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Commentary: City can fix areas with flunking scores

May 24, 2012|By Chris Prelitz

A recent professional survey ordered by City Council, brought some good news — and some not so great news.

Overall, the 405 folks that turned in the survey felt that Laguna rocks, and gave high marks for most everything, "Citizen survey: Laguna's a great place to live," May 18.

Safety: 99%; Laguna as a great place to live: 97%; City Services: 89%.

However, we flunked out bad in three areas. And by bad, I mean real bad.

Traffic Flow: 21%; Amount of Public Parking: 28%; Ease of Bicycle Travel: 32%.

If these were test scores, the city flunks with "F's" in these three sectors.

If we were a corporation, because of poor customer satisfaction, those would be the areas most in need of improvement.

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We obviously have a big problem that's not going away, unless we do something different.

The delicious irony is that the solution to one of these problems is the solution to all three problems.

When you increase pedestrian and bicycle trips, you decrease traffic and parking challenges.

Imagine 10 folks hop on bikes and ride to Forest Avenue instead of drive.

That allows 10 more parking spots on Forest, and 10 more possible sales to local shops. Everybody wins.

This has been proven time and again with solid empirical evidence and stats to back it up.

Make our streets safer and more attractive to pedestrians and bicycle riders, and you decrease traffic and parking problems. This isn't that hard to figure out, folks.

Other major cities with far worse constraints than Laguna Beach, like San Francisco, New York City and Boston are already adapting to Complete Streets that serve all modes of transportation.

And besides, it is the law now.

On June 19, the City Council will vote to appropriate funds for Complete Streets projects in next year's budget.

Let's see how much they really want to fix these problems.

CHRIS PRELITZ is the chairman of the Complete Streets Task Force.

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