Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Our Road System in Black & White

Southern California

The Fathom Print Shop offers these high contrast maps showing how much ground is covered by asphalt and concrete roads. No explanation given how the islands were highlighted. Compare Southern California to Alaska below.

For maps of most 50 states and the complete California map see the Fathom Print Shop.  -LS



State of Alaska

Monday, December 8, 2014

Paris May Go Car-Free


The Mayor of Paris announced ambitious plans to ban cars from the city center.

Wonder what is planned in Laguna's sister city Meton, France?



 Did you know:
  • Paris is home to the largest bike-share system outside of China with 18,000 shared bicycles. 
  • Since the introduction of Velib in 2007 the number of Parisians riding bicycle increased from 40% in 2011 to 60% today.
  • Paris plans to double the number of bike-lanes by 2020 for $147 million bike development program.
Story: Grist

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Chronology of Road Re-alignment for LCR


Laguna Canyon Road is once again under city review for a road re-alignment. A potpourri of design features such as 4 vehicular lanes, HOV lanes, bike-lanes, utility undergrounds and three vehicular roundabouts are offered. There's something here for everybody. But what is the objective, moving cars or moving people?  How realistic are the current proposals in view of mitigation between City Council, Caltrans and the Coastal Commission? What follows is a chronology of re-alignment endeavours for Laguna Canyon Road since 1988.



22 August 2014, Putting Brakes on Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Independent. The Laguna Canyon Task Force convenes to review four roadway improvement designs proposed by the retained consulting firm RBF Consulting of Irvine. The design elements include undergrounding electrical utilities, bikepaths and car roundabouts. The project proposed is expected to cost $25 million and require 11 years to complete.


10 August 2014, Canyon Congestion on the Agenda, Coastline Pilot. The city council, voted unanamously to form a task force that will conduct public meetings to identify ways to ease congestion, decrease police and fire response times , create safe pedestrian and bicycle paths and underground utility poles.

21 August 2013, Widening Project Slated for Laguna Canyon Road, Orange County Register. The County Board of Supervisors awarded a $486,739 contract to Hillcrest Contracting to begin intersection improvements at Laguna Canyon and El Toro roads. The contract is the first of a four-phase project that also will add bike lanes on Laguna Canyon between El Toro and the 73 toll road to connect with existing traffic lanes.

21 August 2013, Irvine Backs LCR Widening, Orange County Register. The Irvine City Council unanimously approved a pair of agreements with the Irvine Community Development Company and Caltrans to add a third lane in each direction on Laguna Canyon Road between the 405 freeway and the future Lake Forest Drive intersection. The plan includes a new signal at Laguna Canyon and the future Lake Forest Drive.


10 September 2012, Keeping the Country in Country Road, Laguna Independent. The city council set aside $100,000 to improve pedestrian and bicyclist access along Coast Highway and Laguna Canyon Road but careful not to diminish the country appeal of the existing gateway with curbs and gutters.


1 May 2012, Caltrans 133 Expansion Scope, Forest Avenue to 73, 405 to 241 exchange. Caltrans interchange expansion plans (completed).

17 January 2011, Beseiged by Rain Fall, Laguna Independent. Maes said each time the canyon road is resurfaced, it adds a few more inches to its run-off height.  “The road is now above our house,” she said. Lack of proper drainage as well as the raised road and new construction inland with inadequate filtration  increases flood potential, she added. The flooding, she said, isn’t just coming from runoff in the canyon; it’s from Laguna Woods and Aliso Viejo as well.

1 January 2010, Irvine Company To Construct 4,450 New Homes In Outer Laguna Canyon, Greenbelt News. The Irvine Company and the City of Irvine are moving forward with plans to construct 4,450 dwelling units on the outer edge of Laguna Canyon. Laguna Canyon Road is currently being widened to 6 lanes to accommodate the new traffic.

21 August 2008, Protections Sought, Coastline Pilot. City officials studying whether to seek designation of Laguna Canyon Road as a state scenic highway. Council votes unanimously to support state senic highway designation.

26 July 2007, City Debates Traffic Causes, Coastline Pilot. The city debates frequent traffic jam on Laguna Canyon Road at El Toro Road due to a private school and design by Caltrans.

27 October 2006, Road to Safety, Coastline Pilot. A ribbon-cutting brings closure to long-planned Laguna Canyon Road realignment which realigned 3.9 miles of the highway from the toll road to I-4-5, added another lane in each direction (north- and south-bound lanes to be separated by landscaping), on-road bike lanes, an improved the entrance to Nix Nature Center.

25 December 2005,  Laguna Canyon Road Project, Coastline Pilot. The four-mile project will expand the roadway to two lanes in each direction, divided by a median that separates the north- and southbound lanes by landscaping and elevation and moves the road west, away from two natural lakes. A committee was charged with reaching a consensus to reduce objections by Laguna Beach environmentalists. Safety and flooding was a concern that motivated participants. Meetings on the project were conducted privately generating criticism the State Brown Act was violated. "We can't tell how the road will work until it's completed," said Laguna Canyon Conservancy President Carolyn Wood, who served on the consensus committee. "Hopefully, by the time it gets done, it will do what is supposed to and reduce accidents."

26 April 2002, Board OK's Plans to Move Canyon Road Utilities Underground, Coastline Pilot.  The county will pay almost $4 million to bury utility lines when widening begins on Laguna Canyon Road between El Toro and the 73.  The state's Public Utilities Commission (the board) requires utility lines to be buried at the time of road construction for a county improvement project. The board identified the Laguna Canyon project as its No. 1 priority

22 May 1988, Widening Laguna Canyon Road, Los Angeles Times. With over 900 accidents 30 deaths over five years and threat from multimillion-dollar suits beyond the current 30 pending litigations, the state considers removing highway status from Laguna Canyon Road making it a LB city owned street. The state title would be removed from El Toro Road to the village.



26 February 1988, Coastal Commission again Rejects Caltrans Plan to Widen Canyon, Laguna Coastline. Following nine years of planning proposals the California Coastal Commission puts the kibosh on a Caltrans plan to widen Laguna Canyon Road at Big Bend.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

CC Ended '88 Laguna Canyon Road Re-alignment

The City/Caltrans proposal of 1979-1988 to widen Laguna Canyon Road at Big Bend ended this way.


Friday, November 28, 2014

LCR Road-realignment Chronology '79-'88

The city of Laguna Beach has retained another consultant and formed another public task force to explore road re-alignments, roundabouts, and traffic lane options for road improvements to Laguna Canyon Road. Here is a chronology of events when re-alignment was explored in 1979-1988.

January 1988 Los Angeles Times
From 1979 to 1988 the City of Laguna Beach and state regulators attempted to find a balance between increasing car traffic flow, improving road safety and maintaining the ecology at Laguna Canyon Road's Big Bend.  In 1979 the city council voted for a road realignment from 2-lanes to 4-lanes at Big Bend.

Caltrans prepared plans for the project with review by both the California Coastal Commission and Laguna City Council with city staff acting liaison between the state regulators and Council. Each of the contributing regulators  approved or disapproved of project plans over this time period depending on plan content and project objectives.  The table shows the difficulty in the approval process over time. At four agents could not agree to the plan before them at the same time.

Difficulty in consensus process TRUE=approval FALSE=disapproval

The LAT Chronology reveals Caltrans plans were too ambitions for Coastal Commission approvals while city staff valiantly looked for an agreeable compromise. Between '79 and '86 City Council reversed their position on widening Big Bend. From '86 to '88 Council also could not find agreement despite two design plans submitted by Caltrans.  -LS


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

26 Years of Widening LCR


For the Thanksgiving Holidays: Here's a nostalgic journey from newspaper accounts about widening Laguna Canyon Road. We begin with an interview with Larry Hunt at Big Bend, this article from  January 1988 in the Los Angeles Times. (click to enlarge).

At the time Caltrans official Ronald Kosinski argued LCR should be widened to accommodate traffic demands from growing nearby communities and elevated vehicle speed. Kosninski said drivers would be able to take the proposed widened big-bend curve at 60mph.  Cooler heads prevailed, Councilman Robert F. Gentry said "I can't see how size and speed will serve residents of Laguna Beach."

Coming-up: the chronology of the big-bend roadway decision.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Laguna's Roundabout Moves Cars Not People


The city of Laguna Beach is considering a plan to include traffic roundabouts on Laguna Canyon Road at these traffic intersections: El Toro Road, Phillips Road, Anneliese Schools. The video shows an experiment where roundabouts increased car traffic flow by 20% over 4-way stops and increases car traffic safety. The result does not consider other transportation modes through the same intersection. The city's plan does not consider other transport modes in their measure of plan success. Don't we have enough cars already?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Van Gogh Cycle-Track Art

Here is a training tool for pedestrians crossing a cycle track at night. Poorly illuminated Laguna roadways would benefit from irridesent paving are Sunvalley Road, Monterey, Virginia, Catalina, Sawdust, Village Entrance, Forest Alley, Canyon Acres, Temple Terrace. Energized by the sun during daytime requires no additional artificial lighting.






Inspired by small ideas the perfect bike-rack is conceived in assorted sizes.










See more Inspiring ideas from Europe at This is Colossal.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Pop-Up Downtown Public Workshop


  • Trial Pedestrian Zone      
  • Downtown Improvements
  • Community Feedback      
  • Visualize building heights
  • Parking Improvements      
The workshop will be very innovative and allow the City to obtain valuable community feedback while the community enjoys some food, music and conversation about the vision of the Downtown.

Get the Downtown Specific Plan Update here.
Get the complete Workshop flyer here.