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Commentary: There’s little upside to Measure Y

Surveys confirm what we all know. Traffic is a worsening headache for people who live and drive in Newport Beach. Yet Measure Y does next to nothing to reduce existing or future traffic levels. If it passes, it will reduce average daily trips by less than 1% citywide at build-out, according to city estimates.

Traffic conditions will get worse whether Measure Y passes or fails. But if passed, it will increase traffic congestion in the Newport Center area, on Coast Highway and at key intersections — more than will the existing General Plan.

So why is it desirable to aggravate both current and future traffic conditions by adding further density to already-crowded and still-growing Newport Center?

Who benefits? Let’s guess.

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I see no benefit to me as a car-driving resident. Income to the city with or without Measure Y is not worth debating. The city is in commendably sound financial shape and can continue to budget for timely improvements without relying on more development fees. We don’t have to accept more density to pay for these.

There is no urgent need to amend the General Plan. A better course would be to follow through with existing General Plan policies that call for tackling designated land use and circulation issues.

The ballot language describing Measure Y is deceptive. The ballot arguments favoring Measure Y send mixed messages and make dubious promises. The measure is unwarranted and should be defeated.

BOB SHELTON is a former Newport Beach city manager and City Council member.

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