Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Newport Blvd. Widening Dedication Ceremony


GLORIOUS DAY FOR A GREAT EVENT
On a more than typical glorious Costa Mesa afternoon today Costa Mesa city officials, other dignitaries and a few
just plain old residents gathered on the plaza of our municipal oxymoron, Triangle Square, to dedicate the completion of the Newport Boulevard widening project and the placement of the historical plaques around town.

A NECESSARY STOP-GAP PLAN
This much beleaguered project - viewe
d by some as unnecessary and a waste of taxpayers money - was designed as a stop-gap measure to attempt to relieve some of the traffic pressure on Newport Boulevard as it transits from the terminus of the Costa Mesa Freeway to the Newport Beach city limits at 16th Street.

KEEP 100,000 CARS A DAY MOVING
The major thrust of the project was to add on complete outbound - northeast bound - lane for the length of the project and a
short, but very necessary, southbound lane adjacent to Triangle Square. Other improvements included intersection enhancements and signal synchronization.

SMOOTH AS SILK

Before the dedication today I
drove the length of the project northbound in the new, right-hand lane. Wow! The traffic moved smoothly and the project looked great! When the landscaping is completed and grows just a little bit this stretch of highway will be one of the best in our city.

LEECE PRESIDED
Mayor Pro Tem Wendy Leece presided over the festivities, with City Manager Allan Roed
er carrying the ball most of the time. He thanked Peter Naghavi, Public Services Director, for his patience and tenacity on this project. I spoke with Naghavi briefly and he reported that virtually no complaints had been registered with the city during this project - due mainly to the fact that almost all the work was done from 10 p.m. - 6 a.m. And, as Roeder and Leece pointed out, this project came in on time and UNDER budget - no mean feat these days.

MOORLACH LANDS A ZINGER
Other speakers included Supervisor
John Moorlach, a Costa Mesa resident and big fan of this project, who took the opportunity to zing the absent state officials about the budget; Councilwoman Katrina Foley; Ed Fawcett, representing the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce and Margaret Johnson, representing the Costa Mesa Historical Preservation Committee - the group responsible for the creation and placement of the historical marker plaques in the "Old Town" section of town adjacent to Triangle Square and elsewhere. Representative of State Senator Tom Harman and Assemblyman Van Tran also spoke and presented proclamations to the city on this project.

GARLICH ALSO ACKNOWLEDGED

Also honored w
as my friend, Bruce Garlich, for his leadership on the Downtown and Eastside Ad Hoc Committee, which generated the first kernel of the idea for this project. Garlich, (shown here on the left with long time Westside activist Tom Egan), is a former Planning Commissioner and two-time City Council candidate and heavily involved in many community organizations - the Boys and Girls Club and the Costa Mesa Senior Center, for example.

OTHERS ON THE PLAZA...

I will certainly miss some of the other folks in
attendance, but I did briefly see former mayor and current President of the Orange County Transportation Authority, Peter Buffa, Parks and Recreation Commission Chairman Kurt Galitski (Shown with Recreation Division Manager Jana Ransom) and commissioners Terry Shaw and Jeff Mathews and a full cadre of city staffers who worked on this project. Also in attendance was long time Eastside resident and activist Beth Refakes (Shown with videographer Brad Long).

THE DAILY VOICE COVERED THE EVENT
It was interesting to note that two Johnsons, Lana and
Tom, from the fledgling online newspaper, The Daily Voice, were there to cover the event, but I didn't see anyone from the Daily Pilot in attendance. Tom Johnson is the co-publisher of this new venture with former Daily Pilot editor and Los Angeles Times reporter Bill Lobdell. Their offices are right across the street, so they just skipped across Newport Boulevard to make the event.

FINE FOOD

Great grub was provided to the attendees by the good folks from The Yardhouse and Chronic Taco.

PROJECT ON TIME AND UNDER BUDGET!
In these difficult financial times - we still don't know how we will be able to balance the budget due to the malfeasance of our buddies in Sacramento - it was a real pleasure to see a project like this one get completed in such a timely manner and well within the projected budget.


KUDOS TO ALL - ESPECIALLY ROEDER AND NAGHAVI
Congratulations to all concerned, and especially to Allan Roeder, Peter Naghavi and the staff for their hard work and persistence that got the job done. Every Costa Mesa resident should be proud of this project.

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