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Traffic concerns follow plan to make Newport’s Mariners’ Mile more village-like

Traffic travels along the 1.3-mile section of West Coast Highway in Newport Beach known as Mariners’ Mile. Some residents fear a city revitalization effort for the area could result in more traffic.
Traffic travels along the 1.3-mile section of West Coast Highway in Newport Beach known as Mariners’ Mile. Some residents fear a city revitalization effort for the area could result in more traffic.
(File photo)

Mariners’ Mile in Newport Beach could become more of a pedestrian-friendly, village-like setting under plans going through City Hall.

On Thursday at the Marina Park community room, city officials presented their third workshop on an ongoing revitalization effort for the 1.3-mile stretch of West Coast Highway between Newport Boulevard and Dover Drive.

Envisioned is a village-type area along Avon Street — which could be extended west to Santa Ana Avenue — as well as Tustin and Riverside avenues.

It also may include a boardwalk along the edge of Newport Harbor, pedestrian bridges over West Coast Highway and pedestrian “scrambles,” or intersections where vehicle traffic stops in all directions so pedestrians can travel in any direction.

Notable among the plans was the potential addition of two parking structures: one next to the Sterling BMW dealership and another by the Holiday Inn Express. Those two areas currently contain flat parking lots.

But some people attending the workshop expressed concerns about additional traffic, especially after city officials said a lane expansion for West Coast Highway is scheduled to go before the Planning Commission on Feb. 9.

Others contended that the plans, which city officials said are very long range, were being drawn up without much input from residents and would “cheapen” the look of Newport Beach, which they don’t want to resemble adjacent Huntington Beach.

The Mariners’ Mile revitalization effort is being conducted by city staff and PlaceWorks, a Santa Ana-based planning consulting firm. The final result is intended to replace another plan officially called the Mariners’ Mile Strategic Vision and Design Framework that was adopted in 2000.

The revitalization plan is expected to be released for public review later this year. It also will face the scrutiny of the Planning Commission and ultimately the City Council.

Mariners’ Mile was identified in 2011 as a zone in need of revitalization. It originally was a nautical-centric area but has gradually changed to include luxury car dealers and restaurants.

bradley.zint@latimes.com

Twitter: @BradleyZint


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