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Laguna council approves improvements to Pearl Street Beach entrance

Laguna council approves improvements to Pearl Street Beach entrance
The Laguna Beach City Council approved replacing eight city trolleys and transitioning police vehicle to a black-and-white color scheme. (Don Leach / Daily Pilot)

The Laguna Beach City Council on Tuesday agreed to improve beach access at Pearl Street and other public works projects.

In a rapid, one-hour meeting the council voted 4-0 to OK a $1 million construction bid to improve the access point at Pearl Street Beach. Mayor Bob Whalen was absent.

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The stairway to the beach has been closed since August — the result of erosion and low sand levels.

Wright Construction Engineering Corp. will replace the stairs and improve the surrounding landscaping, walkways and amenities.

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The council also approved an emergency construction bid to repair aging sewer mains, which are in danger of breaking because of their proximity to the Village Entrance work.

The $154,833 sewer project will be paid from savings from other projects, according to the staff report.

City to lease trolleys

The council also agreed to lease eight new trolleys to replace aging vehicles in the city fleet.

Creative Bus Sales, a leasing agency, will store and care for the vehicles in Chino at a cost of $3 million over 12 years, which city staff estimated would be about the same price for the city to purchase and maintain the vehicles.

Leasing the trolleys will free up space in the city’s maintenance yard and allow the vehicles to be stored in a drier environment away from salty air, the staff report said.

Black-and-white squad cars to return

In other business, the council agreed to transition the city’s police vehicles to black and white, from the current all-white color scheme.

Police Chief Laura Farinella said current police cars do not differentiate enough from beach patrol or other security vehicles.

“Black and white is more visible out in the street,” Farinella said. “I think it would give us a more forward-facing visibility within our community.”

The department is already in the process of replacing six of 14 police vehicles, and will choose black-and-white replacements, Farinella said.

Update on canyon floodwall

At the beginning of the meeting, City Manager John Pietig gave an update on the Laguna Canyon Road channel floodwall, which partly collapsed during last week’s rainstorms.

Rainwater eroded the dirt behind the concrete wall, causing about 250 feet of it to fall into the channel, Orange County Public Works spokesman Shannon Widor said last week.

O.C. Public Works employees are temporarily replacing the broken section with a steel wall and beams to prevent further erosion, Pietig said, though a permanent fix for the damage will take months.

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