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Mailbag: Tustin closure would lead to traffic issues elsewhere

Temporary barricades block access along Ocean View Avenue at Tustin Avenue on June 29.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

The question that was to be decided at the June 28 Newport Beach City Council meeting was whether lower Tustin Avenue in the Newport Heights’ area should remain closed off to through traffic. City traffic engineer Tony Brine provided residents with some useful information, particularly a map showing the differences in traffic flow, which developed as a result of the closure. Additional statistics, which I acquired through the public information act from the Newport Beach Police Department helped paint a picture of traffic flow and traffic safety in the Heights. I asked for the accident reports from the last 10 years for the areas affected by the closure.

The area that was closed off from the rest of the Heights, lower Tustin and Oceanview Avenue, saw five accidents over the 10-year period.

With the closure of Tustin the number of cars on Tustin decreased from 834 to 276 daily while Oceanview saw an increase from 169 to 255.

However, with this closure, traffic increased on other streets. Cliff Drive saw the largest traffic increase with Tustin closed. It experienced an increase of 323 cars daily! I used the 2400 through 2600 blocks that looked to me to be the area that was most affected. This area also had the largest number of accidents (other than Riverside thoroughfare) from 2012 through 2022 — 19 accidents to be exact.

The next area that bore the brunt of the traffic from the closure was Riverside Drive, which had an increase of 1,200 cars weekly. Six accidents occurred in the 400-500 block in the 10 years before the closure.

If you look at all of Riverside from Pacific Coast Highway to 15th Street, which will become the single most popular thoroughfare through the Heights, it is not unrealistic to predict what could happen in the future. Drivers will anticipate the closure of Tustin and will very likely get used to the idea of taking the Riverside thoroughfare exclusively to cut through the Heights.

Imagine the accident count then. In the last 10 years there were 126 accidents on this thoroughfare.

Upper Tustin, one of the most beleaguered streets in the Heights, sees a total of 2,513 cars daily. It had a relatively high accident rate of 14 cars in 10 years.

Upper Tustin, Cliff Drive and Riverside have big traffic problems even without the closure of lower Tustin. These problems will only increase with the anticipated development on Pacific Coast Highway. We should be solving their traffic problems too, instead of focusing on just one small area.

Lynn Lorenz
Newport Beach

The race between Steel and Chen

An Asian American, U.S. Rep. Michelle Steel, has always been an inspiration to me because she has faced hardship throughout her life and constantly risen above it. Michelle’s family escaped communism in North Korea for a better life. As a teenager she came to America to pursue the American dream. Michelle met her husband, Shawn, and created a beautiful family with two daughters and two grandchildren.

She has served our community for many years, on the Board of Equalization, Orange County Board of Supervisors, and as the First Korean American to serve in Congress. Michelle has the experience and record of fighting for us here in California and I am proud to support her run to represent District 45 in the November election!

Tom Vo
Fountain Valley

Jay Chen, running to represent District 45, seems to alter his views based on which campaign he is running. Either way, it’s obvious he’s too extreme for Orange County.

The last thing we need in Washington is someone who will follow the Joe Biden economic agenda of more spending, higher taxes and inflation, which, based on his record, is exactly what Jay Chen will do.

Nancy Hathcock
Westminster

H.B. should appoint, not elect, its lead attorney

Re: Huntington Beach City Council publicly releases report critical of city attorney, Daily Pilot, July 7: The city attorney is the municipality’s lawyer, representing and offering legal advice to the elected city representatives. As such, it ought to be an appointed position, as it is in other Orange County cities. Otherwise the position becomes a partisan political entity that, like Huntington Beach City Atty. Michael Gates, is likely to become overloaded with ambition and vanity, which may interfere with the goals and agenda of elected City Council members. The council represents the people of our city. The city attorney’s obligation is to facilitate that representation, not to campaign for election.

Ben Miles
Huntington Beach

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