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WHAT: Laguna traffic WHAT’S BEHIND IT:...


Laguna traffic


Downtown traffic has been like the weather: everyone talked about


it, but no one did anything about it. Until now.


Three separate traffic studies are underway or in the pipeline.

City officials have commissioned Hartzog and Crabill to study ways


to improve the traffic flow Downtown on weekend peaks. The company

will work on altering the timing of the signals, suggest some

solutions, implement the solution selected and fine tune it. The

study will include the intersections of North and South Coast Highway

with Aster Street, Broadway, Ocean Avenue, Forest Avenue, Laguna

Avenue and Legion Street.

The company, which will be paid up to $10,000, won’t guarantee the

performance or the effectiveness of the project because of the amount


of traffic on the highway between Aster and Legion streets. However,

city staff expects improvement in traffic flow.

Cooperation will be needed from Caltrans engineering staff, which

was supportive of the project. Caltrans engineers expressed

confidence in Harzog and Crabill, based on prior experiences and

projects, according to city staff.

City officials approved the contract July 16.

The city also will pay


the Mobility Group $7,000

to count vehicles at

every intersection Downtown and the available parking spaces.

And on June 25 the City Council approved a $110,000 allocation for

a comprehensive parking management study, to be funded by parking

meter increases. Assistant Director of Community Development John

Montgomery prepared a draft request-for-proposals from engineering


The draft has been submitted to the Parking, Traffic and

Circulation Committee, which began reviewing it Thursday. The

Planning Commission also wants a look at it.


“We want to get bids from top engineering firms to come up with

solutions that would reduce traffic without spoiling the village

character,” said Chamber of Commerce board member Tom Ahern, owner of

Latitude 33 bookshop on Ocean Avenue. “Traffic is terrible right now,

It’s all anecdotal, but a lot of people have said it is worse that it

ever has been. What’s surprising is the amount of traffic on 3rd



The Harzog and Crabill project should be completed within six

weeks of the contract approval. Fine-tuning will begin immediately

following the implementation and will span three weekends. The PTC

will forward recommendations for the proposed RFPs for the

comprehensive study to the City Council. No deadline is set.