Commentary: Mariner's Mile project requires council advocacy

Mariner's Mile is a place we have all enjoyed for years. The beautiful spot on Coast Highway offers food, drink and merchandise. But why has it been so neglected by the current City Council?

We've all endured seemingly endless months of congestion with development on Dover Drive and Coast Highway, and after sitting in traffic there for so long, what do we receive as construction is finally winding down?

Promises of more construction. That's right. Even the new mall may have difficulty renting units now.

The short story is this: We need new sewage pipes. The Orange County Sanitation District is replacing them, but to do so it needs to shut down major parts of Coast Highway. The current council claims that the district's activities are beyond its control, but it has proven before (through signage adjustments) that it does, in fact, have significant influence. After all, this is our city.

The sanitation district has rightly decided that it will begin an end-to-end development cycle, starting at Dover and at Superior Avenue and meeting in the middle. This will cut the development time almost in half, but can we do better?

Yes, we absolutely can. Upon request, Caltrans has approved extended hours of construction, from 6 a.m. until 4 p.m., which should trim total time time by about 20%, if the sanitation district agrees. This could save months of revenue for surrounding businesses during the critical summer months.

One idea that had been considered was doing construction at night, but it was determined that the noise would be a huge factor for residents in the Bayshores, along Kings Road, and at the Balboa Bay Club.

The idea that has the most legs, though, would be building some of these stretches on the south side of Coast Highway, where many business-free zones exist. This would even further isolate the noise from the residents.

The effect of the construction on Dover has been catastrophic. Shops that have been mainstays are closing.

Compounding the problem with an additional nine months of business-hour construction on the business-heavy side of the road is simply not acceptable leadership. We cannot create an even bigger wake of businesses closing their doors because of preventable traffic situations. It is time for our current council to return to being the voice for residents.

Construction is set to begin Sept. 2 and end next summer. Our council has time to step up for our residents, but will it?

Businessman MICHAEL GLENN recently withdrew from the City Council race in the Balboa Peninsula area's 1st District.

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