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Newport moves ahead with plan to narrow lanes on Bayside Drive

Newport moves ahead with plan to narrow lanes on Bayside Drive
Tire marks are visible from an accident last year along Bayside Drive in Newport Beach in which a vehicle jumped the curb. Bayside is a four-lane road that some residents say is plagued by speeding and reckless driving. (File Photo)

Newport Beach is going ahead with a $2.9-million construction contract to narrow lanes on Bayside Drive and rehabilitate segments of nearby Jamboree Road and Marine Avenue.

The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve the work with no discussion or audience comments and only a handful of written remarks from the public. It was a far cry from at-times lengthy meetings on the topic over the past few years as residents told city officials about speeding and reckless driving on the curving four-lane stretch of Bayside between Coast Highway and Marine Avenue.

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In May 2017, the council nixed a plan to put a traffic circle on Bayside at Harbor Island Road and reduce a portion of the street to two lanes. It voted instead to narrow traffic lanes without removing any, add raised and flush medians and close gaps in the sidewalk and bike lanes.

That work will begin in December or January and be completed by May, the city says.

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At the same time, the city will repave Jamboree Road between Coast Highway and Bayside and repave Marine Avenue between Bayside and North Bay Front Alley on Balboa Island.

Tustin-based GMC Engineering has the contract.

Balboa Island utility undergrounding

Balboa Island residents gave broad support to a voluntary property tax to pay for putting utilities underground on the western portion of the island within five years.

Residents in what is now Assessment District 113 agreed to be charged roughly $6.2 million, or an estimated $29,000 per parcel, to bury their electrical and phone wires, according to ballots tabulated during Tuesday’s council meeting. The district covers a triangular area bounded by North Bay Front, South Bay Front and Agate Avenue.

Utility companies will spend about two years designing the underground system. Construction is expected to begin in 2021 and be completed in 2023.

Sidewalk vending

The council unanimously affirmed its Nov. 13 vote to heavily regulate sidewalk vendors.

Newport currently bans roaming and stationary sidewalk vendors, but a change in state law means the city must allow them under local regulations that conform to the state’s framework.

Newport will allow vendors to peddle food and other goods subject to licensing and permitting requirements and limitations keeping the sellers off beaches, boardwalks and piers and prescribed distances from schools, driveways, intersections, park equipment, “public use items” such as bus stops, and one another, among other restrictions.

The state law, which goes into effect in January, allows cities to restrict vending based on “objective health, safety or welfare concerns.” Many of Newport’s 30-plus restrictions focus on preserving emergency access and the normal flow of foot and vehicle traffic.

Balboa Island water main

The council awarded a $2.2-million contract to T.E. Roberts of Orange to begin the next phase of water main replacement on Balboa Island.

The project, the second in a three-phase process, will replace the main beneath Park Avenue between the Collins Island bridge and the alley between Onyx and Marine avenues. The work, which will upgrade 1940s-era water infrastructure on the densely populated island, is expected to begin in January. Workers have 125 working days, or roughly six months, to complete the project.

T.E. Roberts completed the project’s first phase this year, replacing the main beneath Balboa Avenue and portions of Collins and Opal avenues. That portion had a $1.75-million budget.

Planning Commission appointment

The council appointed commercial real estate executive Curtis Ellmore to the Planning Commission.

Ellmore will complete the term of Bill Dunlap, who resigned in September for health reasons. The term runs through June 2020.

Ellmore is a senior vice president in JLL’s Irvine office. He has lived in Newport Beach for 31 years.

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