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Mailbag: Invest in complete streets to improve city's mobility

June 07, 2012

Recently the city of Laguna Beach spent $10,000 for a polling firm in Washington, D.C., to compile a citizen survey from a representative sample of residents about community quality of life, service delivery, civic participation and unique issues of local interest.

Above-the-fold, the executive summary notes 97% of respondents regarded Laguna as a wonderful place to live. So far so good.

Below the fold, the transportation section notes how respondents rated our ease of mobility: travel by walking, 78%; bus, 53%; bike, 32%; ease of travel by car, 22%.

Now try to square those results with the safety rankings from the California Office of Transportation Safety (OTS) who show in 98 cities of similar size, Laguna ranks the most dangerous for cyclists, pedestrians, and those killed due to abusive drivers ( like DUIs).

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Did you know it costs city government $10,000 to qualify and install a single parking space for an automobile? (That does not include the expense of parking enforcement).

It would make far better sense for the city to spend our resources on expanding the other three modes of travel: walking, biking and busing.

We benefit in five ways: 1) improve resident and visitor safety; 2) move more people with less traffic; 3) embellish transport modes citizens find effective; 4) satisfy state mandates for Complete Streets Policy; 5) saves money on capital improvements otherwise spent for cars.

Will city leaders invest in complete streets to improve our mobility, or will they stubbornly invest in car infrastructure and deny both the survey and our safety?

Les Miklosy

LagunaStreets

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Green or greed?

On Saturday, I received a letter from Southern California Edison demanding I pay them $75 because I opted out of taking their new dangerous electric meter plus pay them an added $10- a-month fee.

Let's see, if I pay them $75 because I saved them the cost of a new meter, I am being ripped off. Plus, if I have to pay them an extra $10 every month because a meter reader continues to spend two minutes reading my meter every month, I am being ripped off every month.

What do they pay those people? That's about $300 per hour if the houses are reasonably close together. I want that job. Now I have to choose between paying Edison all that additional money or risk our health from dangerous EM emission from their new costly meter. Some not too bright people might call this going green, but it is really greed and bureaucracy driving us into going further into the red.

Dave Connell

Laguna Beach

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