The southern half of Ocean Avenue in Laguna Beach may become a one-way street under a proposal the City Council approved for further exploration.
City officials Tuesday got the OK to pursue permitting only southwest car travel on Ocean between Beach Street and South Coast Highway — a roughly 700-foot stretch — toward Main Beach. The proposal had come up at least twice before, in 2006 and 2013.
The road is already one way between Forest Avenue and Beach Street.
If the change occurs, Ocean’s parking spots would be converted from parallel to angled spaces, increasing the supply from 45 spaces to 55 and creating more short-term space for delivery trucks.
According to a city-funded study by KOA Corp., an Orange-based traffic engineering consulting firm, the one-way conversion could cost $24,400 for new signage, striping and parking meters. City officials pinned the costs at $30,000 and said they may be included in the budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year.
KOA said the change would have minimal negative effects on traffic, as motorists would have the alternatives of using Broadway and Forest Avenue.
The council also approved looking into relocating the crosswalk between Ocean and Coast Highway from the north side of the intersection to the south side, in front of Johnny Rockets. The relocation, projected to cost $35,000, is designed to help improve traffic flow for vehicles making a left turn onto Coast Highway from Ocean.
The city will distribute mailers to people affected along Ocean and gather public input.
The matter will then return to the council for a final determination.
Pacific Marine Mammal Center expansion plan
In other action Tuesday, the council approved conceptual plans for an expansion of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, which cares for sick and injured sea animals and conducts education and research.
The city leases property at 20612 and 20652 Laguna Canyon Road to the center, which intends to build a 1,600-square-foot barn for a new water treatment system, along with two new 2,900-gallon animal rehabilitation pools, bringing its total from seven to 10.
The center also wants to add 2,300 square feet to its existing building for a multipurpose room, offices, restrooms and other uses.
The mammal center also is looking to construct a new two-story building it would share with the adjacent Laguna Beach Animal Shelter. It would be used for offices, storage and space for animals.
The center is funding the planned additions, which next face a development review process and additional council approvals.