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Hansen: Controversy clogs Complete Streets

January 11, 2012|By David Hansen

No one can ever say that Les Miklosy didn't try.

The veteran bicycle advocate and former leader of the Complete Streets Task Force is no longer on the task force after two years of road burn.

The details of his departure remain murky as Miklosy claims he was fired, but Mayor Jane Egly denies it. The fact is, it doesn't really matter.

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Miklosy admits he is done.

"It's OK with me, I'm done with it," he said. "The experts are now in charge, and let's see what they do with it."

Miklosy doesn't believe there is enough wherewithal within the Laguna Beach city government to implement Complete Streets, which is trying ensure the city's mobility plan meets the needs of all street users including pedestrians, bicyclists, public transit users, motorists, children, the elderly and the disabled.

There were 23 recommendations developed by the group. Only two recently made it on the city's agenda.

"Who cares?" Miklosy asked. "No, I'm serious, who does care?

"You need audience participation. The city needs to get involved in this. The city has yet to put anything on their website regarding Complete Streets. They haven't done anything. I had to start my own blog in order to get the word out there. And then they don't recognize that either."

Egly acknowledged that Miklosy put a lot of effort into his two-year stint in the Complete Streets project, but she was hesitant to discuss the past.

"Bless his heart. I mean, he has a great deal of passion," she said. "He put in a great deal of energy. He did a lot of work. What we were trying to do ... is to take some steps where people can see the progress.

"He so much wanted it to all work, but it was so frustrating to try and get a system to work it. I'm really sorry that he was unhappy."

Chris Prelitz, who helped start the group, has volunteered to take over for Miklosy.

The fact remains that Complete Streets Task Force has not been successful, which according to Miklosy is not the group's fault.

"Three years ago our mission was to come up with a short list of very low-hanging fruit; we were going to accomplish very easy things," he said. "So the committee put together a list of what we should do, and we proposed that list, those 23 items. Two of them that they proposed in the agenda bill were in our top 10, and the others weren't even familiar to us."

Instead, Miklosy said the city is wasting money on studies.

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