Pictured with this commentary is the cover page for the Transportation, Circulation and Growth Management Element ("the Element") from our city's General Plan. Notice the automobiles pictured on the cover roughly circa 1930. Today the maturity and relevance of the Element is just as dated.
State government guidelines recommend periodic updates to the General Plan; the statutes recommend every five years (SB-244). Our Element has been amended only once since 1974, 38 years ago! On page 8, it reads: "The Element acknowledges the constraints of existing conditions but is sensitive to anticipated regional needs of the future" ... meaning 1939, 1959 or 1979?
The Element contains a policy statement specifying what mobility access Laguna provides for our town, but what good is a policy statement that is never implemented?
The Element reads: "Assure that local bicycle routes will be compatible with routes of neighboring jurisdictions." Further, "Evaluate and improve pedestrian safety improvements and or devices at appropriate crosswalks." Also, "Investigate the feasibility of creating a pedestrian mall on Forest Avenue," and more.
The Element boasts Laguna Beach as a walking city taking credit for pedestrian beach access, but clearly not for access to South Laguna, crossing Coast Highway or Laguna Canyon Road, or Park and Glenneyre. Bicycles are dismissed altogether because "providing a comprehensive bicycle trail system throughout the community is not physically possible due to the steep hillside." Cyclists, take note.
At the moment there are no city staff working on the Element and no plans for future work. The city is instead making motions to apply for grant funding. The prerequisite for an application is to show demonstrated work on transportation planning. No planning, no grant.
Until Laguna's government makes a commitment to plan, write, adopt, implement and fund a new relevant mobility plan, solving transportation congestion through this town is pure fantasy.
California's General Plan guidelines read, "It is important to the public that the process they participate in has an impact on the final product."
Remember that when you vote.
LES MIKLOSY is from Laguna Streets.