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Mobility Committee is seeking public input at meeting

The goal is to end up with a pedestrian-friendly city that reduces traffic, congestion and pollution.

August 02, 2012|By Barbara Diamond

Getting around Laguna Beach can be a headache for some, particularly at this time of the year.

City officials want to figure out how people can more efficiently get from one place in town to another and they want the help of residents and business owners.

The public is invited to attend a Planning Commission subcommittee meeting at 5 p.m. Monday at the Third Street Community Center to discuss the operation, cost and funding of the city transit system, an important component of the city's new Mobility Element of the General Plan.

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"We want to hear what people think is good and bad and we are willing to listen to anything," said Planning Commissioner Norm Grossman, who is co-chairing the subcommittee series of meetings with Commissioner Linda Dietrich.

"Right now we are in the process of gathering information," he said.

The goal is to promote a Laguna Beach transportation network that is pedestrian friendly, traffic-calmed, congestion-mitigated, and provides frequent and reliable transit service between home, workplace, school, recreation and shopping for residents and visitors, according to Senior Planner Scott Drapkin.

Additionally, the environment will benefit by reduced congestion, decreased emissions per passenger mile and encouragement of non-polluting modes of transportation, such as electric vehicles. The city has already installed charging stations.

"The subcommittee is looking at the movement of people and it is changing," architect Marshall Ininns said. "We need to look at it from a different perspective. We are moving a lot of people and it shouldn't all be by car."

He added, "I live in the Village area because I like to park my car and walk."

Ininns would like to see more diverse public participation in the meetings.

Changes to the former Circulation Element of the General Plan were prompted by the state Complete Streets legislation in 2007, which mandates having alternates to automobiles for personal transportation, Grossman said.

"The city's current element has been in place for 22 years and the city's philosophy has significantly changed from maximizing parking and minimizing congestion to emphasizing less reliance on automobiles, while enhancing other modes of transportation," Grossman said.

"We need to bring the element up to date and incorporate key policies from the recently revised Land Use Element as they relate to the various ways people get around," he added.

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