Parking, traffic and circulation are one of the top concerns of Laguna Beach residents and the business community, and the city has a committee that deals with it.
Chairman Neil Katz reported to the council at the March 5 meeting on what the committee has done in the past year to alleviate some of the concerns.
Katz said his five-minute presentation was based on the axiom that the length of a progress report is inversely proportional to the amount of progress achieved.
“Does that mean you are done?” asked Councilman Steven Dicterow, even before Katz identified himself.
One of the most significant accomplishments was the resolution of parking problems in upper Bluebird Canyon, according to Katz.
“Before the committee was a simple request to make available an additional parking spot,” Katz said. “We formed a subcommittee to take a look at the whole area. We walked the area, we talked to the residents and we recommended the opening up of otherwise prohibited five additional spots.
“The neighbors were very happy. The council was terrific in addressing it with us, and I think it was a wonderful achievement. It brought some peace and calm and we haven’t heard back from Bluebird in quite a while.”
The committee also addressed relatively high speeds in the right turn lane from northbound Coast Highway onto Nyes Place at the request of a resident whose husband was killed in an intersection by a speeding car.
“We went out and looked at the intersection, we watched the traffic patterns and we sketched out what we thought was a resolution that would calm traffic and enhance safety,” Katz said.
The committee’s proposal to expand the painted lane divider was implemented by public works.
Construction vehicle parking and staging has been one of the most persistent causes of complaints during the six years Katz has served on the committee.
“It is pervasive,” Katz said.
A subcommittee prepared extensive recommendations that are now under review by the full committee, public works, the police, community development and building departments.
The committee addressed a total of 23 issues during the time covered in the report, including requests for parking restrictions or the removal or relocation of restrictions, changes in the time duration on parking meters and on signs, traffic calming measures and a residential parking permit.
Katz said the committee members gave up the time not only to attend meetings, but to visit sites and to interface with affected residents. He said the committee was supported by public works, particularly Liz Vasquez Avila and Director Steve May; Jim Beres in the police department and the chiefs of the police and fire departments for their support.
“All in all, a good year,” Katz said.