Glenneyre could be first 'complete street'

City officials listened Tuesday to complete streets advocates who support reducing Glenneyre Street — from Forest Avenue to Calliope Street — to three lanes, including one for turns only.

The council directed staff to submit a modification, but only to a portion of Glenneyre, to the Planning Commission for review and report back to the council in January. The modification was one of three options for the conversion of Glenneyre to complete street status, evaluated in a report by Fehr & Peers, a traffic consulting firm hired by the city.

"Four years of hard work and countless hours from volunteers and city staff and now we are on the verge of Laguna's first complete street," said Complete Streets Task Force Chair Chis Prelitz.

"We'll have our first bike lane in the city. Woo Hoo," he added.

A second alternative in the Fehr & Peers report recommended modifications to Glenneyre between Thalia and Calliope streets. The modification was described as the most complete streets improvement with the least traffic impact and cost. It would not require the intersections be converted to roundabouts as the more extensive third alternative does.

Prelitz said it alignmens with the desires of Laguna's residents.

However, not all of the residents are completely sold on creating bike lanes for cyclists.

"Look out 10 years and see where we will be if we implement this," Rick Holder said. "Our topography concentrates traffic on three main arteries — if safety is the issue, we could say no bike riders."

Councilwoman Toni Iseman was surprised to hear a comment that Glenneyre beyond Thalia Street is not heavily traveled, although many residents have taken to using Catalina Street to avoid traffic on Glenneyre.

She asked if a traffic study was done that verified the wisdom of a lane reduction on Glenneyre.

The Fehr & Peers report specifically stated that the evaluation was intended as a first cut in generating ideas based on professional observation and the scope did not include any data collection or analysis.

"The goal here is create a safe, connected and enjoyable environment that will encourage children, women and older members of our community to walk and cycle," said cycling enthusiast Michael Wilkes. "Cities such as Newport Beach, San Clemente, San Diego and L.A. have started to invest in complete street infrastructure programs. This city has an opportunity to catch up and become a leader."

To date, the city has invested $5,000 for the evaluation, part of the $300,000 allocation in the 2012-13 budget for a "Public Pathways and Complete Streets" capital improvement project.

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