The Corona del Mar Business Improvement District board members discussed the traffic study at MacArthur Boulevard and East Coast Highway as well as parking problems in the village at its monthly board meeting on Thursday.
Mayor Nancy Gardner said the traffic study, which moved the squeeze lane where three lanes merge into two from MacArthur to Avocado, had prompted about 20 people to contact her.
“I would say it’s running about 80 percent negative with residents,” she said.
The B.I.D. paid for the study, which was implemented earlier this summer and will run for at least another month. The goal was to see if traffic was negatively affected by moving the squeeze lane. If the study results are positive, it could pave the way for a beautification project that would convert the former traffic lane into wider sidewalks with additional landscaping.
“Of the ones I’ve gotten, about 15 to 20 percent are angry,” Gardner said. “The others are reasonable. They’ll say, ‘This doesn’t work and these are the reasons why…’”
Some people are upset because they think the project makes them suffer for the benefit of a few restaurants, which might be able to expand outdoor dining, Gardner said. Others have complained that the test’s stripes and white plastic delineators are ugly, although a permanent change would not incorporate those devices.
B.I.D. Chairman Bernie Svalstad said he has complained to city officials because they didn’t adjust the timing of traffic signal lights on East Coast Highway to accommodate the study.
“You’re going to kill this project if you’re not going to adjust the lights,” Svalstad said he told one city official.
That official, Public Works Director Steve Badum, said the lights in fact already are synchronized and more changes were unlikely.
“What Bernie is asking for is a new study that would make some minor adjustments based upon the new configuaration,” he said in an email. “A resynchronization study of the signals through Corona del Mar would be an expensive undertaking and would only result in some minor improvements that most would not notice. If the Council decides to proceed this the change, the reprogramming of the signals from Jamboree to Marguerite would be included.”