on Canyon Road
Another head on collision on Laguna Canyon Road.
Can we blame the highway design? Sometimes yes, but usually the
fault lies with the driver in the middle of the road.
Laguna Canyon Road is a two-lane highway with a third passing lane
which alternates between south and northbound traffic. Only a single
yellow line separates oncoming traffic.
A sign is posted saying “Slower Traffic Keep Right,” yet every day
you see careless drivers tooling along in the passing line without a
care in the world.
Whether it’s a minivan driven by a soccer mom carting her children
at 35 mph, two cars riding side by side for no apparent reason or a
great grandmother who missed the El Toro Road turnoff while
disgruntled commuters whisked by, passing on her right side, it’s a
recipe for disaster.
It’s really quite simple. You drive in the right lane, you pass in
the left lane (if it’s really necessary) and then at the first safe
opportunity, you merge back into the right lane. Why put yourself
within inches of oncoming traffic if it’s not necessary.
Perhaps Caltrans needs to post a “Slower Traffic Keep Right” sign
every quarter mile or so to remind those careless left-lane suicide
jockeys that they are indeed traveling on a two-lane canyon road.
While they are at it, they should also remove that southbound
20-foot-long temporary right lane at El Toro Road. It serves no other
purpose than as an opportunity for a “Type A personality” driver to
quickly pass a law-abiding driver on the right and cut them off when
the lane suddenly ends.
How many close calls have we had there? Why is passing on the
right allowed for such a short segment of highway? Make it one wide
lane, I say.
Another Caltrans blunder occurs at the end of the toll road ramp
that leads from El Toro Road and the northbound 73 Toll Road. A
second right turn lane was painted here which actually allows traffic
to turn into the passing lane. What were they thinking? Only one lane
can safely turn right, and then once at highway speed, the slow
traffic and the fast traffic can sort themselves out into their
With a little more common sense, and a bucket of red paint from
Caltrans, Laguna Canyon Road can be safer.
Treasure Island info should be public
Conspiracy, confusion or corruption. Perhaps all three.
I am talking about the mess that Ken Frank and our City Council
has put us into at Treasure Island.
I have talked with numerous other voters who, like myself, cannot
recall any wording in the referendum we voted on that would obligate
the city to pay millions of dollars to complete the five-acre park.
This is on top of the city waiving a million dollars in fees.
An ordinary citizen must go before the Design Review Board and
then a lengthy permit session just to change a roll of toilet paper,
but Frank and his gang give carte blanche to the Athens Group.
I have some questions that I and other concerned tax payers would
like to have answered. Perhaps this letter will shine a spotlight on
City Hall and help us get the information we are entitled to.
Who will be the contractor? What’s his name and state license
number? Make public the plans for us to inspect, as well as a cost
breakdown and the specifications. (What are we paying for?) Give the
names of other competitive bidders and the amounts of their bids. Who
authorized the contract? Was it by council action?
I have made numerous telephone calls, trips to City Hall and to
the construction office at the job site. I was stonewalled at every
turn. When did our village of Laguna Beach turn into a corrupt
political empire? Wake up fellow citizens, ask some questions and
take an interest in your community.
A concerned old man on the hill,
City not prepared enough for fire
The Laguna Canyon fire two weeks ago was reported by the local
newspapers that stated that years of fire safety preparedness and
“quick response” by helicopters within 10 to 12 minutes kept the fire
The story quoted the chief of the Fire Department as actually
viewing the fire start. Having no equipment to fight the fire he
drove back to headquarters just in time to see his men suiting up,
while the equipment operator was left trying to put out the fire with
I could not believe this supposed “preparedness” as I was a
volunteer fireman in South Laguna for two years from 1978 to 1980 and since then never drive anywhere without fire extinguishers in my car.
They have proven an invaluable tool for me while fighting several
blazes, including Coto de Caza and 1993 Laguna fires.
How is it we are “prepared” when both the chief and the equipment
operator aren’t carrying large extinguishers to stop a small fire of
10 or 20 square feet before it becomes 82 acres?
I suggest it be required that all trained and able city, police
and fire employees carry at least one larger extinguisher in their
private and city vehicles to potentially nip fires in the bud, before
we need or get water drops and fires have a chance to grow in the
first five minutes of response time.
Additionally, the Cajon Pass fire last week was another prime
example of how a small car fire on the shoulder of a highway sparked
a massive brush fire, costing millions of dollars to fight when
thousands of motorists passed by without volunteers helping before it
jumped to upslope brush.
We can do a lot better preparing our wild land edges, have ready,
trained professionals and local rapid response volunteers who
understand the risks and safety precautions necessary in reserve to
draw from in emergencies and assist in identifying existing high-risk
fire origin areas.
Bryan T.S. Menne
Traffic danger needs
to be addressed
The mills of the gods have finally ground out the light problem at
Beach and Broadway.
Whoever these gods are can now begin figuring out how to get off
dead center on the dangerous intersection of Cliff Drive and Rosa
Because there was a fatality at the crosswalk here several years
ago a lawsuit is pending against the city of Laguna Beach. Lawsuits
of this nature can drag on for years. It seems that in employing
discretion to replace valor, the city would be looking out for its
own best interests in trying to bring this suit to a final resolution
as soon as possible.
As each day goes by the probability of another death and /or
serious injury is compounded by the odds that eventually it will
happen again. The litigant in the present suit is claiming that the
city was derelict in failing to provide proper safeguards at the
crosswalk. Those who live in North Laguna would be quick to agree as
speed, lack of good visibility and absence of proper stop signs
continue to make this one of the most dangerous intersections in the
It appears that the gods are asleep at the switch and too late
will only be awakened by the sound of sirens once again.