Corona del Mar Today: Pedestrian button removed from Margeurite Avenue

City crews have removed a post with a pedestrian walk button from the Marguerite Avenue median.

The Corona del Mar Business Improvement District board had sought the post's removal after completing an 11-month project to replace the signposts that hold community-event banners. The pole with the pedestrian button was right in the middle of the posts, visually slicing the banners.

Pedestrian walk buttons in medians are an out-of-date custom, city officials said, and the Marguerite median button was part of an old California Department of Transportation plan.

The city now operates the stretch of East Coast Highway in Corona del Mar, and traffic engineers no longer utilize mid-crosswalk buttons, said city spokeswoman Tara Finnigan.

"I don't think Caltrans even puts those median posts in anymore," Finnigan wrote in an email. "We've been gradually taking out the old posts and buttons from the medians since they really aren't needed."

The button's removal was on the Public Works Department's list of traffic signal rehab projects, and when the B.I.D. board requested the removal, officials realized it would take minimal time to remove it immediately, she said.

Pedestrian buttons remain on either side of the street.

"The intersection crossing times were just increased by state standard, so it will be unlikely that anyone could not get across in the time allotted," Public Works Director Steve Badum said in an email.

Pedestrians who are in the median to watch parades, or to decorate the dolphins, should use caution and wait for the button to be pushed by someone at the corners or should be "very careful," Badum said.

"I don't think that we want to encourage people to occupy the median area," he said. "If it happens now and then for special events or to trim the dolphins, then we'd hope people would use caution and wait for the ped button to be pushed by someone at the corners or to be very careful. As to landscaping activities, they would continue as they typically do throughout the city, workers wait for it to be safe to cross."

*Harbor View families to get letter from NBPD

Harbor View Elementary School students soon will be bringing home a letter from the Newport Beach Police Department, reminding parents of basic safety rules for dropping off and picking up children, parent volunteers said at a recent Parent Faculty Organization meeting.

"Parking lot pickup can bring out the worst in people," Principal Charlene Metoyer said.

"It's a safety issue, where kids almost get hurt," said PFO co-President Adriana Fourcher.

Two traffic officers attended a PFO meeting last February and promised to help the group educate parents about traffic safety.

The PFO will pay to copy the letter, which will be on NBPD letterhead and contain several bullet-pointed safety tips such as not blocking crosswalks.

"Crosswalks are sacred," said parent Kathy Temple-Vrebolovich. "If you don't think your car can get completely through don't even try. Your car can not be in there."

The letter should be sent home with students this month, she said.

*Attempted commercial burglary reported in CdM

An attempted commercial burglary occurred at 10:42 p.m. Monday at 3519 E. Coast Hwy., according to a police report.

"It appears the suspect did not enter the business," said Newport police spokeswoman Kathy Lowe. "There was no loss."

The unknown suspect pulled on the front door, causing $200 in damage, according to police.


Cycling Committee will seek council extension

The Newport Beach Bicycle Safety Committee members want more time to complete their projects, and they plan to make a report to the City Council that will include asking for an extension to the one-year term, the group decided at its Monday meeting.

"While we might not be going at the pace some would like," said committee member Tony Petros, "I do believe this committee has been successful."

Committee Chairwoman and Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Gardner agreed.

"I do think this committee has done a lot of work," she said. "There are measurable successes that we've had."

The group will create a report that lists its accomplishments, including an online bike route map and striping projects for dangerous intersections that are in the bidding process, as well as an update on projects in the middle of being planned, like a citywide springtime bike event, possibly in the Back Bay, and whether sharrows road markings should be added in Corona del Mar or other locations. The committee will review a draft report at its December meeting, and then the report will go to the council for consideration.

The council created the committee in August 2010, agreeing to evaluate the group's work after one year to decide if it was worth staff time and money to continue. The group's first meeting was in December.

The committee member's terms expire after a year, but they can be extended up to four years.

Twitter: @coronadelmartdy

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