestrian walkways
  • Parking lot landscaping
  • Digester remains intact
  • Dual left-turn queue Broadway to Forest
  • Open to future development
The latest VE remains unimaginative for the entrance to a village, but most importantly the entire VE exercise deliberately misses an opportunity before the City to address village degradation due to our obsolete mobility system and consequential auto congestion. The reasons why are buried in the documents and appendices.  

Some LB Council members (Mayor Pearson) and Planning Commissioners (Norm Grossman) often cite Coastal Commission policy state lost parking spaces must be replaced by equivalent parking. This is a red-herring. From the Coastal Commission Policy on spot for spot parking replacement:

"All development must, as a consequence (of adverse impact on public access) provide adequate onsite parking and/or be served by adequate public transit to minimize adverse impacts on public access... Transit-oriented solutions can be used to offset inadequate onsite parking. City programs (not in lieu) to provide for and promote alternative modes of transportation such as ride-sharing, carpools, van pools, public transit, bicycles and walking."

From the Executive Summary, Corridor Study of PCH March 2016 Caltrans:

For more VE design details visit the comprehensive documents at                               -LS