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Mailbag: Will planned upgrades really make PCH safer for all?

Heavy traffic on Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach.
Heavy traffic on Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach. A reader writes that planned improvements won’t make the roadway safer.
(Raul Roa)

I was overjoyed when I first saw the article “Pacific Coast Highway improvements coming to Huntington Beach” (Daily Pilot, July 12) PCH is a critical element of our city, impacting residents and tourists alike. And while Huntington Beach is best known for its surf, sunshine and beaches, no one gets to the beach without first navigating PCH. For decades, H.B. residents have expressed concerns about safety along the highway, from excessive vehicle speeds to lack of adequate bicycle infrastructure to limited or inadequate protections for pedestrians seeking to cross to the beach.

I was sure that with $14.8-million in state transportation funding and the goal of reworking PCH to be “more bike and pedestrian-friendly, while improving overall safety,” we could look forward to a safer and more accessible beachfront roadway.

Unfortunately, my initial optimism was dashed as I read further.

As the Caltrans District 12 representative listed the improvements being considered, it became clear that Caltrans wasn’t really changing anything. No protected bike lanes, no protected crosswalks, and no traffic calming of any kind were being proposed, and by the time I got to the passage where the Caltrans representative mentioned, “Class III bike lane (Sharrows) will be accessible,” it became all too clear that $14.8-million would be wasted on “freshening up” a dangerous roadway rather than actually fixing it.

Steve Shepherd
Huntington Beach

The recent commentary on Costa Mesa housing needs by Andrea Marr and Jeffery Harlan (Daily Pilot, July 16) reads like a campaign speech. Costa Mesa is a lot of desirable things, but as we become more and more squeezed in by too many apartments and condo projects, the quality of life Costa Mesa enjoys or should I say once enjoyed declines. Costa Mesans and Californians alike already face considerable electrical grid shortfalls, water perils and of course the never-resolved traffic issues. So just how the heck do you justify more?

More development benefits developers. They can leave after their development is finished, yet we in Costa Mesa are left with dealing with the shortages, electricity, water and traffic issues left unresolved. Why not consider that Costa Mesa is full? Concentrate on taking care of what we already have in place, our quality of life and maintaining it. That is a worthy cause.

Tom Neth
Costa Mesa

Steel, Nguyen cut from same GOP cloth

I agree with letter writers Roger Owens and Steve Shepherd (“Mailbag: Readers react to Steel support,” Daily Pilot, July 16) that Michelle Steel is the extreme one, given her record, not her Democrat opponent Jay Chen. But she is not the only Republican to use power gained by party registration advantage to underrepresent constituents in Huntington Beach and the rest of their district. Former Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher was the gold standard for this inefficiency. Now another career Republican, Janet Nguyen, seeks to represent us here in the musical chairs her party is providing. Like Steel, Nguyen is beholden to partisan special interests who would go against community interests every time. Just one example: The Western Manufactured Housing Communities (WMA) political action committee has donated to Nguyen‘s recent campaigns to the clear detriment of manufactured housing homeowners and everyone living in mobile home parks in our city. Should those constituents feel well represented in voting for her when the entire mobile home community is up in arms over predatory park owners and industry special interests abusing them? I think not!

Tim Geddes
Huntington Beach

Steel would better represent voters

As a voter for 50 years, a mother of three and grandmother of seven, when I cast my votes in November, I will only vote for candidates who firmly support public safety. Not only must the candidate have a history of voting to support the police, but those endorsing the candidate must also reflect those values.

Rep. Michelle Steel has earned bipartisan endorsements from law enforcement including Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes. With law enforcement fully behind her, I know she will do the right thing to keep our communities safe and support the blue.

Maureen Blackmun
Garden Grove

Is there more than one of her?

A recent local publication included a photograph of Newport Beach Councilwoman Joy Brenner (along with Councilwoman Diane Dixon) signing the “Topping Out” banner for the new Friends of Newport Beach Animal Shelter.

Got me thinking. Joy Brenner seems to be everywhere. Maybe there are two of her.

Speak Up Newport. Wake Up! Newport. CdM Residents Assn. meetings (and co-founder/president). Corona del Mar chamber meetings. District 6 town hall meetings (and even Councilwoman Dixon’s District 1 town hall meetings). Actively opposed Measure B. Fire Station No. 2 groundbreaking and the recent dedication ceremony. Her participation in the early planning of the Balboa Library branch/fire station replacement plan. The soon-to-be-realized Library Lecture Hall. Project Adult Literacy. Witte Lecture Series. Library live lectures. And perhaps her crowning achievement: leading the charge to not lose the CdM Library branch as a co-founder of the Friends of the Corona del Mar Library and an inspirational speaker at the July 20, 2019, dedication of that new branch and the contiguous fire station.

I know from personal experience that Joy is a willing listener to folks in her district and otherwise around town. She is positive, respectful, polite and constructive, and she isn’t bashful about sharing her views — whether or not she supports yours.

I’m told Joy is running for reelection on Nov. 8. She’s exceptionally well qualified and deserves to be returned to the dais. No one has worked harder for Newport Beach.

Paul K. Watkins
Newport Beach

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